2014 election campaign

The questions Narendra Modi does not want to answer at Facebook Talks Live

Queries on religious freedom, the Andhra Pradesh bifurcation, corruption and much more awaited the BJP candidate.

Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, won't be participating in ‘Facebook Talks Live’ this evening. The word put out by the Modi camp is that it would be demeaning for a serious contender like him to participate in a series of events in which the other Prime Ministerial candidates are “upstarts” such as the Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal and Lalu Yadav, the Bihar politician convicted of corruption. It has also been suggested that the Modi campaign was unhappy with the participation of NDTV, which isn’t their favourite channel. The series of interactions is being organised by Facebook, conducted by the media website Newslaundry and broadcasted live by NDTV. Newslaundry sources say the Modi campaign placed conditions at the last minute that could not be agreed upon, which led to the cancellation.

However, the Modi campaign would have known a month in advance that NDTV is the broadcast partner, and that other participants include Arvind Kejriwal, Lalu Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. So what changed at the last minute?

The answer perhaps lies in the format of the show, which had three sets of questions. The first set was from Facebook users, for which Facebook invited questions on its Facebook India page. The second set was to be from an audience invited by Newslaundry. The third was to be from Newslaundry editor Madhu Trehan. Since the first set of questions can be publicly seen on the Facebook India page, they may have given some indication to the Modi campaign that the show may not result in a PR victory for them.



In the hundreds of questions asked in the Facebook India page, five themes stand out strongly. First, the BJP's silence on the issue of gas pricing that the Aam Aadmi Party has been raising. Second, the more general issue of corruption. Third, the BJP's support for the creation of Telangana even though Modi said that the Congress was dividing Andhra Pradesh. Many, and not just Muslims, wanted to know about religious freedom, the 2002 violence in Gujarat and the rights of religious minorities if Modi was to become Prime Minister. Last, there are a surprisingly high number of questions about caste-based reservations.

A perusal of the profile pages of those asking such questions makes it clear the backgrounds they come from: Seemandhra residents who did not want Telangana created; supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party; and Muslims. But some tough policy questions also seem to come from people whose Facebook cover images are in support of the BJP or Modi.

Perhaps Rahul Gandhi, vice president of the Congress party, was wise to not accept the invitation in the first place. He prefers to interact with groups of pre-selected and carefully screened people across the country. The idea is to show Gandhi interacting with the common man but it is so obviously orchestrated that it defeats the purpose.

After Gandhi's interview to Arnab Goswami, the tough questioner at Times Now, the Congress campaign cancelled a number of other interviews scheduled for the Gandhi scion. It is yet to be seen whether Modi is going to subject himself to Goswami or to a similarly unsparing interviewer before polling begins.

Other ambitious politicians, such as J Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu and Kumari Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh, are never seen taking questions directly from the public. The tough questions for Modi are a sign of the changing times: you may choose to evade the questions but they will be asked.

Here are some samples of questions that Facebook users wanted to ask Narendra Modi:

From Vibhor Mathur:
“India is afraid of the fact that as soon as BJP comes to power, BJP and its associates like RSS, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Mahasabha, VHP would start doing Moral Policing?”

From Priyanka Arora:
“Why have you not spoke anything on the matter of gas price hike while Mr. Arvind kejriwal is continously poking you to answer?? We need to hear ur views about such sensitive issues Mr. MODI.... Plz wake up...coz v dn't want to vote u for sitting quietly on PM's chair without answering to the problems of a common man!!”

From Azad Singh:
“What u have decided for reservation Cast or poverty? Bcz Cast is affecting many people who are poor staying in General category, they can not take benefit Since Cast base reservation is not giving benefits to all but Poverty base reservation can uniform the system. Why u don't want to speak abt this???”

From Aaron Vasanth:
“Why did Mr. Narendra Modi leave the interview an year or two ago, when the interviewer Karan Thapar asked him questions on the Gujarat Riot??”

From Lilly Shahi:
“What is the answer of u about passing T BILL in loksabha aganist the constitution rules ... both BJP and UPA has joined hands and supported telangana...by this one state looses and another benifts . .. and ur using a word on many stages that "congress is dividing AP and all the AP people are suffering from it"... ur party joining hands with congress only the bill has passes..whats the answer for this ..ur BJP is also responsible for it ... BUT UR AIM IS MAKING INDIA NO.1... BUT BECAUSE OF UR PARTY DECISION ALREADY ONE STATE BECAME NO.0...”

From Manik Tyagi:
“My next question is regarding empowerment of state governments, currently the state share of central revenues is just 30%, I believe to really empower states we need to increase this number to probably 60%. Do you support this.”

From Vidit Shah:
“Narendra Modi sir, what are your views on black money outside india? How you will recover all this money? and How much time taking process will it be?”

From Adil Rashid:
“My ques is, modi's fan used to talk about gau hatya, ram mandir, terrorism, corruptn etc but why is he nt givn statement on these thing.....wl he put all these thing in his menifesto??”

From Jasmeet Kaur:
“Mr Modi if you become PM, will you make all donations to political parties transparent. and please tell your stand on upcoming gas price hike by mukesh Ambani group..”

From Ashish Patel:
“According to ADR 30% of BJP sitting MPs have some criminal cases. Can you promise not to give ticket to such kind of corrupt people in upcoming Lock Sabha Election?”

From Sidharth Shankar:
“My question to him is, as we all know muslim community do not like him and his and his party's ideology is religion based because of influence of RSS and VHP. So how do you plan to gain the support of muslim community? And will they feel safe in your government as you endorse idea of Hindu nationalism and Hindu nation? And please clearify your stand on the idea of a Hindu nation.”

From Raghu Venkatachalaiah:
“Mr. Modiji, Why are corrupt and tainted candidates assured ticket for contest in Karnataka, and why is the top brass in the state unit reluctant to give tickets to the young, clean aspirants in the state? Why is BJP shy of new faces?”

From Nikhil Dudhawat:
“Why is BJP still ignoring Arvind Kejriwal and #AAP, even after experiencing wht happened in Delhi? Isnt tht a sign of complacency or Over Confidence. Why does BJP's Top leadership has stayed away frm Controversial Conservative issues like #377 nd Doninger's book. Would BJP Roll back freebies given by present government to bring back the economy back on track.”

From Saiswapna Kumar Vadavalli:
“What Is your budget for election campaign? who is your & BJP financier ? Are you ready to release press note any for expenditure? how come a " Chai Wala " spending such huge money for election campaign & meetings of addressing people?”

 
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Eleven ways Indian college life teaches you not to waste anything

College, they say, prepares you for life. Sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

Our quintessentially Indian ability to make the most of every resource has weathered us through many a storm in life. But this talent, as it were, is developed and honed to a fine art only in college. Frugality is a prominent feature of college life—more by circumstances than by choice and perhaps the most important skill we learn is nearly 100% efficiency when it comes to making the most of resources or opportunities. This “no wastage” policy is learned through many ways in college.

Academics
When it comes to studying, the art of “no wastage” is refined in college.

1. Exam papers. We’ve all been there before: you’re in the flow and trying to pen answers quickly in your answer sheet but you’re running out of space. What do you do? Fill up your existing one, of course. Write in tiny handwriting and occupy every bit of space without wasting the margin either. A great example of how college teaches you to waste nothing.

2. Photocopier bulk deals. In college, after you convince a kind-hearted classmate to let you copy their notes, you negotiate a bulk rate discount with the photocopier uncle and share the wealth with your classmates. It saves you time, money and the collective shame of failing together.

3. Stationery. Pencils are worn till they reach a stub. Broken rulers are used as long as you can still draw a straight line on them. Pens are borrowed and reused until their ink is sucked dry. Stationary is rarely wasted in the life of a college goer.

Food
Food occupies a special part of a college goer’s life and there is only one rule when it comes to food: don’t waste any.

4. Thalis. College kids are always hungry, and there are few options that provide better value for money than thalis. Thalis come in all sorts—the Gujarati kind on copper plates, the south Indian variety on palm leaves, or even the Punjabi “mini thali” found in restaurants all over the country. No matter what form they take, no food goes waste.

5. Shaadis. Speaking of food, you never say no to a wedding invitation when you’re in college. An invitation missed is a buffet meal wasted. The only price is to put on a half-decent looking dress or a pant and shirt that have been pressed. Then enter the hall, say your hi-hellos, and onto the food. No opportunity to attend shaadis is wasted during college, and rightly so.

6. 50p toffees. Those were heady times when things had the decency to cost nine rupees fifty paise instead of a full ten. The remaining 50 paise left over as change would not go waste either, and would return more often than not in the form of a chewy toffee or mint.

7. One-by-two coffee. Because coffee shared is friendship enhanced. In college, a full cup of canteen coffee was always cheaper than two half cups, and nearly impossible to finish owing to its milky sweetness. Converting it into a one-by-two courtesy an extra white styrofoam cup ensured that neither the extra coffee went to waste, nor a chance to make a friend happy.

Travel
Space is to be shared, not hogged. Every seat in college be it on the bench or a bike or a rickshaw would be occupied till its last inch.

8. Triple seat scooter rides. College-goers of a certain vintage remember that scooters were made to accommodate more people than cars. One person riding, another in the back, and at least one if not two people sandwiched between them. While this ensures no wastage of space, it’s not to be tried by the faint-hearted.

9. Share autos. The cheapest way to travel, of course. Share autos are a lifeline for college goers. Load up your friends in an auto, share the fare, and end up with more money in your wallet.

10. RAC tickets. Among the great innovations of the Indian Railways is the RAC or Reservation Against Cancellation ticket, which ensures that travelers can travel on the train even if they do not get a full berth to themselves. More often than not, two travelers split a seat. A boon to college students who don’t mind roughing it a little to get to their destination on time.

Freebies
College teaches you many things. The ability to not waste freebies is prominent on the list.

11. Buy one, get one free. The five little words that every college student wants to hear. Be it movie tickets, rock concert tickets, clothes, books or meals, a “one-on-one free” offer would always be utilized even if you didn’t need what the offer was selling. An unwritten if long-standing rule in college.

The fine art of “no wastage” is learned painstaking through college. But it’s good to know that you can enjoy “no wastage” after you’ve left too. Airtel’s MyPlan ensures that customers make the most of their mobile expenditure and waste nothing. Airtel’s MyPlan allows you to pick data, local, SMS, STD and roaming according to your needs. You also have the flexibility of changing your plan whenever you want and can optimize your phone bills to save up to 30%. Not just that, under the plan, you can also share the benefits with their family. For more information, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Airtel by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.

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