Friday, May 8, 2009

Mandate 2009: BJP's Turnaround

Vikas Gupta writes in The Times of India:

Suddenly, there’s a buzz within the BJP. The flagging campaign has been re-energised, and there’s a spring in the step of workers. The party believes that it has put up a strong show in the first three phases of polling, and is now banking on Rajasthan, one of its traditional strongholds, to deliver Delhi to it.

Why has this turnaround happened? Frankly, I have no clue about what is influencing rural voters. But when I speak to middle-class voters, it seems to me that the BJP campaign has struck a chord on at least three issues – which most political pundits seem to have missed.

To begin with, the BJP’s focus on unemployment and job losses seems to be resonating with middle India, which is in the midst of its first major encounter with lay-offs and downsizing. The Congress can argue – with some justification – that it cannot be blamed for a global recession and that India is, in fact, faring better than the rest of the world. Unfortunately for it, people who are scared and insecure are rarely in a mood to listen to logic. The BJP’s promise to exempt tax on income up to Rs 3 lakh has also gone down well with the educated middle-class – which, in any case, is convinced that it gets very little in return for the hard-earned money that it pays as tax.

Finally, the BJP’s promise to introduce one rank, one pay and give tax sops to the defence forces is likely to earn it goodwill and votes from both serving and retired personnel, who otherwise tend to be largely indifferent to the electoral process.
BJP's Turnaround

Making Sense of the UPA Rule and the Need for Change by Shyam Sekhar
In its anxiety to keep allies happy, the congress gave away key ministries to allies. These ministries were managing the Nation’s growth engines like Roads, Ports, IT, Telecom and Environment management. The damage which has been done to the nation will take a long time to mend. Five years is a long time and we could have had much faster development if these ministries where in better and cleaner hands. The congress did nothing to mend the situation during its entire five year term and Sonia was a silent spectator. Some ministers from the allies’ parties deserve special mention.

Maran, Baalu and Raaja are three DMK ministers who have virtually lorded over IT & Telecom, Surface Transport, Environment & Forests. These critical ministries performance over the past five years must be compared with the NDA rule when these ministries had Arun Shourie and BC Khanduri as the Ministers. Need one say more. We are consciously omitting any reference to Anbumani Ramadoss in Health Ministry.
Read full text: Making Sense of the UPA Rule and the Need for Change by Shyam Sekhar

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