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What next for India?
What next for India?
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
About a week’s time India would have voted for the new 5-year government. This election has been similar in tone to the last one, except this time the BJP is the incumbent, and Congress still seems to struggle with its overall identity. A lot of regional political parties (and their leaders) making a lot more noise. You hear the federalist system, and more power to the states, and a leader that the opposition wants who is not from Congress, all this while Congress itself trying to be relevant and project Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate.
Modi working to come back into the PM chair for the second term and has been the choice of BJP as its leader. He continues to pack powerful speeches and rallies, and outwardly seem to be confident of retaining the majority for the next 5 years.
It will be foolish to predict what the outcome is. The case and point of the US elections in 2016 is a great lesson to pollsters and predictors to keep their opinion/s to themselves. Nevertheless, the supporting media for each party will predict a landslide for their candidate/s. All politicians contesting and their supporters will obviously predict their candidate to come out victorious.
I have been partial to Modi (I don’t have a vote in India as an NRI) but the last time and for the last 5 years, I have been looking at what he said versus what he did. Without justification to what the last 5 years of BJP government’s delivery to their poll promises, one thing that I have always believed is that the head of the government stay scam free. I believe with what I read and watch, Modi has remained a man with little interest in stealing public money. I truly believe he has no reason to (as he did not have any 5 years ago) loot public coffers. I continue t believe that Modi is a career politician who doesn’t have the need for looting public coffers as he has always kept family and friends away from his politics and his life.
You get to see someone for 5 years as a nation’s leader; you will have little reason to guess. We have almost 100% access to the leader’s life and his actions. He started very aggressively as a leader representing India to the world, and despite the criticism of his style, he represented India quite aggressively and positively to the world. Modi was equally at ease with USA or China, Japan or Germany, Pakistan or Bangladesh, and any other nation he visited of dealt with. Modi’s early reaching out to the global leaders continue to pay dividends for India and have helped with the Industry and trade dealing for India, quite positively to the terms before his first term. He is a determined politician with also a single-minded focus on the nation. I truly believe Modi doesn’t have any personal interest in dollars and cents. The man is a representation of his party, the BJP and as all of its leaders has no personal profit motive.
While I preach of no predictions, I think Modi will be back in his PM seat for the next term. This prediction is solely based on looking at the opposition. INS and Rahul Gandhi have no chance of winning the elections by themselves, or with the many associations, they have been trying to cultivate. The Indian political history is on the 1970s and beyond when regional and opposition parties started to challenge Congress. So their leadership still in its stage I, with many old men trying to hang on to power, and desperately tries to be relevant.
The old INC is no longer able to display a national agenda, not has the footprint it did after India’s independence. It is not a competitor in politics or policy, and it might need several more 5-year terms, for it to become relevant (might never be what it was with Panditji or India Gandhi). For a nonvoter looking at Rahul, he seems to only cherish with his cartoonish jibes at Modi. The younger Gandhi has no political or philosophical experience to represent 1.3 billion people. He might never be able to fully appreciate and represent India as his family once did. I really don’t think INC has a chance of coming back into power in 2019. This column or any number of columns might not be sufficient to revisit the scams in Congress, and people are still fresh in their recollection of the scale of misuse of public resources.
The regional party even if all of them plan to combine as opposition to BJP lead government (including Congress) it’s an unlikely alliance that can be successful. Simply agreeing to a PM candidate will close much of the alliance. BJP has Modi as their leader, and with coming to power there is a clear leader to represent the party. The power of incumbency is always of high political value because of the power and infrastructure that it automatically provides. In 2019 it’s unlikely a unified opposition with a single leader can emerge to challenge the BJP and Modi.
The public opinion on Modi and his government is difficult to read, as we did with INC. There is no clear cut and nationwide anti-incumbency to Modi and BJP. Personally, a little bit of less showmanship and a little more of education to people would have helped. In an opinion piece, I can certainly write of the time Indian politicians spend in running each other can be spent more on people’s work to further the public’s agenda. I really don’t hear anything about positive news, only the bitter bickering of old men about each other, in very personal terms.
In a week from now, it is highly likely we will see BJP (and allies) come back in power. I sincerely hope Modi will work on his poll promises (this time) and also more focus on internal issues to India.
I am not going to forget the special category status to my state of Andhra Pradesh, and with a full-hearted appeal for the people’s mandate.
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