Wednesday, June 21, 2017


In a democracy, comparison between different parties or alliances in government at different times is inevitable and also useful. UPA was in power for 10 years; the present NDA has been governing for the past 3 years.

There are some obvious differences like surfeit of scams during UPA times and initiation of inflammatory issues when NDA is in power. Beyond the obvious, there is one basic difference which may decide if NDA will be voted back to power in the next general elections.

UPA was shrewd (?) or pragmatic (?) or indifferent enough not to attempt any experiment, call it reform or not, that would require widespread co-operation from the public. UPA's major achievement as its leaders are fond of saying was introduction of Right to Information Act. A crucial measure, no doubt, but it was easy to implement and nobody was adversely affected at least initially. When difficulties started, many subterfuges emerged heralding adoption of various dilatory tactics. RTI did not require people's forbearance for its successful implementation.

NDA however has charted a different course. It has embarked on two major missions which require(d) total and unflinching readiness on the part of people to take suffering in their stride. Objectives of Demonetisation were hazy but the problems it created for the people were tangible and crystal-clear. It is a tribute to Modi's shrewdness that he could not only weather this self-created storm but could successfully project it as a mission against all evils, be they terrorism, black money or inflation.

GST is the next big experiment that is bound to create a lot of teething problems. Its introduction is certainly called for. One does not know if UPA deftly avoided belling the cat though it made a lot of noise about it. No doubt, Modi strongly opposed GST when he was a chief minister. If GST is implemented without snafu, Modi will be a little more sure of retaining power post 2019. Would he have the nerve to come up with one more major experiment before 2019?

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