Vantage point

Thursday, December 04, 2003

BJP wins "semis" 3-1

Surprising......but then again maybe not considering that these elections were, surprisingly, fought on real issues, like roads and power.

I have been to Delhi as well as Madhya Pradesh in the past year. In delhi, I noticed a sea change compared to some years back. Fantastic roads, good power situation thanks to partial privatisation. In MP, horrible roads, power cuts lasting for ages.

Dixit got back the power in Delhi with a thumping majority because she worked on the real issue. Diggy lost in MP because he didn't.

One heartening trend with less than a year for the General Elections is this. Though the elections were close by, I did not hear of any Bhojshalas, Togadiyas or Trishuls for the past 5-6 months or so. This means that the BJP think tank has realised that the benefits of the Hindutva card will not last long.
They better start focussing on issues.

So with the general elections round the corner, they would do well to banish the name "Ayodhya" from their lexicon. If you look at the past 4 years with an objective eye, the Vajpayee government has done reasonably well on the Economic front. A commitment to privatise PSU's, the highway project that is on track, the impending power reforms...... they have done quite well considering the world was going through a recession.

Agreed that the Vajpayee government could have done better. The Kandahar hijacking remains for me, the biggest blot on this term, closely followed by the stupid unilateral ceasefire that gave terrorism a new lease of life in Kashmir. Conferring legitimacy on Musharraf crowning himself President by inviting him for talks weeks later was another booboo. But most of these have faux pas have been in foreign policy.

My contention is that the greatest service politicians can do a country is to not interfere in its progress. And a stable government ensures that the ruling party won't be diverted from this. If the Babri riots hadn't in 1993, Narsimha Rao's government would have done much more in terms of reforms.

Which party actually rules the country is immaterial, since all of them have evolved, more or less, an economic as well as a foreign policy consensus. As long as the government is stable, the economy will breathe easy.

Sonia or Atal? My vote goes to whoever looks likely to form a government.