Of course, I am exaggerating in the title of this post. But, what the hell. We should be permitted hyperboles – at least some and at least for a few days.
(1) A lot could have gone wrong but did not. That is a good sign for India. India has a non-Congress majority government. Let us savour the thought at least for a few days.
(2) People (like Yours Truly) who feel, on occasions, overwhelmed by the enormousness (would ‘enormity’ still have been ok?) of challenges that lie ahead should remind themselves that very, very few – perhaps none other than Mr. Modi himself – believed that the final outcome would be this sort of a victory. So, if Modi could pull this off, perhaps, he could pull off other economic miracles too. Hope is the appropriate feeling at this moment.
(3) This election campaign was too long. People’s health – particularly that of leaders like the Prime Minister-designate Modi – should not be taken lightly. They have campaigned in the searing heat, drinking all sorts of water and eating all kinds of food. They are not young. So, the next time around, the election commission should mobilise to finish this exercise in two weeks.
(4) About seven + months ago, at a dinner table in Mumbai (on October 4, 2013), I had confidently prophesied to a few friends that the NDA would cross 300+ seats. I said that it would be a repeat of the Janata Party performance in 1977. Despite very short lead time and despite several parties and leaders had to merge their identities, the Janata Party still managed to secure 302 seats simply because the frustration levels of the people were so high. Petty caste, communal, regional, local calculations were submerged.
Fast forward to October 2013. With 70+% food inflation in 5.5 years (73% CPI – Food index in Dec. 2008 to CPI -Food index in April 2014) and 63% overall CPI inflation rate and with no job creation at all, it was not that difficult to project that a similar outcome was in the offing. It required no special skill on my part to make that prediction.
That is why I had to keep telling my good friends (to no avail, of course) some of whom were writing hair-splitting blog posts and op.eds. on local considerations that they were missing the wood for the trees.
That said, it means that how voters feel on the voting day in 2019 will matter equally. In that regard, the UPA regime has left a huge mess for the new government to clear, before it can even rebuild. Clearing the debris might take longer than one thinks, in the heady days of the victory. Therefore, the time available to restore ‘feel-good’ on the voting day in 2019 might be considerably shorter. That has to be kept in mind from day 1.
(5) Some are still hoping for the AAP to occupy the centre-left space vacated by the Congress. Possible but not probable. I remain unconvinced of AAP’s bona-fide. One can disagree on policy specifics but the unity and integrity of the country should be non-negotiable. AAP stance on J&K, on Maoism, on development, etc., leave enough room for doubt as to where their underlying loyalties lie – with India or with those whose hearts are against India.
(6) While on the topic of AAP, it is most heartening to see that some prominent AAP types have lost – Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav, Arvind Kejriwal, S.P. Udaya Kumar (the famous anti-nuclear agitator in Koodangulam). I was personally disappointed to see Gul Panag contest on AAP behalf. I thought she was a smart and intelligent woman. Have listened to her once in 2010 (or, in 2011?) in Pune. Equally glad that Kirron Kher triumphed over her.
(7) Also, good to see some specific Congress worthies losing – Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Karthik Chidambaram.
(8) But, is the Congress capable of introspection? My short answer is NO.
(9) My friend sent me this email:
Both Ladakh (the top-most) and Kanyakumari(the Southern-most) constituency have gone the Modi-way. From Sagar to Himalaya the sweep is complete.
(10) I did not know I had in my cable TV in Singapore channels like Times Now and Network 18, etc. But, I am glad I did not know this before. It is a stressful experience for both the viewers and the guests of Arnab – I wish he is a little less loud. Am I putting it too mildly? Well, I do not want to be as loud as him, you see.
(11) I saw Sushma Swaraj on TV. I was disappointed with the expression on her face.
(12) What was distressing in the last several months was the constant reminder to all of us that there are many in the country who would rather see India damaged, hurt and destroyed than be proven wrong about their beliefs. In order to get to that goal, they were prepared to go to any lengths. Lying was merely a very small sin to commit in the advancement of their agendas. Indian National Interest was certainly not one of them.
India battling odds will remain the only constant in our life-times.