Rooting For Nitish
In less than a month India will start voting. I have a horse in the race. The name is Nitish.
There are those who say if democracy is the superior form of government, how come China is the one doing better? To them I say, look at Nitish. For a landlocked, agricultural, flood prone, poorest Indian state to achieve a growth rate of 15% is nothing less than magical. And this has been growth that has touched Biharis in all income brackets, it has touched the Mahadalits, a term I believe coined by Nitish.
There are Biharis who don't even know Nitish is running for Prime Minister. And I don't blame them, because for the longest time Nitish kept saying he actually is not running for Prime Minister.
And then there are Biharis who like Nitish so much and are so excited about all that work he has done, all the roads and bridges he has built, all the law and order situation improvements he has brought about, all he has done in education and health, they like him and his work so much, they feel should Nitish become Prime Minister of the country then Bihar will go back to its pre-Nitish days.
That is misplaced, erroneous thinking. Think this way. Whatever Nitish has done for Bihar so far he has done by riding around on a bicycle. How much more could he do for Bihar if he could ride around on a motorbike? That is what Nitish becoming Prime Minister would be like for Bihar. It would be a good thing.
If you are happy with what Nitish has done for Bihar, but you are dissatisfied, and you want much more than what you have then the only option is to make him Prime Minister, and you do that by giving all of Bihar's 40 seats to Nitish. That is the best way to make him Prime Minister of the country.
As Prime Minister of India he can do at least five times more for Bihar than what he has been able to do so far. He might even be able to take Bihar's growth rate to 20%. This Bihari Babu will not forget Bihar in Delhi. Quite the opposite. As Prime Minister he will make Bihar the foundation for everything he does for the rest of India, and he will do much for India.
India needs Nitish if it wants to go past China.
I see layers of support for Nitish. First of all, he will go past 25 seats in Bihar, he might even go past 30. That will form his nucleus. His first layer of support will come from the Janata Parivar. These would be people like Mulayam, Deve Gowda and Patnaik. The next layer will be the Third Front leaders like Jayalalita and the Left parties. The next layer will be leaders like Mamata and Mayawati. At this point he should have hit 180 seats. I see Congress and its allies getting about 100 seats. Don’t for a moment think they are even considering supporting Modi. That is out of question. The anathema is total. I see Rahul as Deputy Prime Minister. Laloo might even get Railways all over again. That is 280 seats. The Aam Aadmi Party might get 20 seats. That will go Nitish’ way. I have never heard Kejriwal speak one bad word about Nitish. Others might number around 25. So you are looking at a tally of 325 for Nitish. For the first time a non-Congress, non-BJP government will last five years. Nitish will put India on a path to 30 years of double digit growth rates. A two trillion economy growing at 10% every year will double every seven years, and will have become a 60 trillion economy by 2050. Nitish could be Prime Minister for 10 years.
I see the BJP and its allies clocking 200 seats. Others might get a further 20 and choose to stay in the Opposition. So 325 for Nitish and 220 against. I see Sushma as Opposition Leader. Modi will go back to Gujrat.
Deng Xiaoping put China on a path for impressive growth rates around 1980. That push lasted 30 years and is still going strong. 2014 is India’s 1980.
I have a feeling Nitish will also bring about dramatic breakthroughs like a normalization of relations with Pakistan. India and Pakistan should be what Nepal and India are. That is what is best for both the peoples.
It would make sense for all parties supporting Nitish to form some sort of a federation in Delhi. They would continue to be independent parties, sometimes competing with each other at the state level. But in Delhi each party would send one representative to sit on something like a Coordination Committee that would meet monthly to make sure the coalition stays strong and vibrant. It be noted that World War I started for some pretty stupid reasons. You can’t let misunderstandings to go out of hand. Communication helps.
Bihar is hungry for energy. Uttar Pradesh is hungry for energy. All of India is hungry for energy. Nepal is hungry for energy. The Yellow River used to be known as the sorrow of China. It has been turned into a boon. Kosi is the sorrow of Bihar. India and Nepal should cooperate in ways that Nepal’s full hydro potential can be harnessed. An India growing at double digit rates is an India whose energy needs are met, an India where there is 24/7 electricity in every town, every village, every city.
Gandhi inspired generations of politicians in Nepal. Now the inspiration has to be Nitish. Development is the sole agenda of politicians in all political parties in Nepal. That message has to go across. Nitishism is the new in thing. It is the answer to South Asia’s challenges.
I am confident Nitish will ascend to the helm. He is the most deserving. The numbers look to be in his favor.
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BJP 217, Congress 73, Others 253: Bloomberg News
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