Atanu Dey On India's Development

What I Learned from the Survey of Political Sentiments

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The “Survey of Popular Political Sentiments” was interesting in it gave support to what I suspected. In this post, I attempt to summarize the main findings. But first, a great big thank you to all who retweeted the announcement of the survey and those who took the time to respond to the survey. I appreciate your help sincerely.

I am under no illusion about the sampling bias in this survey. People who follow this blog and my twitter feed are likely to be largely in agreement with my worldview. It should not come as a surprise if most them respond similarly to how I respond to the political situation in India. So why do this survey in the first place? Is this just a vanity survey and serves no real purpose?

What the survey did for me is to give me reassurance and hope at a time when I am on the verge of giving up all hope for India’s future. Granted the sample size is small — only about 220 responses so far — but still it suggests the possibility that among the educated, connected, middle-class English-speaking population, there is at least a (possibly small) set of people who can help steer the country in away from the poverty of socialism and towards a market-liberal order.

{I qualify “English-speaking” as a qualifier above not because I think that they are more important than non-English speakers but because this is a English language blog and the survey was done in English. The results can be easily extrapolated for the segments excluded by the language barrier.}

The summary results are:

1. Over 80 percent “somewhat support” or “strongly support” the BJP.

Among the reasons cited for the support vary a bit but the central tendency is more of a disgust with the Congress than any great liking for the BJP.

Here are a few:

Congress has ruined the nation more than what the colonial Brits did. After all Congress is a party that began during colonial Brit rule. The very idea of divide and rule is as much evident as was then pre-independence thanks to Congress parties greed to remain in power as long as possible, using any means.

. . .

Congress is a douchebag party full of criminals. Above all it’s a socialist party! And there is no place even in the worst of hells for India if it doesn’t rid itself of socialism! The BJP is not a paragon of economic freedom either, but the Congress is also virulently anti-majority!

. . .

Can never vote for a party that does not care for the nation or its people. BJP though not close to ideal is the best bet that we have. But LKA is projected as PM as a protest I might vote for JP Loksatta which always has good candidates(though they never win)

. . .

I used to be a strong supporter of BJP, but in the last 4-5 years, their utter lack of direction, energy spent in stalling parliament rather than any creative contributions and total lack of effort in defining agenda has put me off. Still lesser of 2 evils, the contributions of the NDA govt are many, but unrecognised.

. . .

Strongly oppose the Congress party because in its present form, it is against all of India’s national interests and objectives. Support the BJP (not strongly support) as it is a better and viable alternative to the Congress. Will strongly support the BJP after they unequivocally announce Narendra Modi as their prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections.

2. What would cause you to change your support between the Congress and the BJP?

About 30 percent of the respondents chose to skip this question. Perhaps because it is poorly framed, and redundant.

Some responses:

I will oppose BJP if they follow Congress policies like dynastic policies and practise Congress brand of Secularism which is appeasing select religion/ caste groups , Or if start practising crony capitalism or if they put party ahead of country

. . .

Will oppose BJP if they betray public of what they promised.

. . .

if Narendra Modi were to leave BJP AND Sonia Gandhi were to leave Congress.

. . .

If BJP chooses to project LKA or Sushma as their PM, I will be as confused voter as LKA/Sushma itself. Another factor is if Congress takes action against Sonia/Raul/Vadra for coruption, I will definitely vote for Congress.

. . .

I would support the Congress party if there is a new crop of pro-India, and credible leadership team with a track record and clear ideas on how to take India forward. There is really no alternative to supporting the BJP in the next general elections, as supporting the Congress once more would seriously jeopardize this and the next generation’s future.

. . .

A party that is controlled by a foreigner will never have my support. The loyalty to India of anyone who supports such parties must be suspect. That being said if congress throws out the gandhi nehru family and is reborn then it has a chance…but I’m not holding my breath for that to happen. On the other hand with BJP becoming another congress, I’ll look for other alternatives

3. Support for Modi in case the BJP/NDA comes to power?

Overwhelmingly people supported a Modi-led BJP government. Only around 7 percent chose “I wish a BJP govt but not led by Modi.” Practically no one wanted a Congress government.

The comments are quite varied but the central tendency is one of praise for Modi as a person of integrity and as an administrator.

Question 4 was about participation in the election process.

Over 60 percent reported that they will vote and persuade others to vote; around 17 percent said that they will vote as they usually do; and 12 percent said that unlike before, they will vote this time around.

Anyhow, I am guessing that this time around, participation in voting will go up — especially among the middle-class.

For us who are hoping to bring about regime change in India, the challenge is to channel the middle-class disgust against the Congress to actual votes against the UPA. To meet that challenge, we are working on informing the people that the Congress is actually destroying India steadily and surely.

Here are a few responses:

I will vote in the next general elections because there is no excuse for middle class apathy any more. The only reason why I do not vote regularly is because my home town is Chennai, and I have lived and worked in different Indian cities over the last 7 years. I wish there were a way in which I could vote even though my permanent and present address are different.
. . .

I only blame my political illiteracy for not being an active Voter. This time I am actually flying to India ONLY to vote the congi motherfuckers out and if need be beat the shit out of people who have been traditional congress voters
. . .

I will vote because I realize the complexity of electoral process and the importance of signals. A slow but steady rise in the voting of the enlightened middle class will make the politicians listen. The trick is to be significant as a voting bloc and, therefore, the need to persuade others to vote.
. . .

Because the country is going to the dogs (economically as well as geographically, look at how China is bullying India) under the UPA regime and if we do not bring in a strong administrator like MODI this time, then we are doomed. I believe this UPA government has lost at least one decade for India, it is a wasted generation! This time I will exercise my franchise and kick this government out

One comment to that question was, “I will vote if NaMo is the PM candidate. Otherwise may not. There is no difference between BJP & CongI without NaMo as the leader.” It would be really interesting to poll the general population and see how they feel about voting for a NM-led BJP as opposed to a BJP led by someone else. The BJP should do this survey. (But from what little I know about the BJP, I guess it will not be done.)

Question 5 dealt with the matter of financially supporting a political party.

About a third of the people say that they will contribute time and money.

What this tells me is that we generally think that “it is not my job.” This is part of the thinking which arises from a lack of a sense of responsibility. Generally, we Indians think that the government should take care of this or that. Which is at the root of many of our troubles. But that is a different rant and I will not go into it here.

Question 6 was about Sonia Gandhi.

No surprise that nearly 90 percent responded that she is either “extremely bad” or “quite bad” for India.

Naturally, I think that she’s extremely bad for India. I would hesitate to claim that she’s an extremely bad person. For all I know, she’s just a run-of-the-mill bad person in the sense that where she finds the opportunity to make huge amounts of money, she will take it. She did not demand the position that she presently occupies — in fact, that position cannot be demanded. She was thrust into it by a significant (but not majority) of Indian voters. They are to blame for Sonia Gandhi’s rape of the nation. Her power to destroy is inherited from the people. She was not born powerful, although she perhaps does not have any moral compunctions about stealing from the abjectly poor.

Nearly everyone responded to the question. Most of the comments on her are not pretty. She is at least in these circles roundly despised and in my opinion, correctly so.

Question 7 was about Modi and the reasons for liking or disliking him.

A resounding 85 percent “liked Modi” or were “absolute huge fans.” Amazing support for a man whom the main stream media loves to hate.

To the matter of “what would change your mind about Modi?”, one person wrote:

Right now he has been delivering the goods like no one has done in India in many decades. So he has my absolute support! I would like him to continue in this path of development and embrace economic theories of champions of freedom like Adam Smith and Hayek as far as possible, tailored to Indian conditions! I believe that is the way for the uplift of the common man. If he strays too much from this path, I’ll lose a little of my enthusiasm!

Question 8 related to the choice between socialism and a market-liberal order.

I have not defined what a market-liberal order is. Most of us don’t know for sure what it means, since we are schooled in socialism and the wonders of a planned economy. Still, I wanted to throw out that question to see how people react.

Around 45 percent said that they are in favor of a small government and a market-liberal order. Around a fifth said that they see a role for the government but it should not be in business. No one claimed to be a socialist or supported an interventionist government.

India needs to educate its citizens better about markets and why they matter. But then if education itself is left out of the market and in the grasping hands of the government, it is not likely that the brainwashing is going to stop anytime soon.

Question 9 related to perceptions about India.

There was overwhelming agreement on the proposition that “India was great but not any more but will be once again.”

Around 10 percent said it still is great, and an equal number took the pessimistic view that India is unlikely to become rich.

This is a very interesting topic and I will have to make a separate post on it one of these day outlining my take on the topic.

Well, that’s it for now. Be well, do good work and keep in touch.

PS: If you want to read more details, please see “Intermediate Results of the Survey” which I had posted a few days ago.

  • J P

    Would be nice if you could post the full results of the survey. I think it would be helpful to see what all the survey takers think.

  • Loknath

    Atanu,

    What I have never really gathered from popular media is the mind of a voter in India esp. in a diverse country like India. Atleast I have failed to connect to the minds of people in India. For quite some years I was under the impression that rural India, esp. the poor ones are gullible and humble lot. But I now increasingly realize they are one hell of a selfish lot.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this.. point blank.

    - What factors have traditionally motivated Indian voters to choose a particular party or leader?

    - Do Indians really vote for people or they vote for a party ?

    - Are Indians in general mature enough to subscribe to an ideology? whether good or bad for the society or economy.

    - Do Indians vote out of frustration or they really enjoy the privielge of voting.

    - Do Indians esp. rural Indians really feel empowered because they can cast their vote ?

    - How do different sections of the society view the value of their vote ?

    - What prompts the rural India to have a high voter turnaround vis-a-vis urban India ?

    - Why is it that certain parts of India are politically more indulgent than others ?

    -Why is it that people from certain religions are more proactive when it comes to voting someone of their choice?

    -Is is really true that proportion of voters from the minority religions is much higher than the voters from majority religions ?

    - Other than free Biryani and booz, what motivates some people to stand in a queue for hours together to cast their votes ?

    - Are there muslims who vote for parties other than congress ?

    - Does upbringing at home has any bearing on the persons political inclinations and affiliations ?

    -Is stability of domicile (lived on same place all life) a crucial factor in political participation.

    -Finally, how to parties like congress segment and target votebanks. They must have some scientific or analytical basis in the votebank segmentation. It would be really interesting to know some insider insights. For example Congress party knows that there are Atanu’s out there who need not ever be addressed for votes and never probably did.

    May be I know some of the answers but it would be good to put it down in so many words.

    Thanks
    Lok

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      This is in response to Loknath’s comment above.

      For quite some years I was under the impression that rural India, esp. the poor ones are gullible and humble lot. But I now increasingly realize they are one hell of a selfish lot.

      Although as you point out India is diverse country, that diversity does not mean that only some people in India are a selfish lot. A useful generalization is that all people are selfish. It cannot be otherwise. It is always possible to find exceptions but as a rule, people are self-interested. The difference lies only in how a person defines one’s self-interest. That is a contingent phenomenon. It depends on one’s particular circumstances. People who are materially rich can afford things — material and non-material — that poor people find out of reach. The rural people in India have concerns that are more immediate and more constraining than those faced by the urban rich.

      What factors have traditionally motivated Indian voters to choose a particular party or leader?

      My guess is that their choices are constrained by external circumstances and their own preferences. In a diverse country like India, people arrive at differing conclusions about who is best elected to office. Those who depend on public handouts, for example, will be most motivated to vote for candidates that promise them the most in terms of transfer payments. The politicians know this and accordingly figure out ways to steal from some segments to buy the political support from some others.

      Are Indians in general mature enough to subscribe to an ideology? whether good or bad for the society or economy.

      Depends on how you define “mature.” What would I do if I were in their circumstances? I guess I will do no different. Should they be doing this? No, if they could afford to make a different choice. Can they afford to take the long view and vote for a candidate that does not promise them free stuff but instead makes it possible for the economy to grow and supply the stuff that people need? Most people cannot afford that luxury.

      What prompts the rural India to have a high voter turnaround vis-a-vis urban India ?

      I believe that self-interest motivates all of us — as I mentioned before. Rural India has a higher voter turnout because they know that by voting they will get more transfer payments; urban India knows that its vote will not matter since they are numerically not relevant. Why waste time voting when you know that the outcome is preordained?

      Is is really true that proportion of voters from the minority religions is much higher than the voters from majority religions ?

      Even though I don’t have the numbers at hand, I would suspect that is true for the reason stated immediately above in the case of rural versus urban voters.

      Other than free Biryani and booz, what motivates some people to stand in a queue for hours together to cast their votes ?

      If I were poor and did not have much to look forward to, biryani and booze is sufficient inducement for me to do what the giver of b&b wants me to do.

      how do parties like congress segment and target votebanks.

      I don’t think this is quantum mechanics. The Congress knows that if you rob Peter to pay Paul, they will always have the support of Paul — especially if the Pauls vote as a block and the Peters are clueless that they are being robbed.

      I hope I have addressed some of your points.

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    @Loknath,
    I will take the liberty to pour some oil on your troubled waters, but don’t light a match just yet, as I am nobody, and the privilege of response is Atanu’s.

    What I have never really gathered from popular media is the mind of a voter in India esp. in a diverse country like India. (Emphasis added by me…)

    Popular media is forced by the medium to only provide abridged/pre-digested capsules of information (often badly so). Listening to your house-hold help, local hair-dressers, auto-rickshaw-wallas and bhaji-wallas/wallis is, IMO, a better idea. Because they live on the cutting edge of political and economic reality, and their opinions are connected directly to their daily bread, unlike you and I.

    For quite some years I was under the impression that rural India, esp. the poor ones are gullible and humble lot. But I now increasingly realize they are one hell of a selfish lot.

    Anybody who’s very life depends on scarce resources or appallingly restricted access to abundant ones, is bound to be competitive and selfish. Sometimes it’s real, and sometimes it is imagined to be real. For instance, have you ever tried to get a “Delhi businessman” to pay you back on time and in full (or at all)?

    On the other hand, I can say (again, from first-hand experience)that your selfsame poor, humble, gullible, selfish villagers are also equally (and routinely) capable of kindness, generosity and caring that is beyond selfless.

    Your questions still belie a desire to understand things in concretes and absolutes, where there are only fluids and relatives.

    Note that Atanu’s survey of political sentiments is precisely that – a short study not of physical absolutes, but of human sentiments. And what has proven itself to be more unreliable over the thousands of years of our existence, other than human sentiment?

    Perhaps it’s time to turn the TV off and travel inland a little?

  • og

    Naturally Atanu wants to hang on to hope, or this blog will have to end.

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    @OG Hope is in such short supply these days. I don’t have any for one, and thereby hangs a tale.

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Aditya Athalye wrote–

      I don’t have any for one, and thereby hangs a tale.

      What’s the tale?

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    @Loknath. I just happened to read your comment, about your childhood days, under the previous post. In the light of that, the closing question of my reply to you (above) becomes unfair. So apologies.

    Clearly you grew up very much in the “Bharat” part of the Bharat-India contrast popularized by popular media. But now I’m wondering, what gives? You must have seen a lot already… So why so many unanswered questions?

  • Mallikarjuna

    Not to play the spoil-sport, but a point to ponder.

    In early 90′s, Devegowda was a Dark-Horse.
    Compared to Ramakrishna Hegde, he was like unharmful choice.

    Only to capture power & become a symbol of all things he opposed,
    dynasty politics, corruption, …..

    Narendra Modi has delivered goods, yes Jyoti Gram, Industrialization, …..

    Modi is king for 26 MP Seats in Gujarat, he can draw crowds, Ok.
    Winning 10 time that seats is a different ball-game.
    He needs to be accommodating rather than curt.

    He’s never given even a hint of such a thing till now.

    How right are we to pin our hopes on such a person.

    In 1998, I had read Vajpayee’s interview.
    Asked if BJP was diluting it’s core agenda by mingling with Regional Parties & etc., Vajpayee had answered some thing like
    “We(BJP) were a party of traders in North India. As we grow, we assimilate more & more variety of Indian states & cultures.”

    No wonder, Vajpayee could lead a coalition of hotch-potch parties.

    Sorry, Modi is yet to build such charishma.

    Relying on him to forge partnerships to lead a nation is a bit stretching the imagination.

    Remember, It took the partnership of Advani & Vajpayee to get BJP to 190 seats.

    Who will be with Modi to do so?
    Arun Jaitley, who is yet to win one direct election,
    Sushma Swaraj, Till recently Amma to Iron-Men & now, gives opinions about Stature of Vice-President.
    Rajnath Singh, Does any one know him outside UP, err, Lucknow.
    Gadkari, the best PWD Minister Maharashtra had, but now stop-gap President.

    I’ll be more than happy to be proven wrong, but I just fear …. 2014 might end up being “Advani for PM” Bloggers campaign.

    Also plz do remember, BJP is the same party that used Yediyurappa to win & throw him, when not needed.

    He was autocratic. Modi, too is accused of the same.

    If Modi faces something like that from troublesome 4 (Keshubhai Patel, Suresh Mehta, Gordhan Zadafia & one more), BJP will have no issue throwing Modi out.

    Chinese Curse, “May you live in interesting times”.

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Mallikarjuna comments about Modi–

      He needs to be accommodating rather than curt.

      He’s never given even a hint of such a thing till now.

      How right are we to pin our hopes on such a person.

      It is not very clear what you mean by “accommodating.” Why is that a virtue or even a winning strategy?

      I don’t think accommodation is a virtue if it means compromising with people one should have no dealings with.

      It is possible that if Modi leads the BJP, there are groups which would not want to support a BJP-led government. So what? What would a BJP government supported by idiotic parties do that the Congress government supported by those same idiotic parties cannot do? To me, a coalition government is a disaster regardless of whether it is Congress-led or BJP-led.

      India needs leaders who are visionary, committed, sincere, and honest. To my mind, the choice is stark: a government led by Modi versus a government led by any combination of self-serving myopic “leaders” and their narrow interest political parties.

  • Loknath

    Aditya,

    Many thanks for sharing your thoughts in response to my dumb questions.

    Yes I was a part of real bharat living with those on the edge of social and economic compulsions. Fortunately or unfortunately I was forced to breathe with people from EVERY linguistic, economic and social sections across several states while at school. So I consider myself pan Indian with no liguistic or regional bias. So much so that I cant even speak, read or write my own so called mother tongue. I now increasingly feel that people like me are politically and nationally irrelevant. This pain probably constituted the backdrop of my dumbfounded questions.

    Unfortuantely in my late teens, I could never look at the darker side of India as my immature mind in those days could only perceive so much. Moreover those were the days of doordarshan that kept all of us Indians in dark on almost about everyhing. So the mind never developed to ask the right questions until my late twenties. Blogs like these made me feel more concerned about my plight.

    Hence my struggle to understand the real mind of India. I thought it would be a good idea to be point blank in dissecting the mind, motivations and real nature of every region in India.

    -What makes these clueless rural scumbags vote someone at the first place ? Why was I not motivated like a 19 year old rural boy to vote?
    -What makes bongs, who are fairly literate chose someone like jyoti basu and Mamta as their leaders for 3 bladi decades.
    -What made the bladi golts chose YSR as their leader when CBN was on the right path.
    -What makes Delhiites elect a bitch like Sheila Dixit year on year.
    -What made UP Bhaiyyas choose the same old gunda leaders that tormented them on the streets not so long ago.

    Atanu says Indians inherently are dishonest. I too believe so. But this needs some sampling and testing to prove that Indians indeed are dishonest and hence my request for point blank answers to the questions posed. If it offends someone, so be it.

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    Why only Indians? Everybody cheats. It’s just that we in India are (can’t resist the wordplay) unashamedly up-front about being visibly underhand. Many other nations are like that too.

    In my opinion, the reason anyone in your list ever got (re)elected was because everybody’s selfish…

    Either they value their life and don’t want to get capped by the thug demanding votes, or they like anyone doling out free booze or clothes or cash, or they like anyone who will keep bus fares under one rupee seventy paisa, or they like someone who will continue to let them subvert big and little tenders, or they think bothering about politics is really not worth it or their life goes on just fine any which way, so why bother…

    A bigger list will likely produce an equally bigger litany of reasons.

    Besides, a democratic voting system, like any big marketplace, is supposed to deliver on an aggregate basis, exactly what people want. Since this is what we’ve got, well, this is what we’ve wanted.

  • RC

    Loknath,
    I can tell you about Shiela Dixit. Even in South Delhi, an affluent section of Delhi which used to be a fort for the BJP has been voting for Sheila Dixit in the last two elections. Many constituents here are educated and well to do Sikhs who in spite of the memory of the 1984 massacre have voted for Ms Dixit.
    The general theme has been that Ms Dixit was perceived as not corrupt and one who brought order to their neighborhoods. I think the biggest cache in India psyche is for the one who is not corrupt.

    I dont think people are voting the way they are voting because they are corrupt or dishonest (which they very well might be) but the overarching reason for the way they vote is that they are uneducated and are unable to think long term as a result their vote is easily bought.

    Now whether or not people are dishonest is another discussion. One key thing here to keep in mind that more than 5 generations of Indians have seen nothing but extreme gut wrenching poverty. As a result response to general situations become extremely survival-istic and that survival at any cost becomes the thinking of the society at large.

  • og

    “Besides, a democratic voting system, like any big marketplace, is supposed to deliver on an aggregate basis, exactly what people want. Since this is what we’ve got, well, this is what we’ve wanted.” — Well, in that case, too, Atanu can wrap up this blog. Nothing is more dangerous to “true” democracy than a small band of do-gooders who believe they know better than the stakeholders what’s good for them. Take foetus sex selection, for example. Who are educated (hence, unrepresentative) people to dictate to the sans coulot their choice of baby genders? If democracy permits that, it’s just a small step to another educated minority to dictate that not sex selection per se but (unprotected) sex itself is at the root of India’s trouble. My understanding of the definition of democracy as a political process is that elected leaders are not allowed to try to “improve” the electorate through their offices. And that is exactly how democracy works in India. If you don’t want that, you have to admit that democracy is not the system you want. Democracy is not, for example, how parents bring an errant four-year-old back on track.

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    @OG See, I’ve not read a lot of political theory, so I’ll flunk that sort of a debate. I’m just trying to look around me based on first principles. And I welcome the opportunity to do so, created by Atanu’s weblog.

    You write:

    “My understanding of the definition of democracy as a political process is that elected leaders are not allowed to try to “improve” the electorate through their offices.”

    The way I see it, Good Democracy is supposed to let us choose, from our own, those who can and will act on our behalf to improve our lot.

    But this does not mesh well with the vagaries of human nature. In practice, and India alone can supply over 60 years of empirical evidence, that it ends up being a transfer of great power into a few hands, none of which are Spider-Man’s. And it gets exponentially worse as the scale and scope of centrally-held governance increases.

    Consider it: as of now there are about 790 elected and nominated representatives at the center, compared with 1210 million citizens. That’s a ratio of 1 decision-maker to over 15 million citizens.

    Pick any random sample of 15 million Indians and try to find anything that unites the whole sample. You will not succeed. How can one person be expected to know what will be good for a very non-uniform population of 15 million? How can s/he make sound, humane decisions on their behalf and follow it up to get the damn thing done so that the intended benefits might reach those people?

    And Over the vast distances of our lands?
    And Across 900 different languages?
    And Representative of every religious community on the planet?
    And with belief systems that span millenia and continents?
    And who knows what more…
    Time and time and time again?

  • og

    Aditya, picking 15 million “random” Indians for a representative is a wrong experiment. Constituencies are usually spatially compact, and there is still an awful lot of correlation between your coordinates and culture. (We already agree that those that violate that rule do not matter in Indian statecraft.)

    The arrangement of geographically massive nation states, “free markets” and so-called democracies has been around for less than a century for a species that is now about four million years old. I find the triumphalist declaration that this is the Final Destination of human societies laughable.

    Some very brainy birds have predicted that accountable and responsive administration cannot scale in the long term beyond the scale of hamlets. One of them, Atanu and many around here hate from their guts. That dude did chalk up some weird experiments in other departments involving eye-gouging and sleepovers, but with regard to sustainable social and ecological structures, he was prophetic. We just don’t know that yet.

  • August Ferdinand Mödius

    NaMo’s communication skills — yes, I am biased towards English – are rather woeful, even when compared to that overrated fool, Manmohan. Fluency with English is certainly not a pre-requisite for great administrative and execution talent (which he seems to have in spades), nor is it a large enough factor to win the election (what is a leading factor for India is in fact unclear: the average Indian voter is so parochial and short-sighted that it makes hims a bigger moron than even his US counterpart).

    Yet I feel he needs to figure out a strategy to get the wind of the English speaking media behind his sails, given their unflinching belief in him being the architect of the Godhra reprisals. If NaMo gets elected, I’d love to see how the US State Department will deal with his visit to the US! I think he needs a much better PR strategy overall – one that tackles the Godhra episode directly and head-on, while at the same time emphasizing the decisions he has taken in Gujarat with numerous recorded endorsements. He also needs to talk more about his vision and priorities and undertake a massive college and university tour for months – especially in the smaller cities, urging turnout for a demographic that is typically underrepresented in the polls. The key in doing this is building a good base of the more educated people, even if he loses the next election – get them motivated and on your side when young, and you have a life-long audience. Just like he has fashioned the best state government with his high standards and hands-on management, he needs to craft the best campaign and do it early, so the organization can learn and adapt.

    In this data age, he needs to chart out a couple of options towards how he gets the numbers to win and relentlessly work towards making them. Choosing a place to visit is a hugely important decision given the limited time he has on his hands.

  • allwyn

    what makes atanu think BJP will steer us towards market-liberal order? their ads on TV talk about giving money to families with daughters who reach marriage age! Plus BJP and MODI too opposed the ONLY REFORM – FDI we were going to get.

    But yes like someone said we have to stick to hope.
    FUCK! this country’s future in uncertain!!!

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    @Atanu, This tale, repeated daily: http://blog.wotr.org/?p=27

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    @OG

    Aditya, picking 15 million “random” Indians for a representative is a wrong experiment. Constituencies are usually spatially compact, and there is still an awful lot of correlation between your coordinates and culture. (We already agree that those that violate that rule do not matter in Indian statecraft.)

    A law made at the center applies to the whole land.

    … the triumphalist declaration that this is the Final Destination of human societies laughable.

    Some wise birds have said that in the long run, we are all dead ;)
    Jokes apart, what the final destination is changes depending on who you ask, and in what state of mind they are.

    Some very brainy birds have predicted that accountable and responsive administration cannot scale in the long term beyond the scale of hamlets.

    Catastrophic failures of human societies, over thousands of years of our history, show that large-scale administrations do not work over long periods of time. If they do, it is by resorting to large-scale coercion / violence against its own people.

    One of them, Atanu and many around here hate from their guts. That dude did chalk up some weird experiments in other departments involving eye-gouging and sleepovers, but with regard to sustainable social and ecological structures, he was prophetic. We just don’t know that yet.

    Everybody has their faults. If you suddenly had as much influence as MKG, you too would be a villain to many. Scale changes everything.