Thursday, May 13, 2004
Something very urgent needs to be done. This is a perilous situation.


The Congress-led Government that is now almost certain to holds the reins of India's destiny, will be hopelessly hamstrung by the Jurassic Park ideology of an emboldened Left that has secured more seats in Parliament than ever before. The anti-NDA grouping that will now adorn the corridors of the South and North Block would be tempted to jettison many of the progressive measures of the outgoing Government and submit to the fatal embrace of populism in the mistaken belief that Mr Vajpayee has been voted out because India is whining, not shining.

Much will be said in the coming days about the "maturity" of the Indian voter, his irreverence and his uncanny ability to teach his rulers a lesson. But analysed dispassionately, not much evidence of his proverbial maturity would be detected from this verdict. It is clear that voters react collectively only when there is an emotive issue before them, be it "Garibi Hatao" or Ram Mandir or Kargil. At other times, they divide into disparate blocks with local concerns overtaking the national. Nothing else, for example, explains the NDA's rout in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where electors, unhappy with Ms Jayalalithaa's high-handed actions, and disenchanted with the gap between Mr N Chandrababu Naidu's promises and performance, voted as if they were totally ignorant of national issues.

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