Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mr. Prime Minister please don't mess it up this time.

When BJP won decisive majority on its own in general elections of 2014 of India I was little surprised. I wasn't surprised that NDA won the elections, it was quite clear to me and many Indians that government of that time had no chance to come back in power but many didn't expect the clear majority to BJP as a single party. They won with 282 seats on their own (with ~31% vote share) and NDA in total won 339 seats with ~39% vote share. Actually it was really good to see that single party won the majority so the reasoning and excuse of coalition dharma to justify any decision or lack of decision must disappear now. Many governments from 1989 suffered decision paralysis because of this coalition politics. There was one person largely responsible for BJP's impressive success, it was Mr. Narendra Modi (chief minister of Gujarat that time). His presence made all the difference as other parties did not have anyone to counter the challenge posed by him, he rode on a wave of his popularity with enormous resources at his disposal, very well planned and executed campaign to secure absolute majority for his party, this happened for the first time since 1984. In 1984-85 general elections Congress won the election with absolute majority under the leadership of Late Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. It was a landslide victory, they won 414 seats with ~49% of vote share, it was the biggest victory margin for any party till date. I don't think that record is easy to break in near future. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi had majority which no one enjoyed ever in parliament, many expected that he will bring much needed change in style and functioning of Indian politics. BUT sadly it didn't happen, a golden opportunity was missed. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi started on very positive note, made very impressive speeches about change in the beginning of his tenure but somehow lost his way somewhere in between and ended his tenure with corruption charges (Bofors scandal), Shah bano case disaster and Ram mandir issue. Rather than Rajiv changing Indian politics, Indian politics changed him. This was really sad, I really feel bad whenever I look back to this part of Indian history, it is not that his government didn't do any good work but the expectations which people had from him were not fulfilled. Difeat of Congress party in 1989 general elections started a new era of coalition politics, which resulted in many weak and unstable governments. So after 30 years now we have another prime minister and party with absolute majority in parliament. Like Rajiv Mr. Modi also started his tenure with very positive note, his speeches are mentioning all right things and people have lot of expectations from him and his government. I hope he is serious about changing the ways politics and political parties work in India, I believe he wants to create bipartisan style of political decision making, bring more transparency in political funding, reduce corruption...the list is too long.

According to me Mr. Modi have very unique opportunity in his hands, the same opportunity which Mr. Rajiv Gandhi had and missed 30 years ago. India and Indians have waited almost three decades to get a government with decisive mandate. Hopefully he means whatever promises he made during his election campaign. One thing which I am looking forward this government to implement is 'uniform civil code' (not Hindu civil law which RSS wants). India calls itself a secular country but there is very complicated system of personal laws. Each religion have their own set of personal laws specially in cases of marriage, divorce and adoption. BJP is talking about uniform civil code since long, I think it is time now they implement it. I am sure youth of country across the party lines will support this. Mr. Modi have majority on his side at least in one house of parliament and it is just matter of time his party gets majority in other house as well. He should initiate this process to show his commitment towards his party's promises. This one change can initiate a big social change. This is also a unique opportunity to change the long tradition of politicization different institutions and government bodies. If NDA or BJP keeps repeating same mistakes which UPA or Congress did in the past then what is the use of changing the government? If current government behaves in same way like previous governments then it is just a change of name not the change of governance style. Initial signs don't look that promising but may be they need some time to adjust and will get their acts together soon after initial hiccups.

I don't expect these changes to happen in overnight or even during first year of the tenure of this government but if no initial inclination is shown in this direction then I think it will be difficult to bring any change later on. This opportunity came after 30 long years and if it is missed this time then I don't know how many more years Indian people have to wait to see this happen again. Delhi assembly elections showed that voters don't have patience to wait, they want results and I hope Mr. Modi don't mess up this unique opportunity which history has offered to him. They are not going to get 60 years like Congress. Expensive and lavish suits, fancy dresses, charismatic and well delivered speeches are fine for PR campaign but people want results, so act fast and act with honest and integrity otherwise be prepared to get decimated. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_civil_code_of_India
2. Uniform civil code: will it work in India?

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