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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Friday, May 14, 2004

Elections 2004- a new Government in India - BJP Booted

We have a new government in power.  A Congress-Left tango. A mandate for a secular front.

I am so happy !

One of the biggest challenges for the new government - a tough balancing act between industrial and agrarian economic reforms.  To carry the agrarian economy along with the buoyancy in industry.  As i write this i hear on TV that the new government is likely to remove disinvestment of some public sector units in the petroleum and telecom fields.  And the stock markets have fallen.

Still, this is a mandate against communal forces, however 'soft' the BJP would like us believe they've become - and we will really know how hard they can hit when they are in opposition. Ayodhya is case in point.  I hope we will not see a resurgence in communal tensions and riots sparked by the BJP and its right wing allies, the single largest party in Opposition, in an attempt to bring back voters on the Hindutva flag, now that they are not the party in power at the centre. 

One of the biggest debacles for the NDA government led by the right-wing BJP was the fall of Chandrababu Naidu and his party TDP in Andhra Pradesh.  A state where the chief minister was called the CEO.  A state where an attempt was made to provide computers in each village, as farmers and weavers were committing suicide strangled by debt.

No one predicted this loss.  The BJP campaign -a glossy media blitzkrieg  'India Shining' has misfired badly.  A blitzkrieg that used the electronic media too - spam included !  One that made me a little  guilty that i am lucky to be a part of the tiny minority for whom India is shining. One that failed miserably to connect with voters - especially (but not exclusively) with the rural population which constitutes over 70% of our population.   Or the poor.  Who probably felt India is Shining for 'them' but 'not for me'.  I got an inkling of this a few days before voting, when i was chatting with a maid servant in Bombay - she told me under her breath that she would be voting Congress this year - normally a staunch supporter of the Shiv Sena, a BJP ally - her point was no shine for her unlike the rich - just darkness.

Reminds me of what Mahatma Gandhi had said .......

"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread."

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