Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tale Of Two Elections

Two interesting elections this week...

Across the border, Pakistan saw the first ever civilian govt to govt handover, a historic moment for the country plagued by home-grown terror, fundamentalism, corruption, domination by the army and a total economic collapse. Pakistan has voted for change, kicking out Zardari's party, and giving a third opportunity to Nawaz Sharif. Imran Khan's party put in a solid performance, boosted by the sympathy factor after his fall during compaigning, coming second ahead of Zardari. Interestingly, while development and issues like power cuts dominated the election pitch, most countries, including Sharif, promised to normalize and improve relations with India. Will this dream be realized? Remember, Sharif was in power during the Mumbai blasts, and during Kargil! What does this election mean to Zardari's future - already under the cloud for corruption, and not exactly most popular with the army? What does this mean for Musharraf, now in jail for treason, and at the mercy of the guy he allegedly sidestepped and overruled over Kargil?

Will anything really change on the ground? Does this bode well for India and Afghanistan?

The other very interesting development, of course, was in Karnataka, where the Congress rode anti-incumbency and the BJP vote split by Yeddy's caste based politics to hand the BJP a crushing defeat in its only Southern state, raising questions about the BJP's ability to call itself a truly national party at the 2014 elections. Without Yeddy, can they afford to fight? Can they afford to take him back, having distanced themselves from him so clearly with corruption as the core issue? With Nitish Kumar already drawing blood in Bihar, and SP-BSP as fickle minded as ever, the BJP seems to have nothing to bank on in the 2014 polls, inspite of the Congress handing it opportunity after opportunity on the corruption plank. Will the Congress pull off a Houdini yet again?

And while we are on the topic of corruption, where is AAP? There is only a deafening silence - Bansal and Ashwani don't fall in their scheme of things?

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