Saturday, April 11, 2009

Change is coming

Swapan Dasgupta, that old Trotskyite-turned-BhaJaPaite, is making fun of Mallika Sarabhai and Meera Sanyal. Why? Because, he says, they probably won't win too many votes.

Are votes the best measure of candidate quality? While one can sing paeans to Indian democracy and the wisdom of its electorate, the sad reality is that the system is pretty broken at the moment. Too may history-sheeters are winning, too few honest candidates are competing.

This year, though, it seems like the Dasguptas are missing a big trend...

This is the year when grassroots efforts -- from the urban middle class -- are trying to reshape Indian elections. Forget the Third Front or the Fourth. What we're going to see over the next few election cycles in India are some spectacular/quixotic/brilliant runs from Indian Ross Perots and Ralph Naders. They may not take over the government in New Delhi, but they will certainly win at state and local levels and change the way the Congress and the BJP do business.

Wishful thinking? May be. Or maybe not. Time will tell.

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