‘Better Days Ahead’

Sudip Bhattacharyya

Modi carries with himself Gujrat record of good administration in all respects. After assuming office at the center, he has made a mark in external relations with efforts culminating in Food Security agreement between India and USA for WTO and release of 5 Tamil fishermen from Sri Lanka. Internally, decision making expedited. Austerity in operational expenditure implemented. Financial inclusion vastly increased, inflation subsided from 11.2% to 6.4% in one year and industrial output expanded; Coal ordinance, GSP and Insurance bill on the way. Now the council of Ministers of the Central Govt has been expanded and strengthened with induction of 21 new ministers. So ‘a good and strong administration’, loyal to Modi, is assured at the Center and there is an air of optimism in the corporate world.

Congress was decimated primarily because of its deep involvement in corruption. People now want clean individuals at the helrn of affairs. In such a situation have emerged Modi, Mamata, Navin and Kejriwal.

But India has large landmass and populace. Moreover, law and order, land acquisition, urban infrastructure and power distribution are left to the states' control. It therefore needs good and strong leadership and administration at the states too, particularly the non-BJP ones. Modi also will have to carry the states along and a federal approach here would be required. It is therefore time for introspection and cooperation among the Slates and the Center.

On April 4, 2014, this writer wrote in Millennium Post in 'Better days ahead for the nation' as follows: 'Other certainty is that the nation will, have better days because Indian politics will be dominated by Modi, Mamata, Jaylolita, Navin and Kejriwal who all are good administrators.' Much water has flown down the Ganges since then. Kejriwal resigned from CMship and later, with his party, lost in parliamentary elections; Jaylolita sent to jail and consequently lost her CMship. However Mamata and Patnaik are holding on to power despite sustained onslaught from BJP and for the former, CBI proceedings in Sarada scam. Also, both are likely to win next election, albeit with reduced majority.

Last but not least assembly election is imminent in Delhi. ABP Nielsen puts BJP ahead in Delhi. However, in retrospect, it is seen that many good things for poor and middle class happened during AAP rule in Delhi. So their comeback here can't be totally discounted. Kejriwal is now much mellowed and seems to have learnt his lesson. His recent utterances indicate his willingness to cooperate. His second innings, if it comes is likely to be effective and beneficial for Delhi state.

In Tamilnadu, it will be AIADMK only with or without Jaylolita. The latter possibility materialising only if the Court exonerates her and She will then be more cooperative.

Bihar and UP will go for election in 2015 and 2017 respectively. The ruling parties are on the defensive and it is high time for them to focus on development in their region with cooperation of the Center. Congress states, of course, have little choice but to fall in line.

In Bengal and Odisha and also northeastern states , BJP is gaining ground. It would be prudent for the ruling parties therefore to at least avoid confrontation and work jointly for development. During the last parliamentary election campaign, Modi had openly offered this to Mamata and such offer to other aforesaid states is very likely.

Vol. 47, No. 27, Jan 11 - 17, 2015