The Elections in India

Starting from Monday 7th April, India will go for national elections with an unprecedented 814M voters, the world’s largest voting population.

The elections will be phased out over more than a month, and the results are expected to be announced on 16th May.

My considered guess is that, this time around, more voters would come out to vote, as they want a change to happen in the governance of the country. I won’t be surprised with an electorate turn-out of not less than 60%.

Further, the demographics of the voters has changed. There are more younger age voters this time, and they are frustrated, which is bad news for any incumbent government.

In this case, the news cannot be worse for the Indian National Congress and the alliance of parties who have governed India for the past 10 years. Apart from election challenges, they have been besieged by scandals and corruption charges. There have been so many scandals that it has become impossible to keep track of what is happening to each one of these scandals. Safety for women has been another major concern. A silent Prime Minister and a “withdrawing” Finance Minister are not helping the cause of the Congress Party at the hustings.

People are also getting rather tired of sycophancy, nepotism and dynastic politics.

All told, one should not be surprised with a total rout of the Congress. I would be surprised if they could eke out more than 120 seats.

While the main opposition party, the BJP, is no great shakes when it comes to ethics either – having been the subject of highly publicized corruption scandals in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh States – but it is better on the corruption index overall when compared to the Congress ! It is a sorry state of affairs that there is no “clean” party in India. The latest party, the AAP, or the Common Man’s Party, of Arvind Kejriwal, made a fool of itself after the short-lived Delhi governmental experience – they could not survive for not even 2 months !

Given the choices, I would not be surprised if BJP wins more than 210 seats, and stakes claim to form the next government with an unholy alliance of parties like what the Congress did.

So, I have to conclude that democracy and elections are no panacea for solving the development problems and ills of society. We have to survive democracy, and people pay off their elected representatives to get some things done for themselves which by right, they should get done for free in a democracy.

It will be interesting and highly amusing to see how the elections play out in the largest democracy in the world, and how the coalition government comes into power. Watch the fun !


Vijay Srinivasan
5th April 2014


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