On the sidelines of the Republic Day celebrations in Guildhall, London, a lot of us from the press were discussing on general topics, but mainly on Indian politics. Someone asked me my take on the ongoing political scenario of the country, and the possible outcome. There are still 7-10 weeks left for the Lok Sabha polls. Back in 1968, then British prime minister Harold Wilson had said, “A week is a long time in politics.” As at now NDA will get 340 seats compared to 333 in 2014. However, to my understanding of the Indian Opposition's rigidity and flair for the usual, the political scenario of India is as below...
Economy- The foundation stone for a healthy, democratic nation is its economy. The world today is going through political crisis. UK and Europe has the mammoth called Brexit to deal, the middle east has extremism /terrorism, China has the US of A, and the States has Donald Trump. Each country today has its devil to face, due to which, its economy suffers, some more than others . Meanwhile India, despite its size, internal contradictions and national-international issues, is now the largest economy with the highest GDP growth rate. I understand, a country's GDP is not the only measure of its rate of success. Be it the IMF, the World Bank, or most recently the people in Davos, the positive economic transformation in the past four and a half years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been recognised, accepted.
After a tedious back-and-forth of decisions, the GST has been finally implemented and is by and large operating with speedy internal goods transfer. The Centre's drive for digitisation has promoted clarity and transparency. For those waiting their turns to yell DEMONETISATION; Yes, demonetisation has left a lot of scars and I believe perhaps it could have been handled a little better. But there are several spinoffs from the episode.
Facts reveal the number of tax payers and payments to the exchequers are now rising phenomenally. There is now a substantial increase in ease of doing business. FDI is growing with each year, and the recent Budget promotes various concessions and tax reliefs.
Unemployment- 6.1 per cent unemployment rate is a rather serious matter. It is perhaps the highest in 44 years. While it is a crucial problem, the source for the issue needs to be addressed. Automation technology plays an important part in generating unemployment in agriculture, commerce and industry. However, I believe the current government is doing its most to recover losses.
Border Security- Since Modi took power in June 2014, India's international borders appear to be more secure. India has maintained vigilant presence on borders in both, the west and the east, and the problematic neighbours are fully aware of India's preparedness and government strength. At the same time, India now has strong er relations with international powers like the USA, EU, Japan, Australia, and some countries in the middle east. And in the South East Asia especially with Vietnam. Strategic alliance is a necessity and kudos to Mr Modi for making substantial progress.
Relation with Indian Diaspora- Over 30 million people of Indian-origin live abroad and the PM Modi and his government who did become the butt of trolls, made major efforts to cultivate and strengthen bonds with all overseas brethren.
Promises before the Polls- Unlimited promises are always made during elections and love. Back in the 2013-14 polls, Modi gave a rosy picture of how India under him would appear. Some promises were fulfilled, some were not. However, it appears 900 million voters in India are intelligent and can now see the difference in their lives. The touted Mahagathbandhan is only a disaster waiting to be happened and in my personal opinion, their government is least likely to bear fruits.
Social Harmony- In the last five years, India has witnessed lot less communal violence. People are now more focused on development, education, growth.
Contradictions in Opposition- India has seen coalition governments since 1977. To gain power if political parties resort to alliance, it has historically, reflected poorly on governance. All such governments in 1977, 89, 93, and the 2004, gave India the worst corruption scandals involving major leaders without any shame.
Public Opinion- In a democracy, towards the end of a term, the ruling government usually gets less than 50 per cent in public polls. However, Modi has received 72 per cent in recent opinion surveys and I believe that is testament to the man's work. People have not only attested to their satisfaction with the NDA government with the opinion polls results, they have also declared that they do not want the ill-tempered ruling of Mahagathbandhan. But most importantly, they do not want the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.