Friday, May 16, 2014

The election results in India

1. Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister born after Independence.  Modi was born in 1950.  (Rajiv Gandhi was born in 1944, and the power behind Manmohan Singh (1932), Sonia Gandhi was born in 1946.  The other Prime Ministers were born in  1889, 1898, 1904, 1917, 1896, 1902, 1931, 1927, 1924, 1933 ). 

2.  Modi makes 3 claims about the elections (the first two here):

1. This election has proved that polls can be won in the country on the issue of development alone. This verdict is a verdict for development, to take India forward and to work hard to fulfill people's dreams.
2. This is the second election after the Emergency where people voted for an agenda, rather than going by caste and religion. This result is the answer to those who attacked me fiercely. They did hard work and so much of research to attack me, but finally they lost.
 3. (here) During the victory rally, Mr. Modi referred to people born after British rule ended in 1947, saying they never had the “opportunity” to die or to go to jail to fight colonialism. “We did not die for independence, but we will live for good governance.” “This is the first time people who were born in independent India have played a decisive role in the election,” Mr. Modi said.

The agenda for the elections after the Emergency was the restoration of civil liberties; and the agenda for this election is development.   The poll results seem to show splits in the votes of  Muslims, and various caste groups including Dalits. (Excuse me for the old terminology - the political set up in India since Independence has featured politicians exploiting these divides to create "vote banks".  The terminology and the "vote bank" phenomena should hopefully fade away.)

It also appears that the youth vote went for Modi in a big way.  We shall know more as the analyses roll in.

All in all, a truly historic election.

PS: Pankaj Misra is upset. As a BRF-er put it: "Delicious whine from Pankaj Mishra. Just count each word as a drop of tear and enjoy. Don't try to read it."

Modi's speech (Hindi) in Ahmedabad is on youtube:

A very good speech.

Modi talks about "su-raj" - good governance -- to be achieved now, decades after achieving "swaraj" - self governance. He says that this election has laid the foundation of modern India. He says that India has rendered the verdict that the solution to its problems is development; that the other parties had to talk about development too, even if only to criticize Modi and to be negative about Gujarat. The people have grasped that the development agenda is the only one that can save the country.

Modi says that from 1857 to 1947 so many people made sacrifices for the cause of Independence; the people supported the cause, but it did not turn into a revolution. Mahatma Gandhi's greatest contribution was to turn the cause of independence into a people's movement/revolution. Everything that people did - wearing khadi, educating women, sweeping the road, any public service, even little actions - came to be in the cause of independence. Not everyone had to face execution, go to jail or face the beatings of the British. It was very easy for the British to shoot the lone revolutionary, but what could they do about the person who was teaching fifty people in the classroom, and who says, I'm doing this because I want freedom? But after Independence, development became a government thing, and not a people's movement. People were disconnected from the development done in their name. If it was a people's movement, then people would not litter or drive on the wrong side of the road, because it would hinder development. But forget about the wasted time. Development has to be made into a people's movement.  The student who does well at school, the sweeper who does a good job, should feel it as a contribution to the nation's progress...then we need just 10 years to make the 21st century the Indian century. We have to take all one-and-quarter billion people of all persuasions on this journey.