So hotly are the elections being contested that it is easy to forget the real life challenges awaiting the new government. Challenges come in three buckets — institutional; policy design and uncertainties from external and domestic shocks. Poor policy choices are easily reversed, institutional change happens slowly while shocks can neither be forecast nor fully […]Read More Bitter morning-after pill awaiting new government
A core staff of just around 400 persons borrowed from the Union government, leveraged temporarily with an additional five million staff from the Centre and state governments to manage polling for 900 million electors — more than 66 per cent of whom are expected to cast their vote this year — would be a recipe […]Read More Weak institutions undermine India’s Election Commission
A duality of capacity and intent casts a patina over elections in India. At one end, battery-powered, surround-sound “hologram discs” worn around a party worker’s neck shock and awe while belting out the BJP’s message in remote Himachal Pradesh. At the other end, the less well-endowed Aam Aadmi Party in metropolitan Delhi is falling back […]Read More Elections highlight the duality of Indian politics
BJP president Amit Shah is technically correct to say that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, one of the accused in the September 2008 Malegaon (Maharashtra) bomb blast case, who is on bail, has a right, under our liberal electoral laws, to contest the elections. It hardly matters that she voluntarily claimed being part of the Hindutava forces […]Read More The Sadhvi as a symbol of New India
Manifestos don’t count for much if elections are won on the popularity of a single leader — Narendra Modi. Oddly, the Congress chose to follow a similar strategy last week, with Rahul Gandhi as its key protagonist, presenting a David versus Goliath choice. We are far from junking top down, paternalistic, big man rule. Regional […]Read More BJP’s Sankalp Patra – spans realism and fantasy
Most of the major political parties in India, other than the Communist parties, do not align their electoral rhetoric within a broad, directional, policy agenda. Why should they when the outcomes from ideological monogamy have been so very poor? The demise of ideology During the 2014 general election, the share of valid votes of both […]Read More Voters dilemma – should the heart rule or the head?
Rahul Gandhi’s electoral silver bullet to numb the BJP into relative disarray is a mega welfare scheme to transfer Rs 72,000 to each of the 50 million or 20 per cent of the poorest households. It costs Rs 3.6 trillion or 1.8 per cent of GDP. Mine versus yours The motivation is political – to […]Read More Nyay (Justice) yes! But at what cost?
India is a hyper-cauldron of politics and political parties. There are seven national parties, 24 regional parties and over 2,000 registered parties. Hypothesis One – Footloose voters turn to regional parties Churn is the new mantra. Voters are moving away from the national parties to regional parties even for the Lok Sabha elections. The vote […]Read More Holi special: 2019 elections voternama
The notion that a strident anti-Islam national sentiment can co-exist with India’s geopolitical ambitions is laughable. Strident Hinduism has no future. This should be self-evident. Just look at our geography. For 4,000 km to the west, till Sub-Saharan Africa; to the northwest till Eastern Europe and to the southeast of India through Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia […]Read More Indian election – Democratic Nationalism vs Communalism
International league tables come with their own limitations. To be sure they— of which the Ease of Doing Business Index is the best known — have their uses. Countries get incentivised to trim a lot of accumulated fat by updating processes, reforming unsupportive structures and improving poor outcomes. But the one big flaw of such […]Read More Indian democracy “best fit” or flawed?