Pawar’s Prognosis

india kerala boat people
india kerala boat people (Photo credit: FriskoDude)
mamata neemuch
mamata neemuch (Photo credit: dr.dayaram aalok)
English: Young woman from Tamil Nadu near Maha...
English: Young woman from Tamil Nadu near Mahabalipuram, India Français : Jeune femme du Tamil Nadu près de Mahâballipuram, Inde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Nitish Kumar
English: Nitish Kumar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sharad Pawar, who has had a front seat to Indian politics for half a century now and was at one point touted as a prime ministerial candidate, said something interesting recently. He said the BJP will emerge the largest party, but it will not get a majority even with its allies tagging along. He said the key to 2014 was with the magic six: Mamata, Naveen, Mulayam, Mayawati, Nitish and Jayalalita.

When the BJP stands at around 100, the Congress stands at around 200 seats. And then they switch. That has gone on a few times now. Which means the non-Congress, non-BJP parties have a solid hold on about 245 seats. They together are almost as big as the Congress and the BJP put together. If the BJP moves from around 100 seats to 200 seats, it should be called a pendulum swing, not a wave. A wave would be if the BJP hit something like 250 seats. Not even BJP-paid pollsters are predicting anything like that.

Modi might have peaked before a single vote has been cast. And it is downhill for him now on.

I think of India as an European Union that is actually working. It is such a large country. You put America, Europe and Africa together, and you get India. One big reason I love New York City is because it is crowded and it reminds me of India. Although India is more crowded pretty much everywhere. American cities come across as ghost towns by comparison.

It is hard to create a national wave in a country the size of India. Data analysis shows “India’s national elections may not be national in its true sense but merely a series of state elections held simultaneously to elect a central government…… even during large national waves such as anti-Emergency, Indira Gandhi sympathy or Bofors scandal, the southern states and West Bengal voted as per local trends, throwing up local winners or contradicting national trends. During the height of the 1977 anti-Congress wave, of the 12 largest states, the Congress won five — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala. States like Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal, which account for 32 per cent (171) of all LS seats, seem completely immune to any national sentiment and vote as almost separate nations in themselves.”

Let’s throw in a few numbers. Let’s put Mamata at 30 seats, Naveen at 20, Mulayam 25, Mayawati 25, Nitish 25, and Jayalalita 20. It has to be noted the three gentlemen belong to the Janata Parivar, and might form a core. That core of 70 seats might form the nucleus that might catapult someone like Nitish, and the three ladies might envelope those 70 with their own 75, or alternately the three ladies might come together first and that might catapult someone like Mamata. These magic six with their 150 seats might bring in Rahul as Deputy Prime Minister to rope in 100 seats the Congress might get. That is 250. My projection puts another 75 seats into that kitty. And you are looking at Sushma Swaraj as Opposition Leader, thank you Mr. Modi for crisscrossing the country on her behalf.

Nitish has been the top performing politician in India for years now. Gujrat was already the leading Indian state before Modi ever came along. As the top performing Chief Minister Nitish deserves to be Prime Minister. And the people of Bihar should not worry. His being Chief Minister has been like he has been riding around on a bicycle. He becomes Prime Minister and he will be riding around on a motorbike. Imagine how much more he could do for Bihar as Prime Minister.

For a landlocked, agricultural, poorest state like Bihar to clock a 15% growth rate is nothing sort of magical. All of India deserves what the people of Bihar have had. And that is Nitish and his magic.

India is a two trillion dollar economy today. If it grows at 10% every year until 2050, it will have become a 60 trillion dollar economy by 2050. 2014 is a watershed year. It is like 1980 was for China. India has finally arrived. And it could do double digit growth rates for the next 30 years and more.

It is not like Nitish is not a proud Hindu. He is building the largest Hindu temple in the world in Bihar. But being a proud Hindu does not mean you negate the plight of the Muslims in India. There are more Muslims in India than there are British in Britain, than there are French in France, than there are Germans in Germany.

If India can outdo America on free speech, on diversity, it can hope to outdo America as an economy, and that is the way to becoming a global superpower. The key to the spread of democracy across the Islamic world lies right there in India. America could not export democracy, but India could inspire it. Hindus and Muslims living peace and prosperity in India is key to that essential spread of democracy. Getting along is good domestic policy, it is also good foreign policy.

Like a young Muslim voter in Bihar said recently about Nitish: “He has set his tail on fire for us, now wait and watch him burn Lanka down.”
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