Monday, May 18, 2009

The UPA Home Run

What a season. It is curtains to the Great Indian Election Spectacle. And what a result. UPA hit a home run. And things look a lot more promising....

Some points to ponder.

First - Congress + BJP are over the 300 seat mark. Not bad. To me, it was important that the sum of seats of the country's ideological contrasts represent over 50% of the total number.

Second - the inclusive growth story continues to make inroads. A lot of analysis will come through in the next few weeks on why UPA won. To me, it was simple. Ask the person next to you on how the past 5 years were. Even if he were NOT to say 'Great', chances are that a good number would say 'Good' or 'Not bad at all'. This positive feeling HAD to rub off at the hustings.

Third - this election once and for all buried that much maligned term 'anti-incumbency' as if we voters were a bunch of morons who vote off parties just because we do not like their faces. Performance is always rewarded. Just ask the three-termers, Sheila Dixit in Delhi & Naveen Patnaik in Orissa.

Fourth - To continue on the previous point, Dr. Singh was truly King. It is amazing to see the goodwill this soft-spoken man enjoys. His firm stand on the nuclear deal won him admirers. And when word came in today that Montek Ahluwalia is his preference for Finance Minister, a lot more folks cheered. Montek may not get the post after all. But it is heartening to see the direction.

Fifth - economic reforms hopefully get accelerated & the current mandate gives the UPA a lot more room to maneuver. We need a lot of more years of 8+% growth to take us into the next league.

Last - I hope the extreme left & right undergo a course correction. They have become too ideological, to the discomfort of many. Moderation always helps and so does inclusiveness. A vibrant & principled opposition is what people need. Nothing would make me happier than to see a rejuvenated BJP ask cogent questions & put up a vigorous debate.

All in all, this has been a season of plum pickings. The Sensex will zoom tomorrow. But what matters is that the government takes the right steps so that the country zooms through 2014.

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