On the political side, the Fronts are multiplying. Sensing weakness in both the Congress and the BJP, the regional parties are trying their hand at talking about various alternative formations for the next elections. One of them, the Samajwadi Party, has already sounded the bugle for mid-term elections. It almost seems like 1995-6 all over again. Everyone thinks they can become India’s next Prime Minister, even if it is for a day.
At the heart of the dreams of power lies the belief that the best way to come to power is by keeping Indians poor. As Tavleen Singh wrote in Indian Express on Sunday:
I have concluded that the real reason why poverty has not disappeared is because our political leaders do not want it to disappear. If there were no poor people left in India, where would their voters come from? As they saw from the sort of people who joined Anna Hazare’s protest movement last year, the middle classes ask too many questions. And, they complain too much.
There are hundreds of thousands of villages in India where electricity remains elusive, erratic or unavailable. This causes immeasurable harm to agriculture but because the average Indian farmer is too poor to protest, he accepts his lot silently. But, let the lights go out in a middle class Delhi colony for more than a couple of hours and women hurling abuse and brickbats appear in the streets. Let the water stop running in their taps and they can get even nastier.
It is because poor people rarely indulge in this sort of bad behaviour that our politicians love them and do their best to ensure that they remain poor forever.
And so it goes on. India stays poor because of flawed economic policies that keep the ‘pro-poor’ politicians in power.