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I am personally disappointed in the worlds largest democratic exercise as the results were not as I had hoped it would be. PM Modi has brought India to a place where world leaders and businessmen want to do business with India. The India alliance was just a stitched up and not very cohesive entity that’s only goal was to defeat PM Modi and the BJP. 

The voters were divided by castes and communities and the BJP selling its achievements, on all the massive development projects from roads, trains to ports did not seem to matter. From electricity for all, and toilets and brick and mortar homes for the poor and cooking gas for the poor, it seems even this was not not enough. They also had introduced a health card where any poor family would get five lakh rupees worth of treatment free of cost. Plus due to Covid, 800 million families were getting up to 15 kgs of rice and wheat free according to the family size.

So why did the INDIA alliance do so well, even though the BJP has won a third term? It was the Congress mandate to have a caste census and get more people to avail of reservations in schools, colleges and government jobs. Not because of merit but because they should be given it.

Then there was wealth distribution from the rich to the poor – a Robin Hood- kind of scheme that would have hurt even the middle class. Then there were freebies offered from ₹8000 handout to women in Karnataka and much more money to go to farmers who in any case don’t pay taxes.

The fact that Uttar Pradesh, where crime and Mafia killings was rampant and girls were accosted even in school and Yogi Adityanath’s strict policing brought all this down, was not appreciated, was a shock to me. CM Yogi opened up UP to big businesses and jobs for the jobless. He made UP a safe state with accountability by the police and his administration, he handled Covid brilliantly, and yet he did not get the mandate he should have for great performance.

Perhaps caste and minority communities paid a role in getting the Samajwadi Party and Congress elected. It seems the voters had forgotten what it was like to live in the badlands of UP. One can only hope and pray that a state of over 200 million people won’t descend into the chaos and backwardness it was in just a few short years ago. 

I always say memories are short and the voter wants more, apart from great infrastructure, free rations, free health card, electricity, cooking gas, toilets and homes, it seems they want more freebies or perhaps government jobs. But there aren’t so many government jobs going around, and freebies come at a cost. The only way was to get manufacturing jobs and industry into the state and that does not happen overnight but CM Yogi was working on it. Ayodhya created millions of jobs from hotels to drivers to shopkeepers. An international airport would have added to it, yet even this was not a winnable exercise it seems.

It remains to be seen what the INDIA Alliance will get for the voters. But I foresee a difficult period for India even with an overall win for the BJP. There will be problems in the Lok Sabha to get good bills passed. Even though I think an opposition is good for a democracy, the Congress in the past have created an uproar for even items they had in their own agenda, only because the Centre wanted to pass it as a bill. This can be highly destructive and stymie growth.

A Pakistani economist who had seen both the BJP manifesto and the Congress manifesto said in an interview- the BJP manifesto looked forward and the Congress Manifesto looked backward.

I can only hope this will change for the future of our country.



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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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