In an age where a film is declared a hit or a flop on the first weekend’s performance, politicians too are finding their ratings being judged in a compressed timeframe. Narendra Modi was elected prime minister for five years, but he has already had to go through a series of early tests: 100 days, 200 and then 300 days, now his impending first year anniversary have all become occasions for the media to rate his performance. It is almost as if he is facing a constant agni-pariksha.

Call it "tyranny of distance” or simply the nature of the Delhi-centric 24x7 “national” media, but a day after Arvind Kejriwal’s famous win, the BJP swept the local body elections in Assam — only there were no bold headlines or screaming breaking news to announce the results.

Just before the December 2013 Delhi elections, our housekeeper, who has been the mainstay of our home for over a decade, came with a special request. “Sir, I want to get a voter ID card,” she said enthusiastically. We managed the voter card and on election day, she turned to me triumphantly with her inked finger, “Humne jhadoo ko vote diya!” Now, over a year later, she is planning to vote again for AAP. It’s the same with the municipal worker who cleans the street near our home, the driver and the watchman.

India's most powerful prime minister in decades,Narendra Modi has become the focal point of a young nation's aspiration for a better tomorrow

The year 2014 has been the year of the lotus. The indefatigable Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine has taken the BJP to a spectacular victory at the Centre, won Maharashtra and Haryana and seem poised to win Jharkhand too. It is only when you cross the Banihal pass and reach the banks of the Dal that the blossoming lotus seems to wilt a bit. The BJP may have pushed for ‘Mission 44’ in Jammu and Kashmir but this could well be one bridge too far, at least in this election in the Kashmir Valley.

A file photo of Narendra Modi and Rajdeep Sardesai at an event in 2007.

My 26-year career in journalism has parallelled the journey of two individuals who have achieved iconic status. The first front page article I got a byline for was Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden first class century in December 1988. The first major outstation assignment I got a chance to track was the Ram Janmabhoomi Rath Yatra where I met a certain Narendra Damodardas Modi for the first time in 1990

Daughters can be unusually prescient: Taking a first look at my book, 2014: The Election that Changed India, she asked why the cover had pictures of both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. “Shouldn’t you just be showing Mr Modi, he is after all the big winner, why do you need a Rahul picture also?” “Because,” I replied, “For every winner, you need a loser!”

Political judgements based on opinion polls are hazardous at the best of times, but when there is a five-cornered fight like in Maharashtra, pollsters are often whistling in the dark. There were almost 50 constituencies in Maharashtra in 2009 where the margin was less than 5,000 votes, making any conclusive poll prediction a nightmare. And yet, let me stick my neck out on my home state: The BJP will be almost certainly the single-largest party and, in fact, should get a clear majority.

If Narendra Modi’s triumphant visit to the United States was marked by a series of photo-ops, two stood out: the first was in New York’s Central Park where the Indian prime minister made a visit to a high-profile citizens’ festival ...

Indian voters have a knack of surprising political pundits. Just a few weeks ago, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah could do no wrong; now, after a series of byelection reverses, the Modi-Shah duo is being blamed for losing the Midas touch. Neither is the euphoria nor the harsh criticism valid: No two elections are the same and the extreme responses that accompany every election result are perhaps uncalled for.

Pages

CHAT WITH ME ON TWITTER

Books

The 2014 Indian general elections has been regarded as the most important elections in Indian history since 1977.
A parable on the limitations of vision and the dark side of love. This book presents a story of life's distorted perceptions
These are stories of ordinary people who are doing extraordinary work for our society and our nation.