Paradigm shift in Indian politics?

  • Arun Jaitley says the shift has taken place in last elections
  • Says there was not a whimper of protest against the ordinances
  • Reforms in coal mining, land acquisition were welcomed, says FM
  • Modi did a Thatcher with little difficulty

(K Kaushik)

New Delhi, January 18: There has been a paradigm shift in Indian politics in recent years, according to Union Finance & Information Minister Arun Jaitley. Speaking at a function organized by TV news channel CNN-IBN on Saturday, Arun Jaitley said the old ideas of political family succession, caste and region did not influence the outcome of the elections in May 2014. He said the people of India have, for the first time, started factoring economic development into their electoral decision.

Is it real or a figment of FM’s imagination? Or is it wishful thinking? Is it true that the economic policies were central to the decision of the people of India to vote for the BJP led by Narendra Modi? Or was it on account of anger against the UPA-II that they cast their votes desperately for Modi. The people may have voted for Modi, even enthusiastically and positively, but not necessarity for Modinomics, as Jaitley seems to be interpreting.

Arun jaitley pointed out that when the Iron Lady of England Margaret Thatcher introduced reforms in coal mines there was a strike in the coal mines for more than two and half years. When Narendra Modi government got an ordinance issued introducing reforms in coal policy, there was hardly any protest. This shows the people in India have come to realise that economic reforms are necessary and wealth has to be produced at any cost, Jaitley explained.

It is true that there was not much of a protest in the country in the wake of the controversial ordinances. But it does not mean there was no opposition or anger. It only means that the Left parties and the Congress party are yet to recover from the blow they received in the recent general election and organize themselves. It is also true that the Modi government is going through the honeymoon period and it is too early to launch mass demonstrations.  There has been a lot of debate on the amendments to the Land Acquistion Act 2013 which were sought to be affected through an ordinance by President Pranab Mukherjee. It is said that the president asked fiancé minister about the urgency in signing the ordinances and Jaitley advised the president that the matter was very urgent and could not brook any delay. He is said to have explained to the president that many proposals to establish industries are put on hold because of the difficulty on account of the Act in acquiring land from the farmers.

There was a very interesting debate in NDTV and The Headlines Today in which ativists like Medha Patkar participated. The ordinance is described as anti-farmer and pro-industry. Taking into consideration the fact that the farmers comprise more than fifty percent of population in the country, Jaetley’s optimism appears to be misplaced. It may be a fact that the farmers are not organized. It is not a fact that the ordinance was accepted by the farmers or welcomed by them as Jaitley appears to be suggesting. Even if the farmers are not organized, they would give vent to their anger when the time to vote comes next.

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