India’s general elections, a perspective..

By: Mallikarjun R Bandyala

More than 750 million voters of India are in the process of electing their representatives to the Indian parliament. This election has come at a time when internationally we are on the cusp of realizing a multi-polar world. An assertive Russia and a confident China looking to settle old scores are throwing up a formidable challenge to the super power status of the United States. Economically, to counter 2008 world financial crisis, western governments have almost exhausted their currency printing machines and still can’t find that miraculous growth to spur next investment cycle. China, which had double digit growth for last two decades is showing signs of fatigue and if we go by some experts it may have an another credit bubble in making that will have far reaching consequences than financial crisis of 2008, potential to disrupt all of East Asia and pacific. Thus making experts look into new solutions to fix economies. In Middle East, the region is consumed with civil wars and many seeing them as not ending any time soon.

So politically, economically and socially the world we know of is entering uncharted waters. The easy money by federal reserve of US, Japan and unannounced printing binge by Chinese Central bank are slowly coming to a conclusion that easy money policy is not a lasting solution but starting a crisis of confidence in banking system. Lack of new capital spending and expansion activities by major and medium level firms around the world pointing to this end. The world economy is desperately looking for a catalyst. A catalyst that can absorb excessive production of minerals, metals, machines that make other machines, financial expertise and all of that entrepreneurial spirit that is looking to change the world we live in.

The world is impatiently looking towards India as that catalyst. Wondering if this giant elephant would ever wake up from deep sleep, brush its teeth, take shower in the creek near by and be ready for the business. Even Chinese dragon is bored running around in the park lonely and disparate to party with others. India with double digit growth will change world economic landscape. It will give immediate relief to the fear of deflation in world economy. With it millions of Indians crossing that bridge to modernity, economic and social. It’s all in the hands of Indians while the rest of the world is waiting.

India as we know is struggling to come to terms with its own socialism and west’s capitalism. Corrupt and irresponsible political parties are not doing any favour in the process to decide its course of action in ever changing world of ours. The last ten years of UPA govt led by Congress party took some steps in right direction like ending its Nuclear apartheid but failed to draft proper insurance terms for foreign firms who are willing to work with it, depriving Indians a vital economic ingredient, electricity. I never thought in my child hood that in 2014 we would still have power shortages. The unraveling of scams, mismanagement of economy and mysterious hierarchy structure in UPA are only raising questions not answers that an ordinary Indian looking for. The NDA as an alternative was also complacent in its job as an opposition. The members of opposition in parliament’s various joint standing committees not only unopposed to govt motives but also recipients of financial sops from benefited enterprises. If both govt and opposition colluded in the parliament, people of India naturally feel betrayed.

Frustrated at corruption and red tape Anna Hazare and co has successfully galvanised grassroots level campaign that has led to the formation of Aam Aadmi Party. It was very easy for AAP to harvest the mood of disenchantment to topple Congress in the state of Delhi. Suddenly a ray of hope, ordinary people throughout India and abroad are beginning to feel that the mirage of hope can be real and the change has a fighting chance. For far too long corruption and crony capitalism has consumed Indian politics and its psyche. AAP is expanding its geographic foot print by fielding candidates all over India. The percentage of votes it gets will be watched with keenness and curiosity world over.

The allegations of corruption and economic mismanagement would surely bring in any opposition into the power but NDA lacks that confidence. The guilt of collusion with the govt of last ten years BJP has taken a desperate decision which no other political party of post independent India has ever taken. They have chosen and declared Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for 2014 general election. Senior leader L K Advani, opposition leaders in parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitly were overlooked to facilitate Modi. They are bringing up the issue of development in Gujarat in support of Modi while conveniently ignoring his communal past and his lifetime affiliation with RSS.

Modi’s opponents accuse him that he was the chief conspirator of genocide of Muslims in his state which led to the killing of nearly 1000 Muslims. The orgy of murder and rape went on for three days. They say such a person is unfit to rule plural India, they were not just any riots but a massacre. BJP on the other hand knows exactly what his opponents are saying and they want to cash in that precise image of Modi who has two faces. One is appealing to middle class Indian who wants get out of despair and other would attract the Hindu of the 12th century who lost the battle to Muslim invaders and look to teach a lesson to their decedents.

RSS has renamed all the cities with Hindu names that sound like Muslim names in their scripts and manuals. So it would have real chance to do it in real life if Modi ever becomes the prime minister, at least in theory. In anxiousness to avoid third time defeat BJP has found itself like a child caught letting genie out of the bottle. And that genie is already busy at work. BJP’s senior and other prominent leaders who would oppose communal intentions of Modi and RSS are silenced or sidelined. The anaconda has started feasting itself from tail not realising its own shrinkage. What was perceived to be an easy victory of NDA has become a gambler’s dream and challenging the conscious of a great nation like India. From frying pan to stove or into the wet mud!!?? India is stuck between rock and the hard place.

So rest of the world will have to wait until 17th May to find out if the elephant would wake up fresh or fatigued.

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