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Thursday, April 3, 2014

LokSabha Elections 2014

Leadership and ideas can change the working of institutions and affect policies in long term. Atal Bihari Bajpai is a name whose transformative leadership changed landscape of Indian politics. Mild nature of his personality led to partial reconciliation and negotiations of different ideology leading to the formation of NDA. Nehru's Unity in Diversity was the old idea that shaped India. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi is creating big change in the thinking of new generation.

Eric Hoffer once stated that Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. That is the life cycle each political party. Indian politics scenario is always revamped in the period of nearly 20 years. Be it 1970's J P Narayan or 1989 Mandal commission has brought of youth into the politics. In 1977 elections, which ended the emergency and ousted congress from national power for the first time, three quarters of the electorate were either born or reached voting age after 1947. Indian Youths with age of 18-31will decide the fate of election if we look into census data. Most of the political parties lack leaders in their late thirties from whom one can expect disruptive thinking.

We are seeing decline of social engineering of caste and religion, twenty first century voting pattern gave the word Development a new importance. While Congress was giving illusion to voters with secular and inclusive image, BJP was projecting itself as development oriented and nationalist part. Regional parties were still caught in their own trap of caste based politics. India against corruption is the new talk of the town. Recent research by Toke Aidt, Miriam Golden and Devesh Tiwari (“Incumbents and Criminals in the Indian National Legislature”) shows there are other very problematic aspects of the Indian democratic system: a quarter of the members of the Lok Sabha, the Indian legislature, have faced criminal charges. Corruption, Transparency in election funding and Decriminalization of politics are big three pointers projected by AAP. AAP  has transformed a social movement to political party. With the absence of a thriving leftist scene, AAP is gradually filling the political vacuum. Despite of their all backing of Jan-Lokpal Bill, we all know that no law is strong enough to fight corrupt minds and methods. But they have given direction to the agenda of future elections.

Poverty, Secularism and Economic Growth

Public dissatisfaction continues to grow due to unprecedented rise in corruption under UPA-2. Deja vu is never so good the third time around. Congress always plans to buy loyalty of voters with an unprecedented expansion of what is an already generous welfare state. The "Congress is bad" defence does not exonerate the BJP; being equally bad is not good enough for our times. BJP has its own problem as it is not able to create a new cadre of leaders at national level. In the chaos like environment created by indecisive policies of UPA, there is fair chance of rise of Narendra Modi.

Each party irks at the mere mention of secularism because they really confuse its meaning with minority appeasement. If young people think that they can assess someone's viewpoint from social media branding, they're being naive. But a large number of Hindus to continue to believe in the developmental yet non communal image of BJP.  Muslims and Christians still vote for congress despite of poor track record in the safety of minorities. 1992, 2002 and 2013 riots affected Muslims but they are crimes on par with the 1984 genocide of the Sikhs. 1989 exodus and near genocide of Kashmiri Pandits must be described in the same line. There can't be double standards in a secular governance as shown by Congress.

There is a persuasive power in numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data shows that the percentage of population below the poverty line has come down from 37 per cent in 2004-05 to 22 per cent in 2011-12. Planning Commission has last year (in Mar 2012) announced that poverty percentage has come down by 7.3 per cent, which means from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 29.8 per cent in 2009-2010. This shows numbers related to poverty are manipulated for political benefits of ruling Congress Party rather simply becoming a statistical exercise.

Economic progress brings social and political change, eroding the political power of elites, who in response often prefer to sacrifice economic development for political status quo with a bit of welfare policies. Inflation has devastated financial growth of India. Let me quote Pai Panikkar for explaining this point - "India’s present concerns are of a different kind. Inflation is too high and instead of providing stimulus to the economy, it has actually weakened growth. The jump in inflation from 4 percent to 9 percent dragged growth down from 9 percent to 4.7 percent. Inflation beyond a point can be as detrimental to growth as inflation below a level is. It is generally accepted that 3 percent inflation is just enough to stimulate growth and prevent the economy from sliding into recession. At that level, repo will be about 5 percent and interest on bank credit 7 percent. This combination will be ideal for growth with relative stability, provided other components of growth are in place.What about political susceptibility of inflation? The government has expressed concern only when inflation exceeds 5 percent. It would appear that inflation below 3 percent may hurt growth and above 5 percent may not be politically acceptable. The inflation target for the RBI should be in the range of 3 to 5 percent to balance growth and consumer concerns."

Discontent is simmering under the surface but I had given above three reasons to ouster UPA-2. India is growing because of the institutions that we have built and sustained over the years. They are often under stress beyond their capacities but have never given right of way to leaders who thought they could subvert them. As per Prof Cornel West, Democracy always raises the fundamental question: What is the role of the most disadvantaged in relation to the public interest? But no political party is seriously working on this answer. The results of this election will have long term effect on the history of India. Embrace yourself Indian citizens, 2014 election is coming !

3 comments:

  1. You can find the latest all state lok sabha elections 2014 news on http://loksabha-elections2014.jagran.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really I appreciate the kind o labor done in the story and also at the same time it is giving us valuable information as well. But I was looking for the information that are normally not seen easily. Below is the example of such story.

    Every Lok Sabha candidate is required to make a Security deposit of Rs 25,000 as per Section 34 1 (a) of R. P. Act, 1951. For SC/ST candidates, the security deposit is Rs 12,500.

    I found this line at http://www.newsnation.in/election

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rahul for your inputs. I was not looking for technical analysis but just writing on a general sense of atmosphere under the light of political scenario. These are personal deductions. The fact presented by you are welcome.

      Delete

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