How Indian politics changed in past 6 months

Politics in India is like a Theatre play where lots of changes happen in real time – there is of course a script but it reaches a point where these minor shifts in direction makes the original script irrelevant.

I personally feel the there are a specific set of events that define how the next 5 or 10 or even 15 years will be played out in the political arena. Below are the 3 key events I’m referring to; and in this blog post, I would like to talk more about the third one since it belongs to the current day and time.

  • 1988 To 1992 – This is where the politics of Mandal / Masjid / Kashmir were exploited by nearly all political parties and became a focal area of debate/policy making for the next decade. Multiple governments came into power in New Delhi but they were merely working around these 3 core issues
  • 1998 To 2000 – This is another key period for the politics of this country since AB Vajpayee demonstrated how a properly structure coalition (NDA) can be created and sustained over longer periods. UPA that came into power later merely followed this template
  • 2013 Dec To 2014 May -This is the period I will be talking more since we all belong to this era

What exactly happened in the past 6 months?

It is actually an interesting question. Reason being, it showed us how a new political outfit can gain prominence but can get everything wrong within no time, how the packaging of promises can be translated into massive electoral gains and why protestors need to change if they want to be successful administrators.

Rise and fall of the AK 49

Arvind Kejriwal had a time of his life – till mid-December 2013. He was the face of RTI movement in India; he was the man behind Anna Hazare’s anit-corruption movements and he was the superstar that created a political party. AAP opened to a blockbuster welcome at the Delhi political theatre. AK had everything he ever wanted – he could have changed the destiny of Delhi and we all wish he did that. But, he got carried away and started thinking every problem in the world can be solved by one act – an agitation. It is one thing to gain political prominence with agitations that capture people’s imagination but completely different thing to convince the same people that he prefers to agitate even though he has the authority to legislate. Sorry sir, don’t think your countrymen are fools. As they say in private sector jobs – you perform or perish – there is no middle path.

But there is an enormous positive message from AAP to everyone Indian – it is possible to launch a political party and come to power – without relying on caste, money, region or religion.

Rise and rise of NaMo

When we talk about Narendra Modi, it should be remembered that multiple factors contributed to his successful electoral campaign.

  • A massive PR exercise – probably the most successful product ever marketed in the history of this nation
  • A credible history of delivering stuff as an able administrator
  • A government that was already in complete disarray
  • Very effective election management by BJP CMs and some key state representatives

A welcome take away from NaMo success is that 2 things are still possible in the country (that we all thought ended 30 years back):

  1. You don’t need presence in all states of this country to actually make it PM chair
  2. It is definitely possible to form single party governments

Telangana state and where this all is heading towards

It is very clear how Congress party mishandled the entire Telangana protests ever since they erupted in 2009. They kept hitting one self goal after the other and eventually ended up giving the entire state and Lok Sabha seats to 3 regional parties – TDP, YSR and TRS.

TRS is again in a situation that AAP was in 2013 Dec. TRS is like an amalgamation of 3 failed political ventures of this country : AAP + SP + JMM.

  • They are like AAP because they got into power only because of their protesting skills and not of able administration. Now that they are in power, they will try to administer for few months. But the going will get tough since managing power, water, roads, law/order and naxalites is not going to be easy. They will then resort to AAP’s mistake of protesting even when they could legislate and thus will lose peoples confidence
  • They are like SP because the entire KCR family is occupying political posts (just like the Yadav clan). This concentration of power under one family will drive away able leaders from the party unit
  • They are like JMM as the party will lose a huge ideology that helped them connect with people once a new state is born. TRS has to find new ways and reasons to keep their electorate interested in them. Otherwise they will implode the way JMM did.

TRS story (part of which is yet to unfold) also tells us that no matter how much things change, they tend to remain the same. Political parties often find it hard to learn from past mistakes of other parties.



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