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Saturday, December 06, 2003

Success has many fathers

So now every political pundit can find something nice to write about the BJP. Talking heads are spanning the length and breadth of television studios to reveal the reasons and the impact of the BJP victory. Suddenly, they are a young and dynamic lot, lots of fuss is being made about Pramod Mahajan's lap-top boys (as if he ran some complex election mathematical models on the dam thing to figure out strategies...) , Arun Jaitley's (ugh) strategic sense, Vajpayeeji's charisma. Without bothering to say why, political pundits now think the election victory is an endorsment of economic reform. None of these pundits caught which way the wind was blowing before the election results, so now they are playing catch up.

All very well, I suppose--to the victor go the spoils.

Moreover, one shouldn't judge pundits too harshly. Its genuinely difficult to figure out the Indian voter, and more importantly the first past the post system can make a few percentage difference in vote share seem like a land slide.

However, I shall stick by my party. The BJP, with few exceptions, in my view is a rotten lot.

And the fact is that all four Congress Chief Ministers were excellent Chief Ministers. All four were modern, clean, and efficient Chief Ministers. And their tenures have visibly--and not so visibly--improved the condition of people living in their states.

Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, for example, have both started to pull out from the BIMARU trap in their Digvijay's and Ghelot's tenure respectively.

Digvijay's de-centralization and land re-distribution program is to be genuinely applauded. Any Ghelot fought 4 years of drought vigorously. Food and work reached the farthest corners of the desert state--a point often missed by Delhi/Bombay types. Most emphatically the states will be worse off without them.

All pundits have, as usual, begun writing political obituaries for Sonia Gandhi. Let me just say that if she was good enough to pick and stick with Ghelot, Dixit and Digvijay, she is good enough to be my Prime Minister.

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