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February, 2015
A turning point comes in the evolution of a nation which takes it to the cusp of a trend which could propel it into a global leader. There could be different drivers for this systemic shift in the destiny of a nation and its citizens. It could be a relentless pursuit of the ideals on which the society is based as the capitalism and freedom for pursuit of an enterprise proved in the making of the United States of America. It could be a strong transformational leader which emerges over generations which could transform a country of poor farmers to the manufacturing capital of the world as Deng Xiaoping proved in the People’s Republic of China. It could also be a mass power of an aspirational nation which fundamentally wants to make sure that the quality of life improves not just for the next but for the current generation as the very people of the Democratic Republic of India have been showing the way for the last few years.
This is a quiet revolution which started in 2005 with the well entrenched caste based politician of Bihar Lalu Yadav getting decisively voted out by the people of the state fed up of his 15 years of misrule. This was followed by a decisive mandate which the neighboring Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state which sends most numbers of MPs to the Parliament, gave to Mayawati’s BSP hoping to put an end to lawlessness of the previous coalition regime led by SP. These two decisive mandates of clear majority for an alternative to caste based fragmented polity in favour of progressive politics driven by the agenda of good governance baffled all political pundits and set a trend for even more decisive mandates which were to follow in the states. People of Bengal put an end to 3 decades of decadence of Bengal by replacing the regressive communists with a new alternative on the horizon – Mamata Banerjee. Similarly, in another landmark mandate in 2012 citizens of UP punished Mayawati for her corrupt rule by replacing her decisively by her arch rival SP. While all this was happening the citizens of other states were putting their vote of confidence in regimes which were demonstrating a track record of people centric good governance by re-electing their governments led by the BJP in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and BJD in Orissa.
An era of political maturity which started in 2005 at the state level with rooting out of regressive communal and caste based polity and replacing it with politics of development culminated in a decisive mandate at the national level in the summer of 2014 when India voted for a federal government with a single party majority after 30 years. Clearly India a young nation of young Indians with more than 50% of its population less than 35 years of age was sending its message loud and clear to the political class – I am young, I am aspirational, I have a lifetime to impact, I need progress, I need growth. Rest everything can take a back seat at least for 5 years if not more. Indians of all caste and creed, across all faiths, whether at the top, middle or bottom of the pyramid broke all past records and came out in hordes to exercise their right to elect a government which can take the nation and therefore them ahead.
The nation spoke in unison and did it – it got a Prime Minister in Narendra Modi who it believed would bring about the similar change of growth and development at the national level which he had impeccably demonstrated in Gujarat over his track record of 13 years. A country hungry for change celebrated this and gave its affirmation to PM Modi’s charisma in the 4 state elections which followed within six months of the Modi Sarkar assuming office on May 26, 2014. And then the people of possibly the smallest Indian state of the national capital of Delhi came out and gave a shocker of another decisive mandate and a rather one sided mandate which no one had believed neither the winners AAP and of course nor the losers, the BJP. Within less than 9 months of Modi Sarkar people of Delhi had given a popular 54% of the vote in favour of an alternative they saw better than BJP at the state level which resulted in 95% of the seats in the state assembly going to the winner. So what happened suddenly in a matter of 15 days when the projection of Kiran Bedi as the CM candidate had immensely worried AAP cadres and was seen as the master stroke of the BJP and how is it going to impact India’s destiny going forward.
Both the national elections of the summer of 2014 and the state elections for Delhi in the winter of 2014-15 indicate a defining trend which’ll shape India’s destiny in times to come. Here is how it is playing out giving us a glimpse of the emerging future for the oldest civilization on the planet.
It is already well established that Indian society had long back moved on from both mandir and mandal, euphemisms for communal and caste based politics. Now it is not even interested in personality based or negative politics as was witnessed in the recent Delhi elections. The nation is restless for progress and growth and any deviation from the same could receive punishment at the hustings. The power of information has been accentuated by social media which can dramatically alter public opinion within a week.
This is clearly brining in a big game changer in India’s politics which has always been absent and that is the accountability of the political class towards its citizens who could vote them into or out of power. Indian politicians for the good part of independent India have always taken the Indian voters for granted but not now anymore. It is performance which matters now pretty much like in a free market economy. Its difficult to come across in India’s political history any political leader going back to his electorate profusely apologizing for failing to deliver the promise last time. While not attempting to reach out to its market made India’s grand old party Congress irrelevant, the arrogance of the BJP like that of a market leader got the boot while the willingness of the AAP to reach out to the market and make amends in its approach worked the swing in its favor. India’s polity couldn’t be more market friendly. Like the customer the Indian voter has become the real king now.
This would fundamentally impact the political class as they are going to take their responsibility fairly seriously and not just talk about it. Good intentions have to show up in action on the ground resulting in desired numbers. And there is empirical evidence to show that the smarter ones are evolving and therefore surviving with the winds of change. Seeing the backlash to the Gujarat riots which had almost lost him his job Narendra Modi read well the aspirations of the common citizens and moved on to the path of good governance which helped him to grow in stature and get the national job. Similarly, Kejriwal was a quick learner as well and realized that the citizens of the capital of one of the most aspirational nations of the world aren’t interested in negativity, activism or politics of conflict. Both Modi and Kejriwal have evolved into different and better leaders than what they began with and they both are today faces of India’s political maturity which has come off age with their evolved vision firmly aligned with the aspirations of their electorate.
While Modi Sarkar’s motivation at the Federal Government is driven by ensuring economic growth for India as a tool for impacting the lives of the citizens of its country Kejriwal Sarkar at the State Government is motivated by giving a dignified living to the citizens of the city state. While PM Modi has responded graciously to his opponent at the state level CM Kejriwal has indicated clearly that he has moved on from the confrontational approach and is much willing to collaborate with the Federal Government to uplift the fortunes of the state who has entrusted faith in him for the next 5 years. Clearly Delhi elections have been such a timely wake up call for both the governments and there can’t be better news for India than this.
In ancient city state of Athens, which gave the world the first and oldest form of democracy only such citizens were allowed to vote who had acquired a threshold of education as the scholars of the city state believed that democracy can only succeed if the citizens have the wisdom to elect the suitable representatives. The age old wisdom has now touched the oldest civilization too which has made India not only the world’s largest and but also possibly the most modern democracy.
India today not only has the power of the young demography in place to propel its economy as compared to its contemporary emerging markets but India today has one big difference which others probably would wish to have – a thriving modern democracy which is impacting the vision and maturity of its political leadership something which history tells us has propelled nations into the big league. No doubt qualified research from the West forecasts that India shall surpass UK’s economy in 3 years time and shall be the third largest economy in the world after US and China in 9 years. And couple this with China trending downwards and getting older there couldn’t have been a better time for the destiny of India to tip towards the better.
Good show India, you have made your time come!
Rohit Sarin
February, 2015
 
 
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