Tryst with Strong Leader Populism

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Tryst with Strong Leader Populism offers a rewarding read for those yearn to understand the Modi government's famed mystique, its working style, achievements and fault lines. Through its 11 chapters, the book provides a comprehensive record of the Modi dispensation various initiatives, its flagship programmes, demonetisation, the way the Modi-Shah duo successfully silenced the protesting RSS siblings, evisceration of the statutory watchdog bodies, and finally, how his trusted Chanakya staged a stunning return in 2019 Lok Sabha polls- all presented with utmost accuracy and supported by enormous authenticated data.

The strength of this fact-based narrative is its 500 plus endnotes and citations which seek to testify the validity of its insightful inferences and interpretations. In the process, Strong Leader Populism decodes and pierces through the much exalted Modi Phenomenon. In the opening chapter, it sheds much light on how and why RSS boss Mohan Bhagwat put his full weight with Narendra Modi and made it the bedrock of his hybrid regime model. This book also poses many riddles of the Modi phenomenon and tries to unspool them. How come India most powerful prime minister with all powers at his command feels so powerless in tackling the economic decay? Read Strong Leader Populism to understand how the paradox of power works.

P. Raman

An octogenarian, P. Raman brings with him the trials and tribulations of the print media spread over half a century. Beginning as a sub-editor, he worked with a dozen English dailies and weeklies, including Patriot, Link, The Indian Express, The Economic Times and Business Standard. He was the political editor of the last two. During the Emergency, he was shunted to Ahmedabad as a special correspondent.

He has also worked as chief sub-editor producing the editions and as deputy news editor. Long stints at the news desk made him witness to the technological changeover from the hand setting and cylinder printing era to Lino-rotary days to bromide pasting and finally computer page making.

As the main political correspondent at the Express, his generation knew him as an adversarial reporter specializing in anti-establishment stories. First ET and then BS carried his weekly column 'Realpolitik', which he syndicated after retirement. As a middle-rung worker, this footsoldier of journalism was privy to the bitter cold war for the control of the print media during the turbulent '60s and '70s and the final triumph by the owners after liberalization. He had intimate knowledge of the frequent hiring and firing of the celebrity editors and their harassment and humiliation – beginning with Frank Moraes, S. Mulgaonkar, Edatata Narayanan, B.G. Verghese, S. Nihal Singh, V.K. Narasimhan, Nandan Kagal, T.J.S. George, T.N. Ninan and Arun Shourie.

He was a member of the Press Council for two terms. He had an obsession with preserving his reporter's notepad and jottings on spiral books for his weekly column. When in doubt, he still thumbs through those piles for fact verification. This is the main source of facts for 'A Footsoldier's Version'.