Will 2014 Be a Watershed Year For India?

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With the 2014 general elections in mind, the political parties played their stellar role in aggravating the situation further with inaction and counter-productive measures just to score some brownie points. The resident UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government with the Congress Party as its lead player was found to be severely wanting. There was complete policy paralysis with the government not knowing how to deal with the worsening economic crisis and the opposition parties not allowing Parliament to function and stopping some key bills from being passed. Something similar to the US government shut down crisis in recent times. Everyone was trying to make a point at the expense of the common citizen.

Then the unthinkable happened. The last few months have seen the rise of a crusader and his band of merry men, who have managed to touch the right buttons with the people of this country and have emerged as a strong alternate force in the political arena. They started 3 years ago on the plank of anti-corruption and managed to immediately connect with the common man. The Aam Aadmi Party (translated – The Common Man’s Party) also known as AAP, has turned out to be the Goliath killer in the recent elections held in 4 key states, including Delhi which is not only the capital of India but also an independent city-state. Taking its first baby steps, the AAP decided to test the political waters with Delhi and came out a big winner, decimating the ruling Congress government which had won the last three elections and had been in power for the last 15 years and stealing the show from under the other big national player, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). AAP is now about to form the government the Delhi with ‘outside support’ from the Congress Party and BJP promising to play a constructive role as the opposition.

It will be interesting and at the same time amusing to see how these two national parties work with AAP, as some of the stated objectives in APP’s election manifesto include probing some scandals and scams that involve members of both these parties. These have either not been pursued or simply brushed under the carpet till now. This is going to prove to be highly uncomfortable for these parties and so the fun and games are about to start. It will also be AAP’s trial by fire as some of the promises on power tariff, minimum guarantees of water to each household in Delhi etc. are good on paper and for grandstanding, but quite tricky on delivery. But there seems to be some method to their madness, so need to wait and watch.

But the emergence of AAP is the single most significant development in 2013. It has kindled the imagination of the people who have been stressed all these years with corruption at all levels, nepotism, inflation, unavailable essential services … and the list goes on. The members of AAP are from among the common man and come with no prior political baggage. Their stated objective is to provide clean governance, ensuring the citizen gets his rightful due. In response, the people of Delhi have rewarded them with a huge mandate and their performance in the next 3-4 months will hopefully pave the way for them in the next general elections slated around May/June 2014.

If AAP can deliver, even partially, on their promises then there will be no stopping them from storming Parliament in 2014 and forming the new government.
The people of India would have given them the necessary mandate to deliver and the other political parties, national and regional, would try to toe the line as the writing is clearly on the wall. The recent Delhi elections have clearly shown that rhetoric and false promises are not going to win elections any more. People want accountability, development and good governance. In fact, some other states where state-level elections were held in 2013, the incumbent governments in at least 4 states have been voted back to power only because they delivered on most of these fronts and the states prospered.

This I believe will be the future of politics in India and one can only hope that it is here to stay. So, 2014 could really turn out to be the beginning of a new era in India. Let’s wait and watch and keep our fingers crossed.

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