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Friday, December 05, 2003

What will the defeat mean ?

What will the defeat of the Congress in the 3 states mean for India, I wonder.
Will it mean that all non-NDA parties come together?

Well I certainly hope so mostly because I am a partisan hack. I hate the BJP more than anything else in the world.

But also because I think the BJP is the wrong party to carry India's economic reform further. Their support base--urban, upper caste Hindus and increasingly "brahmanized" intermediate castes (like Uma Bharti) are the principal beneficiaries of the current economic system like free higher education, LPG subsidy, in the villages fertilizer subsidy, virtually free water and power , jobs in public sector undertakings, rent control etc.

Economic reform in essence means uprooting a lot of this structure. The BJP, like every other political party in the world, will be unable to go against its own supporters.

What it means is that the Congress must ally with the Communists, Mulayam, Laloo, Paswan and whatever else is left of the old United Front government if it wants to form a government next year. But how the hell will Manmohan Singh as finance minister convince the communists to support the government over PSU divestment, or labour reform? The BJP is unlikely to be magnanimous and lend their support as the opposition just as the Congress hasn't supported Arun Shorie over privatization.

I still think the Indian economy will grow fast enough. The impetus for economic change/ growth comes from deep within the fabric of the country. There is only that much that any government can do to stop this thing we've started.

However questions remain...

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