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May 13, 2004

No full stops in India

It was BBC's Delhi-based journalist Mark Tully while working on his book - No full stops in India commented about the maturity of common Indian in political matters. Only in Indian villages you can sit down and get a comfortable critique on why Chinese communism survived whereas USSR collapsed. Though in media and other expert hangouts you will find plenty of India-should-do-this-versus-that but in every election Indian electorate (largely rural) has surprised pundits. There are instances in recent history that whenever any political party has taken an extreme stand on any issues - be it V.P. Singh's backward caste issue or BJP's stubborn stand on the temple issue or Congress's shameless investment in Gandhi dynasty - electorate has punished them severely against all the popular predictions. At the same time for some strange reason same common man keeps cycling these issues and the same leaders every 5 years !

So what's going to happen now besides the obvious anti-incumbency shakeout ? 5 years of Congress and 5 years of communal politics. "India shining" movement wont go away but in it's place you will see more belligerent and angry BJP party without the middle-of-the-road puppetry of Bajpayee. One should be scared of that part now. BJP's real base is not known for open dialog oriented politics.

This is a crucial point in India's economic future. It has to be seen if the new government and hopefully it's young politicians can drive the growth of India from it's rural base without unfairly penalizing the new economy. Though I will be cynical about that since it was the same Gandhi family who had plans one after the other and they were all named after one of their family members - Jawahar Yojna, Indira Vikas Yojna, Rajeev etc etc. Obvious point to add here is that each of these plans were billion dollar worth bureaucratic heists.

I will be optimistic in the meantime.

May 13, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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