Having watched how a single state chief minister like Mamata Banerjee with 18 out of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha can dictate what Bills the government can pass and with what provisos, it is quite clear we are now in a situation where we are only as good as what the smallest party in the government coalition decides. Compounded with the fact that there are regular state elections to be fought and every caste, community and lobby has to be pleased, freebies, write-offs and quotas will be the norm.
I have reached the conclusion that the only way India is going to move forward faster is if a single party gets majority in the Lok Sabha. Only then will it be able to drive through legislation and the big decisions that India needs – including making government smaller and smarter. Until that happens, we have to be resigned to our fate. The UPA 2 had its opportunities in the first year of office, but it let that go in doing succession planning for 2014.
Winning 272 for the Congress is perhaps easier than the BJP simply because it contests more seats across the country. But given the mood of the nation, a Congress government with 272 in 2014 is unlikely to happen. Things could of course change, but the direction is downward, not upward. For the BJP to win 272, it needs to make 2014 into a “lamp-post” election by orchestrating a wave that will ensure it wins 4 of every 5 seats it contests. In other words, replicate what Jayalalithaa and Mamata did in 2011.
Is such a wave possible?