Saturday, May 16, 2009

Congratulations, India!

Democracy in India is doing well. The world's largest and most improbable democratic exercise is not just surviving, it is thriving. India has voted overwhelmingly for a progressive yet conservative fiscal agenda; for a liberal social policy. They have voted out the politics of jingoism and polarization based on religion.

Voters have rejected non-performing social engineers such as Lalu Yadhav - and have hammered Mayawati. Voters seem to have voted for performance - and have rejected incompetence. (Except in the case of Maharashtra - because all parties in contention were, well, incompetent!). Nitish (from the NDA) hammered Lalu - and it was most gratifying to see this. Modi won because, though he slaughters minorities in his free time, he actually does a lot of developmental work. Muslims in Gujarat are better off economically than Muslims in UP for this very reason.

And this decisive mandate in these elections is excellent news for India. Since India does not have to dilly dally trying to maintain a coalition on a knife's edge - the government will have more time and resources to face the hostile current economic climate. Indian markets will see a boom.

The overwhelming numbers of India's poor need a compassionate government. The American style republican garbage will not work in India - because you're talking about life and death situations here (i.e. if the govt. is not compassionate, the poor will die in larger numbers). Policies at the center MUST be conservative enough to spur growth and generate wealth - and liberal enough to ensure that growth is inclusive the wealth is spread around. And Dr. Singh has done just that in his first term. And now that he has a freer hand, it looks likely that he will do a better job. The left, purveyors of a failed, archaic and corrupt ideology have been thoroughly 'decimated' in these elections. Good riddance.

The hope is that the current elections send the following message to our political parties. Dividing the electorate among caste and religious lines shall work, at best, for one election cycle. To be consistently successful - one needs to keep the electorate happy by making their lot better. (Unless you're in Maharashtra).

Am I being too optimistic? Would a healthy dose of scepticism be needed for my conclusions to be more realistic? Am I cherry picking results to justify my arguments? Am I indulging in a certain amount of truthiness? Please feel free to sound off in the comments section.

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