Friday, May 16, 2014

Clear Mandate

Many observers of Indian Politics had noted that in the end Indian Voters have tended to vote decisively in recent elections. That is what seems to have happened and Narendra Modi is likely to get very comfortable majority and a stable coalition. Winning seats all across the country, not just in central and western traditional strongholds of BJP, Modi's majority will be a true representative of the entire country. By obtaining such a clear and decisive mandate, Narendra Modi has substantially 'united India' in some sense.

Just few months back things were not so clear. Two things happened - Rahul Gandhi woke up too late to Corruption (where was he when all those scandals were getting exposed all years along in UPA Term 2?), ran inapt campaign and could never figure out a core problem of Congress: how to claim 'credibly' Term 3 to embark upon a clean governance given its baggage? He could not enforce a line on awarding nominations to 'clean candidates' nor enforced transparency in election money to start with. May be regardless of what he did, Congress Party and UPA were destined for a historic thumping (first ever Indian Loksabha where Congress Party member count is in 2 digits) considering a decade of corrupt governance.

Second thing was before Arvind Kejriwal to burn out all the goodwill he earned, there was a genuine possibility that Aam Adami Party would have offered a credible alternative at least in some regions. But Kejriwal did stupid things while being Delhi CM and threw the towel on the first occasion. As political potency of AAP collapsed, a major stumbling block got cleared for Modi and BJP.

Of course Modi and BJP ran better campaign than others. Though there have been lot of in-fighting within BJP, in the end RSS discipline will keep them together and Modi Government will be able to complete its term. I was not so sure about any such clear mandate for BJP and felt a real possibility of NDA falling short of majority. But Indian voters have removed any such uncertainty is great for the country (no wonder Bombay Stock Market is exploding right now).

Some of the challenges for Modi Government are:
- Market and business community expectations would surpass what realistically Modi Government can deliver resulting in a financial bubble;
- Modi Government fails at a critical juncture in retaining religious harmony; and
- Modi is unable to bring down corruption as much as expected from him because different States ruled by non-NDA parties.

Though chances are high that Modi government will be able to avoid these pitfalls. But jury is out.

As far Congress, the urge of it's base to bring in Priyanka is hopless and of no use. She is equally un-experienced as like Rahul with nothing much to offer apart from the family name. Here is yet another chance for Congress Party to undertake a deep evaluation of culture of Corruption and excessive reliance on Gandhi Family for leadership it has allowed to develop over decades. However, it is unlikely that Congress Party would undertake any such 'soul searching'. More likely it will attempt to muddle through, without resolving tensions created by the dynastic rule and will settle for decades old formula - waiting for BJP to make mistakes. But this time neither it will be so lucky as BJP would like to avoid 'shining India mistakes' of past BJP government nor Rahul or Priyanka exhibit any deeper understanding of India's problems. Gandhi Family does not offer any solutions what India needs badly - transparency. Ironically, the loss of Congress party is so complete, it will be only Gandhi Family which will be left to take care of empty cupboards of Congress brand, no one else will be interested to run that shop at this point. For aspirant Indians, there are better forces of change like AAP. In a sense, this colossal loss is likely to make Congress Party even more desperately dependent on Gandhis when the real need is to allow fresh political talent in its tent.

Note - Some noteworthy results of this election: Arun Jaitley, projected as Finance Minister of BJP, lost. Nandan Nilekani could not make it. Both losses deprive India some otherwise useful talent.

The other good news is complete decimation of Left.. Mighty Left at one time was around 50+ MPs, now is around 10. With BJP and its brand of Market friendliness firmly on ascend, clearly it seems Indian voters are not much enamored with Socialistic policy prescriptions. 

Similarly washout of BSP points to going away from Caste Based politics in some sense as well as equally SP getting only few seats indicate that playing politics of Muslism-Yadav vote banks have limits.

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