Skip to main content


AAP and BJP: seeing it through Hotelling’s linear city

In Industrial organization, study of competitiveness and market power in industry, there is a famous model called ‘ linear city ’. It was first developed by Herold Hotelling . The model can be described as follows: suppose there is a road of length 1 km running parallel to the beach. Two eateries are deciding where to locate. The footfall of consumers is evenly available across the length of the road. The model says that these both the eateries will locate in the middle.  The model is way of thinking - when preferences of consumers are spread over a range, how firms would like to position themselves to grab maximum profit through maximum market share.   The analogy of road representing consumer preferences can be used to describe voter preferences as well. For this discussion, I am focusing on religious politics in India. So, one extreme of this road means extreme right-wing position – which sees India as place where all non-Hindus are under total control of Hindus in the short run and

Maharashtra politics – MVA has fallen.

 So, my prediction in the previous post has gone wrong, at least in part. Uddhav Thackeray (UT) has resigned and MVA government has ended with it. BJP hastened the end in merely 24 hours. Last night, Fadnavis met the governor. Then governor asked for the floor test on 30 th June. Courtroom drama ensued. But as it happens, what BJP wishes and what supreme court rules coincided once more. Since rebel MLAs are not yet disqualified, MVA government has lost the majority. Fadnavis, as per his famous quote, is back again.     UT has two years of Covid during his rule. His government managed three waves progressively better. Especially during most difficult delta wave, Maharashtra never reached the alarming emergency and apathy observed in some other states of India. Apart from this, his tenure was marred by coalition stress. NCP became the proxy ruling party and that effectively sabotaged the coalition. UT too allowed some blabbermouths to become bigwigs of the party, clearly downplaying th

Maharashtra Politics in June 2022 – It is perhaps a dissent against NCP and not BJP influenced coup

 It’s been a week since a political turmoil erupted in Maharashtra. Week ago, the rebellion looked like a coup covertly sponsored by BJP. But after a week, I see it somewhat differently. Image source: Here               I think the rebellion is truly a rift between Shivsena MLAs and NCP. MVA has become a ruse set up by NCP. Thackeray family have been catered while remaining leadership of Shivsena has been deprived from exploiting the power. It is a different issue why NCP must do this to Shivsena and we will not discuss that in depth here except some passing remarks. Perhaps such opportunism is a defining trait of NCP politics. We must remember that NCP is a party borne out of an ambition nourished on opportunism.             Why it is a rift between Shivsena leadership barring Thackeray and NCP? Because if it is a BJP orchestrated coup then there would have been swift steps towards BJP forming the government. If it would have been BJP sponsored coup, then BJP would have been swift

Maharashtra politics in June 2022: Some implications

It is easy to lament what is happening in Maharashtra politics now. Playing with decency is unsaid expectation in human interactions. The decency is often not part of rules. Toppling the ruling disposition through turncoats will always have a foul appearance, even though currently BJP has enough spin doctors who can tell that what BJP is currently doing is the ‘right’ thing. Well, I am beyond the lament. I have accepted that being immoral is what we fundamentally are. Perhaps that’s why we have attempting to shape this fundamental tendency through morality, because we are afraid of what we will be if we just let ourselves amok. After lament, one can have a marvel at strategic moves which are being played. One can also draw some short- and long-term implications. That is what I am attempting now. 1.       BJP has learned from 80 hours government they had in 2019. That time they believed in a list Ajit Pawar had with him. This time, they are making sure that rebels are huddled, head-

Panchayat, unlikeliness, and separating fun from facts

I have read some comments which are critical of world of a village depicted in Amazon series 'Panchayat'. (I am yet to complete 2nd season as of writing this.) Even if I have liked the series so far, I do not disagree with these criticisms. It is indeed a simplification that takes out certain necessary nuances because it wants to tell a story and any story cannot have all nuances. For example, Panchayat is somewhat unabashed about whole informal institution of female Pradhan being a puppet while her husband being one calling shots. Rather than mocking such arrangements, easy way to get pats on the back, Panchayat takes them as given and goes ahead. This is a step ahead than typical caricature of villages as a place where everything fails or everything is inherently meaningful.  Panchayat is essentially a show for an urban Indian whose rural connection is severed, perhaps few generations before. The key difference Panchayat has is that there is no unambiguous nostalgia or lament

AC local train ticket prices: low-hanging fruit and shaking the tree

 AC local ticker rates have been slashed. Economic argument for right type of price decrease is as follows. Prices are to be lowered when it is expected that it will lead to higher demand (since now prices are cheaper than earlier) which leads to considerable rise in revenue but not so much rise in costs. In economic jargon, demand should be elastic (so as it rises when prices are cut) while costs are increasing returns to scale (a lumpsum fixed cost up to certain level). Once we consider this, we can see why Railways lowered the prices of AC locals. The intuition of price reduction is understandable. Running an AC local costs certain fixed amount to the railway unless air-conditioning inside the train is precisely adjusted as per the number of passengers. (Though I am not sure whether that will have huge implication on cost.) Adding few more extra passengers will not change the cost much (some extra wear and tear is to be added to the cost, but that is not very significant rise at d

Summer of April 2022

 It’s hot. It is unbearably hot during day, and it is hot even when it is not the day. It is an understatement. It is the hottest summer in the memory that I can gather credibly in mind. But I doubt the memory. I think maybe it is because I am getting older, and hence grumpier. But newspapers too are saying so, about this summer being a brutal one in last so and so years, with heatwave that doesn’t seem to recede. But we know news are about being sensational these days, and not necessarily factual. Maybe they have not really checked the data which is there (means which is yet there). So, I checked it, to see whether this summer is especially scorching, to foretell whether all the summers to come will be similar, or this is just the odd hotter one. From the little systematic evidence that I can find on internet (along with realization that systematic historical weather information, even at aggregate level is hard to find except here ), I can infer that Mumbai is perhaps hotter than av