Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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In Election Mode
By Arun Nehru
We are in election mode and every political party, every political act has one eye on the elections and there is nothing wrong in this and we have a great deal of action as the FDI issue dominates Parliament and election results are due both in HP and Gujarat on the 20th December 2012. Today has been a good day as Sachin Tendulkar returns to form with a 76 run innings and the FDI is passed and I am not going into the merits of the case but as I have written earlier this was a pure confidence measure necessary for the global investment community and this is necessary as the global economic situation is in turmoil and all you have to do is to look around you and see the situation in South Europe and the Middle East and the looming recession in the UK. We are global players and while we wish everyone well we cannot afford to lose opportunities in the troubled economic scene as it exists today.

Political logic points towards General elections towards May 2014 or if a few political accidents take place these can be held in October/November 2013 and it was wise for the BJP not to have supported the TMC on the no confidence motion. The FDI issue and the Left are still stuck in the Cold War syndrome while the BJP have to protect their trader base and all this is understandable as elections draw near. We do our shopping at Big Bazar every week and at our local Kiryana shop for our daily requirements and I cannot see how one will hurt the other and in fact many a Kiryana shop have turned into coffee shops, beauty parlours, hair cutting salons and we even have a hair transplant clinic along with a grooming centre for pets. We see new shops every day and the trader is moving forward while the politician is moving back in time and I write only what I see on a daily basis in the area I live.

The Gujarat campaign is in full swing and both the BJP and the Congress battle for the honours and while Narender Modi is the clear favourite to win, the final victory margin is important for him to achieve the psychological advantage of making a big impact on the national stage and in reality a 'vacancy' at the top in politics can be rather dangerous and comes with a very heavy cost to the party and the cadres and I think the RSS/BJP have suffered enough and have very limited options as 'change' often comes with some pain within the organization or with the allies if it is not taken in time.

Events often overtake decisions and political accidents cannot be predicted but as things stand we are looking at three formations for the future in the Congress, the BJP and the Third Front and all three are in 'battle' mode and it would be foolish to think of winners and losers at this stage and I do not think a close result in HP [Congress have their nose in front] or a big win for Narender Modi in the BJP will give a firm indicator for the future and as I see it the first six months on the New Year will be vital for all the three groups and the changes they have to make looking into the future. I see bigger problems for the Third Front than either for the Congress or the BJP as they grapple with the reality of consolidation 'alliances' within each other and as 'Supreme' leaders in the States do not accept other 'Supreme' leaders and there is a constant ego clash.

Let us look beyond the Gujarat election. I still place the Third Front and the 'unattached' Groups in the range of 260-270 seats. We have seen Mulayam Singh moving forward with the Left and smaller parties towards a 'secular front' and this has a 100 seat potential and the major issue here will be the advances being made by the BSP and as Regional parties both the SP and the BSP individually may have more seats than any other party in the States and this has its own implications. We see another 100 seat formation with the AIDMK/TMC/JD[U]/SAD/SS/BJD/YSR Congress and every party does not have the issue of a 'secular' and 'non secular' and their decision will be based on numbers.

The key question is if all the Regional forces will survive the ANTI INCUMBENCY wave in the nest year and in the current situation with the exception of the AIDMK/SAD every party is under pressure. I would narrow down the leadership to Mulayam Singh, J Jayalalitha,Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Nitesh Kumar in these two Regional groups and all have to negotiate with each other and with the Congress and the BJP.

Time is not going to wait for the Congress to consolidate its changes and translate this into action on the ground, time is not going to wait for the BJP to resolve leadership at the top and time is not going to wait for the Regional parties to consolidate and the Aam Aadmi will form his preferences by action in the field. My political instincts indicate that a certain amount of positive developments have halted the political and economic slide and the good thing is that political parties have recovered their ground and has anyone paid attention to the three day tour undertaken by Anna Hazare in Odisha, is anyone interested in the activities of Baba Ram Dev and his burning imported goods to invoke the principal of 'Swadeshi' and should it be a surprise that Arvind Kejriwal no longer makes the media headlines and his weekly press exposures are lost in the middle pages.

I do not know why we suffer from the inferiority complex of competing with a MNC and look how Indian Industry has performed in the last two decades. We talk of miracles, then acknowledge and respect the skills of our business sector. We can compete with the best anywhere in the World, we need reforms, we need transparency and the one thing we do not need is to police every situation and live in the FIR syndrome and punish anyone who has done well.
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News Updated at : Saturday, December 8, 2012
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