Gurcharan Das, an expert keynote speaker on Indian economic development, recently wrote in the Financial Times that Modi needs to give India its Thatcher moment and initiate institutional reforms.
Gurcharan guides the reader through his own reasons for why he voted for Modi. After weighing the risks of choosing a “sectarian leader who might undermine secularism,” and who has also been argued to be “authoritarian,” Gurcharan “concluded that there was a greater risk in eschewing Mr Modi than in voting for him.” This follows the promises Modi made to change the way India is run, “by investing in infrastructure and skills training; cutting red tape to encourage private investment; eliminating unproductive subsidies; and tackling corruption.”
Gurcharan goes on to argue that India “is a discontented and politically troubled nation, similar in some ways to Britain in the late 1970s with high inflation, declining growth, high fiscal deficits and a government in denial. Britain yearned for a strong leader then, and in Mrs Thatcher it got one. In Mr Modi Indians, too, have chosen a strong leader.”
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Check out this article on India’s new voters in the latest issue of The Economist, which argues that rapid social change and assertive voters will improve Indian democracy.
With commentary coming from speakers such as Swapan Dasgupta and Gurcharan Das, it is believed that more demanding voters are emerging thanks to three intertwined trends: a youth bulge, urbanisation and rising incomes.
A particularly exciting statistic shows that over 100m voters have been added to the electorate since 2009 and that “turnout is usually about 60%, but could be higher—recent state elections show people unusually eager to vote.”
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Gurcharan Das, world renowned author, commentator and advisor, gave great insight into why the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP, or the Common Man Party) is not the reforming party that India needs, in an op-ed piece for the Financial Times yesterday.
Despite the party’s commendable features and growing popularity with the middle classes, the trouble is that the “party’s leadership is trapped in the ideas of the old left [which] could take India back to its socialist past.”
With regard to economic issues, Gurcharan believes that Indian voters do not have a choice, because every party is left of centre. However, the head of the leading contender for the Indian elections – Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata party – is openly right of centre. Gurcharan explains that whilst Mr Modi may not be the liberal reformer India needs, “he is decisive, business friendly and gets things done.”
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