Saturday, May 16, 2009

Indian National Congress to cross 272!

It beat all pre-poll predictions. Every discernible political expert had to swallow hard to digest the election results in India yesterday. For the first time in nearly 2 decades, India voted for a stable government. I last remember this being a foregone conclusion, before Mr. V.P.Singh thought it better to introduce caste-divisions in education (Mandal Commission, 1989).

But, irrespective of the party that has got the mandate, what is good for me to see is that India has voted in stability; a majority government. I was getting the strong feeling that the great Indian growth story that most pundits have been harping about for the last many years, was under severe threat, thanks to the constant bickering in the political class. More than anything else, fractured mandates always gave me the feeling that it was never economics at its best, but political convenience being accommodated into economic policies.

That should change now. And hopefully, the Congress will get a touch smarter and go into the government with some buffer i.e. not stop at the majority mark of 272, but go up to 300. Simply because they need to guard against elements such as Mamta Banerjee in this goverment. (remember the way she booted out the Nano project from Bengal?). I think she has 18 seats in Parliament from election. So if the Congress manages 300 seats, it will not be hurt even if Mamta misbehaves on the UPA's economic policies & threatens to back out- the Congress will still have 282! Am not trying to be pessimisstic, but realistic. Coalition politics has taught all of us in India, as to who is progressive and who is not. And it is better to take those lessons and be better off from such experience, as we enter a new phase of the Indian polity.

Of course, the best news for me is that the Left has been decimated. About time too, I would think. They are seriously not in sync with economic realities of the day. I mean, an average working class citizen cares a damn about regressive policies - he is bothered about his infrastructure, water, taxes, retirement kitty et al. Not some ridiculous trade unionist-led backward policies. Yes, those unions have their place in the economy - but more from a sense of participative & constructive dialogue with management/decision-makers/polity; not like the Left, who are so out of sync with economic realities. The anti-climax for me, is that the same leaders in the Left Front, live a very rich ostentatious life in New Delhi & talk about the lower classes and their lack of benefits in the trade unions. Hypocrisy at its best!

And to the man himself. Dr. Manmohan Singh. I had written a blog article about him a few years back in terms of not discrediting him etc. The man has gone about quietly doing his job, without compromising on his principles. He is also a classic example of a technocrat (NOT a politician) who knows what is good for India's economics. Singh is, indeed, King!

Let's see if this stable mandate translates into economic realities that we have been dreaming of & talking about for so many years. The Congress & the UPA combined cannot get a better platform than this to propel India well & truly into the 21st century. I live in hope now. The basics of the Indian polity has been restored - i.e. a majority mandate for a leading political party. That, I would think, is a good starting point.

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