India politics

Even before the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) published its election manifesto and before India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, set out his plans for the country, there was something different about the winning campaign.

The 63 year-old candidate revolutionised electioneering in India which, until then, had relied on billboards, handouts and door-to-door appeals. Suddenly, a leading politician was active on social media, reaching out to the diaspora through Google Hangout sessions and reaching the far corners of the country with video links and holograms (pictured). Now, Modi plans to change his administration in much the same way. Continue reading »

It seems everyone is optimistic about India as Narendra Modi, the new prime minister, takes charge.

His track recored as chief minister of Gujarat suggested the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader will usher in a new era of economic growth in India – but also sparked fears that he would be reluctant to share power with high-profile senior ministers. His choice of cabinet sheds some light on his leadership style.

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By Ajay Chhibber, Director General, Independent Evaluation, Government of India

The world’s largest exercise in electoral democracy has delivered a clear mandate for development. The aspiring voters want decent jobs and a growing India. They have pinned their hopes on a Modi-led government to deliver them the kind of India where real jobs are created and services are delivered cleanly and efficiently. They want better governance not bigger government. They want a hand up, not a handout. They want India to become a US$10tn global powerhouse.

The UPA government was given such a mandate in 2009, but misread the message and blew away five years into more handouts, large fiscal deficits, raging inflation and eventually a slumping economy. Instead of creating real jobs, it focused on make work through badly run schemes like MGNREGA (The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) which have cost the country over Rs 1tn so far. It saw expanded subsidy programs costing almost 4 per cent of GDP – but with not much of it going to the poor. Continue reading »

Who do India’s social media masses want to see in Narendra Modi’s new cabinet?

Simplify360º, a media monitoring organisation, analysed several thousands Tweets with the hashtag #DreamCabinet, posted from results day on May 16 through to May 19, to give a straw poll of internet users’ preferred cabinet line-up.

Modi, prime minister-elect following the landslide election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is set to be sworn in with his cabinet in at an oath-taking ceremony on May 26 – putting considerable time pressure on Modi. Continue reading »

By Srivatsa Krishna

There is enormous speculation about the complexion of the economic regime of Narendra Modi now that he has been elected prime minister of India. His policies are an unknown-unknown. Separating signal from noise, one can change this, if not to a known-known at least to a known-unknown.

The clues can be found in two broad streams of evidence, namely Modi’s own record of 12 years in Gujarat and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when it was in power nationally.

Modi’s biggest strength is that he is an economic pragmatist who has excelled in “getting things done”. He is known to bang heads together and de-bottleneck issues quickly, rather than wait for sequential decision-making, which is what most governments do. Continue reading »

By Derek Scissors, American Enterprise Institute

The Indian election is over. Does this mean Indian economic reform will restart?

There is no point expecting India to adopt an ideal economic reform program. The country is still full of quasi-socialists and has not made up its mind what it wants, much less how to achieve it. Nonetheless, the election offers a genuine opportunity to initiate high and sustained income growth. Continue reading »

By Amitabh Dubey, Director of India Research, Trusted Sources

Equity and currency markets seem to have priced in a strong Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government, and could no doubt rally further if the BJP alliance crosses the majority mark of 272 when votes are counted on 16 May. The logic is clear: a stable coalition would be much better able to coordinate disparate ministries, slash red tape and reduce the fiscal deficit than one reliant on regional satraps with minds of their own.

Let us assume that a strong Narendra Modi-led government does emerge. This would raise already high expectations of a solid reform agenda that accelerates investment while inhibiting crony capitalism. Recall that the Congress Party (CP)-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was reelected with much fanfare in 2009, but was derailed by revelations of crony capitalism and state capture. Continue reading »

By Siddharth Mazumdar, Citizens for Accountable Governance (which campaigned for Modi)

It has long been assumed that Indian parliamentary elections are not national elections but rather an aggregation of 28 provincial polls. Given the country’s complexity, it has been argued, voters rarely vote on national topics and very few leaders can achieve a pan-Indian presence.

But campaigning for India’s 16th general election appears to show the underpinnings of a truly “national election”. Much of the credit for this should go to Narendra Modi, the opposition prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who in many ways set the agenda and the tone for the 2014 polls.

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With Narendra Modi storming ahead according to Monday’s exit polls, Victor Mallet takes a look at the team behind his impressive election campaign.

Meanwhile, India is beginning to look forward to the post-election period and the troubled banking sector seems to be at the top of the agenda. Continue reading »

By Prasenjit Basu,

The OECD has cut its global growth forecast for 2014 because of the persistent sluggishness of emerging economies. With China on the brink of a financial crisis, the world needs a new global growth pole.

The world’s largest democracy is ready at last to step into the breach. Nine months ago, pundits were predicting a hung parliament, with a feeble Congress party facing a congeries of opponents unable to unite behind a theme or leader. In retrospect, the BJP’s choice of a Thatcherite leader at a time of 1970s-style stagflation now seems inspired. Continue reading »

A general election in India is a busy time for the media, it’s a busy time for the gambling industry – and it’s also a busy time for the private aviation market, as would-be leaders scurry across the vast nation hoping to win over voters.

This year, electioneering has focused on corruption and good governance but it seems this hasn’t stopped politicians from borrowing jets from friends to cover the campaign trail. Continue reading »

The rise of regional parties remains one of the great trends of modern Indian politics. This election was meant to be no different. Until relatively recently, most analysts thought opposition leader Narendra Modi would struggle to form a government without roping in a plethora of regional barons from smaller parties.

Monday’s exit polls now make such a scenario seem rather less likely, given most projections show that Modi may be able to form a government with only his pre-election allies for support. Yet the polls also reveal an oddly contradictory picture about the performance of India’s “others”, who appear to be winning and losing electoral ground at the same time. Continue reading »

By Shruti Kapila

The biggest and what feels like the longest election season on the planet ends on Friday in India. If Narendra Modi wins this weekend then he will have bucked at least one trend: since the start of the millennium, financial markets, the media and the opinion polls have called the elections wrong.

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After exit polls came out last night, supporting the view that Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will come out on top when results are announced on Friday, the stock markets rallied on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, we crunch a few numbers, mull over the variety of predictions and question just how strong a coalition we can expectContinue reading »