If some has to understand how and why democracy strives you can look at the at Indian politics. All things said and done. This was an important election; the result of which we accept and rejoice. This can be seen considering the quantum of steep challenges that lay ahead. This also reinforces my faith in what I feel about trends in how democracies have yielded results over last 10 and more years in Indian states and general elections and results overall.
The for last 15-17 years, there were fragmented verdict given by the voters, not only in India but also in many if not most democracies in the world circa 1991 A.D. I did try and research a few things about that, but couldn’t be much successful. May be I a psephologists or number crunching people are to be consulted. All throughout the 1990s and first half of the decade, what we saw is hung assembly and hung parliament. The 14 Lok Sabha in 2004 was an example, so was the state government seen in Maharashtra for last 10 years or so. If you recall, when Bush was elected it was matter of few votes that were to determine Bush vs. Al Gore or Bush vs. Kerry. I think back to imagine Bush vs. Gore was tighter. In Indian states elections too there have been elections fought in which two or more different groups, and verdict is equally in favour of those, classical hung assemblies, not only in Maharashtra but also in Karnataka couple of elections ago, UP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Goa and many other states. The absolute majority or simple majority was a tough to get no matter what combination you would have selected.
The functional democracies that immediately come to my mind are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, US, UK, Russia, continental Europe (including Scandinavian countries), Japan, Australia, South Africa, Israel, Turkey, bigger countries of South Americas and Africas. I haven’t been able to get the details of how the voting and the verdict trend have been over the past two years. The coalition politics seems to have taken root and know seems to bearing a few sweet few sour fruits.
Even in these elections, if you consider Mulayam Singh, his brother Amar Singh if they extend support, to the Congress Led UPA alliance, we get simple majority. The two states which went to polls, namely Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh, have also been voted into simple majority. The four states which went to the poll earlier this year namely, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh also yielded definite majority so did the state of Kashmir. The election which we may come in future would also perhaps yield definite majority to one particular party/alliance.
The point I would like to emphasis is on the fact the slowly after 1990-1991 fall of Soviet Bloc, first few years many democracies, threw up hung assembly and many governments seem to be in the garb of coalition politics. India was no different. But what I can cay that in last two decades (nearly) we have grew from an economy which was left in tatters and were almost labeled defunct and defaulter, to where we are today, once of the countries not to be seemed to be affected by economic crises at least on the surface although inflation figures have plummeted, but Dr Man Mohan Singh has seen it all and perhaps turned almost cycle as third generation would be likely to be on the anvil provided negligent role Communist Parties and both the opposition and government, being pro-reforms. The man at the helm of affairs started it all and perhaps one of the few people along with Narsimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee who should be given credit for where we are today as a state, nation and democracy.
Why Narsimha Rao? It was the statesman, and the cunning politician who didn’t yield and gave Dr Man Mohan Singh enough advantage to formulate the stepwise reforms he wishes. Narsimha Rao always managed to quash terrorism in Punjab and to the extent North East and for once and all at least bought one of the state from tough hardships to what it is today. Why Atal Behari Vajpayee? Well simply because he continued after a phase of torrid uncertain times, managed a large coalition and continued to reform and disinvest. He also managed to boost India export credentials and almost cornered Pakistan in every way possible. Pakistan seem to be in trouble now, but thats there own doing, if you sow guns, you reap bullets and bombs.
Dr Singh happened to be in spotlight of history when it was time to sign Nuclear Dealer and multi billion-dollar deal that was made possible by a firm Prime Minister and now trouble companies of the US. The challenges that lie ahead include implementation of that deal, the rural employment the loan waiver. That was the government agenda. The terrorism and geo-political scenario need to be paid enough attention. The violence in Lanka, the uncertainty in Nepal and Pakistan. The hostile Bangladesh and the over balance Junta in Burma to name a few.
What I would like to see government on macro policies is to improve upon disinvest, with the present scenario the business acumen incurred in last twenty years, has passed all most all test, so disinvestment is one of the things. The second is rural education and rural health. Education and health would be the need of developing social infrastructure. India needs to spend there more on physical infrastructure as well. The one thing I am glad about it the way Government Institutions have adopted information technology and cyberspace. The electronic voting machines are one example. There were over 713 million people had the chance to exercise their voting rights a few fools didn’t but I am happy for the over all majority who did vote, for example in West Bengal, where Communist are now in the red and perhaps the sign of things to come. The next I would focus more public-private initiative for strengthening democracy. The various laws directly affecting the people like Police Laws which were formed more than 150 years ago. They haven’t changed over the years. The judges ought to be more accountable. Did you know it was compulsory for judges to declare the assets and properties? Also bring in more corporate accountability so that politicians don’t act as if vultures and poor shareholders don’t have to regret buying shares.
If you purely look at the result, The BJP led coalition lost a dozen seats to recede from 130+ to 121, perhaps they were expecting too much and fared badly against what should have been a positive result. Congress meanwhile, jumped to more than 200 seats, a position unknown to them for over 20 years. The messers Communists, Laloo Yadav and Paswan, Mayawati, Jayalalitha are left beleagured and perhaps no more antics for Laloo for next near future. The third front was in anyways not a distinct possibility. The leader of this particular front would think they are hard to please because no one tries to please them. I am particularly happy that Communists have been voted out, they perhaps cater to only themselves have done nothing for the country and in fact left us with very little to work out. I always have felt that they are one regional party not exactly representing aspirations of majority. I also wonder if there manifesto, is approves, deigned printed and shipped from the far off capital of a neighboring country.
There is however a small condition applies here. There are couple of more states like to go for voting and what I personally feel that the political parties know should wipe the slate clean and formulated and realize the situation on the ground.