Monday, May 23, 2011

Last week in Politics

Whenever I come home, my Political genes get turned on. The last few days have seen monumental changes in the Indian political scenario amply demonstrated by the thrashing of the Left in Bengal. The Mamta Magic has finally worked and Left was left hoodwinked. They knew it was coming, and still they didnt take it well. 34 years have filled with them a false sense of arrogance and pride and the fall from the perchy tops to the ground (Ironically Trinamool means Grassroots) will be the toughest journey they will have made. It always has been a riddle to the best minds of our country has to how a government which has failed to deliver progress for decades still continues to be voted back to power. It's Customer Retention at its best. The stronghold they had over people using both mafia and money power overlived its existence and I think the Election Commission deserves a special mention in this regard. Whatever the outcome of the elections, the EC is a clear winner in all states. Having said this, Mamta has her task cutout. It wouldn't be wrong to say that Bengal might be behind Bihar in terms of development. She should take a leaf out of books of Nitish Kumar, Raman Singh etc...Balancing issues of Agriculture and Industrialization in a state dominated ny Naxal belts will be a monumental task and Mamta doesn't exactly have a track record of good governance keeping in mind the state of the Railways. One thing she has is the undivided love of the people who have given her a resounding mandate and here's hoping she is the answer to all of Bengal's problems.

I just love the way both Tamilnadu and Kerala vote. They give everyone a chance. This way parties are forced to work in those 5 years in the hope that they would get a second chance. South Indians by nature vote for a person more than the party. Thats why it is not unusual for parties to rope in filmstars for campaigning. The leader is always bigger than the party, and authoritarian rulers are common in south. In Tamilnadu, Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi are larger than life people. VS Achuthanandan showed his class by almost single handedly taking LDF to a victory. One thing about governments in South is that the parties might have different ideologies and manifestos but good governance is assured. Second thing is that people are hardworking and honest in nature and carry out their activities diligently thereby moving the economy irrespective of the government. The impact of these states is more at the centre as the assembly polls can dictate how the parliamentary seats would go which in turn would decide the nature of the coalitions at the centre.

Congress would be happy with the results of these elections as they have made gains in Kerala and West Bengal but they have a lot of trouble brewing in Andhra Pradesh. YS Jagan is all set to take Congress headon and given his popularity, his father's charisma and the symapthy wave flowing in AP, mid term elections could be a possibility. AP as a state has only gone backwards after the demise of YSR. There have been no major investments in the state; they lost out the VW plant to Chennai and the F1 Race circuit to Noida. There are issues of Land Allocations in Srikakulam which the centre has turned a blind eye to (Interestingly Rahul Gandhi has taken notice of the Noida land problems, probably due to the fact that elections are due in UP in 2012 and this is his way of getting political mileage). The long awaited Metro Rail project got postponed again due to issues of land allocation. To top it off we have a weak CM who is incapable of controlling his party factions. Usually congress as a party never projects a CM candidate in the state elections except AP where they have always had good leaders such as YSR, Chenna Reddy etc... The lack of a strong candidate is hurting Congress in Andhra. The state is headed for troubled times and this could have a huge impact on the centre as Congress has 33 seats from AP.

I think the next 6 months in Indian Politics will be interesting, watch out for these headlines

(1) 2G scam and other corruption cases will be in full steam by then.
(2) Problems in Andhra
(3) Noida Land Allocation issues
(4) DMK-Congress Alliance
(5) Progress in West Bengal (Mamta is more than capable of kicking the congress out of the coalition)
(6) BJP's problems in Karnataka
(7) Maoist problems in Chhattisgarh and Orissa
(8) Global issues of Pak-US conflicts, changes in the structure of UN, India-Africa Summit etc...

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