Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nine-month honeymoon with indian voters may have ended this past Tuesday. His Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) won only three of 70 seats in the Delhi State Assembly. As consolation, its traditional rival, the Congress (also known as the Indian National Congress) Party, which has long been associated with the Ghandi Family, was totally shut-out–winning no seats at all.
The upstart Aam Aadmi Party (A.A.P.), sometimes known as the Common Man Party, which has only been in existence for just over two years, won the other 67 seats that the B.J.P. did not take. We have this concept in the U.S., which suggests that: “All Politics is Local”. Well, apparently Mr. Modhi’s Party didn’t get that message. State elections in India are primarily focused on the local candidates; however, the B.J.P. had to actually recruit someone to even run for the Chief Minister post, which is the Office-holder who would lead the State Government 0f Dehli.
The B.J.P. apparently chose to just rest on its traditional laurels. Its local campaign was strictly big-money, big rallies and it posted pictures of Prime Minister Modhi on its political advertisements. Once they realized how far behind they were, however, the B.J.P. caused even some Cabinet Ministers to be dispatched to solicit votes for the Party on the street corners throughout Delhi. Too little, too late!
The two traditionally dominate political parties–the B.J.P. and Congress–have always relied on their role in “India, Inc.”, which is the Government-Corporate Partnership that controls most of the major corporations–particularly: Financing; Insurance; Real Estate and Renting; Manufacturing; the Wholesale/Retail trade; Hotels and restaurants, and Construction. India, Inc. contributed 60% of the Indian nominal GDP and employs roughly 90 Million of the Indian Workforce. Corruption seems to have been the glue that has held the multi-conglomerate together for so long.
The Reserve Bank of india, its Central Bank, is having trouble coaxing banks to make more loans in order to grow the Economy. So-called “non-performing” loans, on which principal and interest are not being paid, are quite high. That discourages banks from making more loans, as they prefer to accumulate funds in-order to write-off bad loans. One of the on-going problems is that Indian Banks normally have very close relationships with their clients, since many are substantial shareholders and Board Members. Perhaps most embarrassingly, approximately 90% of all non-performing loans are in the portfolios of the government-owned banks. Can you say Corruption?
The B.J.P. keeps stroking its usual political base of Hindu right-wingers and India, Inc, and emphasizing its core agenda of Hindu-nationalism combined with pro-business dogma. The A.A.P. leader, Arvind Kejriwal, on the other hand, had used door-to-door campaigning and social media, along with his focus on anti-corruption and the concerns of the common people. As Prime Minister Modhi stated during his national campaign: “…the mood of the Capital is the mood of the Nation.” Well, it seems that the A.A.P. was certainly more aligned with Delhi. So, if what the Prime Minister said about the mood of Delhi is true, then will the B.J.P. and Congress Party receive the message in time for the next National Elections?