Are politicians now more willing to stick their necks out on personal indiscretions? The proliferation of ‘sex tapes’ involving netas would suggest so

POLITICS in India is a difficult, often nasty business. Even so, our netas have much to be grateful for plying their trade in India. Unlike in the West, where stings and investigations about the sexual escapades of leading political figures (including presidents) and their other betrayals is commonplace, in India the media is still restrained in such coverage. The general attitude being that these matters are too personal and so long as it doesn’t impinge on the neta’s politics or his/her work, it’s ok

I have a feeling this maybe fraying, not so much perhaps because media is pushing the boundaries on the salacious, rather because our netas are pushing their boundaries. In the last few months, we’ve had a spate of reports of the activities of assorted netas. Some of them for god knows what reason, got themselves taped indulging in the act. Call it the ultimate selfie?

Or does it suggest something else? The willingness to stretch their neck out and take a risk knowing full well that exposure could be fatal to a career in public life?

Our cover story segment reflects some of these issues and dilemmas. But it’s also about netas of yesteryear, revolutionaries, thinkers, idealists who had relationships that everybody knew about but were never commented on. Hari Mohan Mishra notes that they include people like JP, Lohia and George Fernandes, people of considerable standing in public life.

At another extreme are philanderers like ND Tiwari who was undone by his former girlfriend; or Amarmani Tripathi sentenced to life in prison for being complicit in the murder of his mistress Madhumita Shukla. Then there’s Gopal Kanda. The list is pretty long and could easily be compiled into a political rogue’s gallery.

We return to two “favourite” states, UP and Punjab, favourite because both are heading for elections next year, and the results there could be pivotal to the fortunes of the central government. Readers will recall our UP opinion poll, results of which were carried in the last issue of Parliamentarian, which were widely published featuring in as many as 35 news publications

across languages.

Sharad Gupta filed the report on UP, leveraging his home state advantage to assess the Yadav Mahayudh. In a companion piece, he travelled across Punjab to assess the public mood and came away convinced that AAP is on a roll.

In the season of Gandhi, RC Rajamani has filed a story on the Forgotten Gandhian, Lal Bahadur Shastri who shares his birthday with the Father of the Nation. Wonder how many of you know that?

With Uri in the public mind, Surya Gangadharan probes the government’s recent moves on Balochistan, on naming and shaming Pakistan in world fora, and explores the military option.

In Entertainment, Aseem Chakravarthy looks at the phenomenon of Deepika Padukone, the actress with a little over eight years behind her who carries a film on her shoulders and gets paid, well if not as much as Salman

Khan, as much as she thinks she should be paid. She’s not alone: Kangana Ranaut, Priyanka Chopra and a slew of other heroines are also moving into the Deepika bracket although to be fair, the trend was actually set in the 1970s by Rekha, Shabana Azmi, Rakhee and others.

Our web edition has been refurbished and I would urge you all to visit it regularly. Over the course of the next few months, we will be doing a lot more on the digital edition besides coming out with some new, interesting and niche publications in print and on the web. As always, happy reading.


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