Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A week and a different (?) world.

They say a week is like a life-time in politics.

It certainly feels like it in some ways.

On the 16th of May the counting of the votes of our gargantuan national election finally were counted. In the days leading up to this verdict day the press was in a tizzy predicting all manner of scenarios. The regional and caste-based parties who had been the king-makers in the last number of elections were flexing their muscles (and sound-bites). The big two - the Indian National Congress - and the Bharatiya Janata Party - seemed locked in a struggle of attrition. Every one thought it would be an indecisive and 'hung' parliament.

The picture above - taken from the Indian Express front page of May 12th expressed the national mood (or at least the media mood) elegantly: May 16th would reveal who has the 'kursi' - the proverbial chair of power that all seemed to be hankering for.

Well we all had quite a surprise when the results were announced. Who would have thought that the Congress would get more than 200 seats. That Dr. Manmohan Singh would be the first Prime Minister to be re-elected for a 5 year term since 1957. That the Congress would sweep both Mumbai (6/6) and Delhi (7/7). There are so many fascinating sub-stories to all of this - but lets just put it this way. None of us thought we would see such a clear mandate. We were surprised in 2004 when the "India Shining" of the BJP did not shine so brightly after all - and here we are surprised again. A lot of prayers went up regarding these elections - but how much faith in the outcomes? Perhaps our Lord wanted to surprise us, his dear doubting-while-praying children.

The sobering fact is that governance is and will never be easy. We have seen the better choice of some pretty unsavoury choices - and are glad. But the victors are hardly folks who smell of roses all around. We have much more praying to do for our dear land.

The market likes what it smells though - with no more pesky marxists around (real ones - not like the American name-calling that goes on) - the decks seem cleared for some genuine reforms.

A week has passed. Will we see changes that last longer than the euphoria of election results?

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