Saturday, May 16, 2009

Indian Elections

With the resounding victory for Sonia’s Congress Party, India has defused a potentially explosive political situation. Concoction of rag-tag regional parties headed by regional satraps with super sized egos and a coalition anchored by powerless national parties despite 3 figure MPs; that would not have been a pleasant picture. Fortunately that has been avoided for India and that is good for rest of the world too. In last few months world has seen quite soothing election results – Obama’s victory in America, victory for ruling party in Indonesia, continued run of ANC in South Africa and now Dr. Singh coming back. All these are positive contributions to global politics and stability. During the times of economic crisis; politics is at least not adding the fuel. Good for all of us.

Coming back to Indian election result, what is clear is there are more losers and only few winners, votes are coalescing. The obvious winners are Congress Party Chairperson Sonia, Dr. Singh and the new start Rahul Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi’s electioneering has finally paid off for Congress in UP and revived the fortunes. But Congress has done well all across the country. The breadth / spread of the victories are very remarkable and true manifestation of an original national party. That is India’s good fortune.

Media and most commentators are delighted for the loss of Left Parties and disappointing performance by Mayawati’s BSP. With clutches of Left Parties gone, senseless anti-Americanism will go away. With BSP shown its place, specter of job reservations in private sector is gone. Humbling of Lalu Parasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan all indicate that finally Hindi heartland of India is slowly moving away from the identity politics based on caste and religion. That is a big take away and big victory for India. It is still work in progress but signs of changes where it mattered most (UP and Bihar), is a great move forward for Indian Republic.

These elections in the end are tremendously accretive to the project of Indian Republic. If Mayawati’s of the world start focusing back on the governance like Nitish Kumar, that will be helpful to common Indians. If Left changes their blind ideological adherence, that will be addition too. And finally if regional parties start realizing context of national polity, Indian Democracy will start ‘delivering’ to millions of poor.

Going forward it will be worthwhile to watch how Congress addresses its genetic weaknesses – whenever Congress has got comfortable majority, it degenerates into complacency and corruption. Can Congress Party’s new star Rahul Gandhi reverse that? May be he should be his party’s ‘anti-corruption’ watch dog czar instead of joining Dr. Singh’s Cabinet. In the finest hour of this young politician, Rahul Gandhi should remember what his father said in 1985 Congress Party Plenary session in Mumbai. So many Indians and for that matter so many in the whole world are still waiting for the delivery of what Rajiv Gandhi said then that how corruption stops India’s true development. When Congress party stops that cancer – blatant corruption and failure to deliver on governance – not only the mandate of this election will be fulfilled but by then Rahul Gandhi would have lived to the historic duties his father always wanted to fulfill.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Though Congress has won it is a victory for decentralization. Congress won by giving more power to the local Congress officials. So it is too early to say if the voices --for reservation in private sector or dalit voice or the call of "marathi manus" -- is lost. It will be a struggle from within Congress. This is a good thing.

Nikhil

I, Me, Myself ! said...

Interesting read. However, I don't think Rahul Gandhi or for that matter any leader in the Congress has the will and power to contain ( I don't want to use the word curb) corruption.

It was Indira Gandhi who perpetrated this evil into the system so deep that it will take another strong willed person to contain it.

In the last 5 years, the government hasn't concentrated at all on infrastructure projects. If it decides to do that in this term, that's when the ugly evil of corruption will prop up again. It remains to be seen what the Congress party will do then...

-Sudhir