Game-changing electoral victory should inject new life into a stalled economy writes John Elliott for Asia Sentinel.
India is about to experience its biggest-ever change of national politics and of government style and policies with the unprecedented country-wide landslide victory for Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition, and the decimation of the Congress Party that calls into question the leadership of the Gandhi dynasty.
The latest forecasts for the result of India’s general election, based on who is leading in constituencies as counting takes place, show the BJP and its allies exceeding the top end of all forecasts with well over 300 seats in the 544-seat Lok Sabha, including an astonishing 270-plus for the BJP on its own. Congress is falling to a humiliating figure as low as 50, far below the 100 that it had hoped would be its worst result.
Virtually everything to do with government will now change, not just ministers and policies but how the people at the top react to events and even the language they speak – many leading politicians, including Modi, prefer to use Hindi. Modi will bring in top bureaucrats from his home state of Gujarat and elsewhere and little-known politicians will have important ministries. For business, as in other areas, a new era is about to begin, with new relationships and ways of working.
Modi elected for growth not Hindu nationalism
It is no use liberal Congress sympathizers bleating, as they have been for weeks and months in India and abroad, about a man with Modi’s questionable history in Gujarat’s 2002 riots and his membership of the arch Hindu nationalist RSS organization becoming prime minister. Modi and his party have not been elected primarily by sympathizers with his rightist politics but by voters, especially the young, who are tired of the Congress Party’s woolly politics and self-serving dynastic leadership and want India to grow into an economic success. That success is surely also Modi’s primary aim, not Hindu nationalism.
The BJP has been elected to deliver economic growth and an efficient government that takes decisions and then implements them, streamlining procedures and developing new partnerships with the private sector. India does not need new policies to be introduced to achieve most of this. What is needed is implementation of existing policies in areas ranging from power generation and coal mining to defense production and procurement, plus the operation of the railways, construction of highways, and improvement in education and health services.