The Fact of Indian Elections

Every conflict has three sides. The side which won, the side which lost and the side which sits on the side to watch the conflict to take all possible advantage.

During the current election period we find parties in power taking fire from parties which lost the last election. The loosers blaming the winners for the almost continuous sorry state of affairs in India. The winners in turn blaming the losers who were in power previously. This blame game has no end unfortunately.

In all this one critical fact never gets highlighted: the amount of time a government gets to plan and implement development work.

Is it right for Congress to blame BJP which was previously in power? Is it right for the BJP to blame the Congress? Is four/five years enough time for the party in power to prove itself?

Given the slow speed of the Indian state machinary any project typically takes a long time to be planned and completed. Especially if the project spans multiple states (like the National Highway Project).

Take the Delhi Metro Project for example: The plan for the metro was passed, guess when? Maybe you thought 1980s or 1990s? No way! The concept of the metro was finalised in the 1960 Delhi Master Plan. The legal framework was setup in 1978 (the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act) (see this). When did the construction start? 1998. I guess that is why the Metro project is considered to be a miracle.

In my view each Government should be given at least a 6-8 years period to plan and implement projects before cursing them. We have seen how bad governments are when it comes to handing over and giving credit.

The situation is even worse when it comes to State-level projects. Uttar Pradesh is famous for this. Key infrastructure projects stop and start based on which Government is in power.

Then what is the fight and posturing about? Can any Government claim that they are the masterminds behind development projects when each major project has its roots in history? I don’t think so.

I think we should be honest with ourselves and evaluate the parties based on what NEW things they did. What new initiatives were put in place? We should never go by the chest-thumping and shouting as politicians try and take credit.






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