Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Modi Sarkar Predictions

I am no expert on Indian politics and am in no position to seriously make predictions based on detailed knowledge. So this is just about "general principles".

1. The latent potential for capitalist development in India must be HUGE. No matter how messy, how ugly and how corrupt it turns out to be (and it will probably be all three), if there is no war and no civil war and a "capitalism friendly" government, some people will make a LOT of money. And by some, I mean a lot of people (which still leaves many many more who wont make much). Neither war nor civil war seem very likely (though neither is ruled out), so this one is easy: there will be money. Lots of it. (and that is not always a good thing, but whatever...its coming). If you own a decrepit house in some big city in India and its not already worth a ridiculous amount, hold on to it and sell it for BIG bucks in a couple of years.

2. Having a man with real power and the willingness to use it in charge (instead of the lovely Dr Manmohan Singh, of whom I am a most devoted fan, but whose lack of power was rather obvious) will mean that dozens and dozens of projects and initiatives that are already set to go or inching along will accelerate dramatically. That means the sarkar will be able to show LOTS of fancy shmancy projects in relatively short time (and will probably forget to say "Thank you" to Dr sahib).

3. Relations with Pakistan will not be good. Not just because the Hindu Right has a really hard time with that one, but because poor Nawaz Sharif is being put in his place as we speak and may not be able to hold up his end of the table in spite of the best intentions.

4. Finally, this is India. This is the BJP. This is the RSS. Is it really likely that they are so incredibly disciplined and far-sighted and sagacious that they will not do anything self-destructive or stupid? Just on general principles, that seems unlikely. So the question, dear pundits, is this: what will be the first really bad decision that needlessly sets off a chain reaction of bat shit craziness from all sides? and who will be responsible for it? And will Modi be able to tamp it down (or will he actually be the one to start it!)?

Inquiring minds want to know...


  1. One very bad decision will be to revoke article 370. I hope Modi can resist the inevitable calls from BJP for that.

    One very good decision will be to implement secular civil code for all in India

    1. 370 is a constitutional question. He can easily deflect that by saying we dont have that majority "yet". Secular civil code can be done and can even be made into a positive success, but requires a lot of finesse. Do you think they have that kind of finesse?

    2. I don't ramming through an UCC is a good idea, but it will be attempted.

  2. on 2: he already said thank you. today he said past govt.s did their best for india.

    on 3: i am afraid of the terror strikes. these have the potential of changing everything in a bad way. otherwise i don't think even if nawaz in in control anything substantial will happen. not because of the hindu right connection but i think india is really serious some action on LeT.

    on 4: people say rss is very disciplined , patient and possibly not stupid.
    the first bad decision could be in education. last time nda changed the school text (which have later been corrected) among other things. this time if they repeat it that will give the opposition a potent weapon.
    the other unlikely possibility is some unfavorable court verdict concerning modi.

  3. There will a "communal" incident, or two or three of them in strategic villages or cities, strategically timed. Shops will burn. Minorities will be murdered. Reprisals will follow, in their usual ugly Indian way. And these incidents will scare foreign capital, disrupting Modi's attempt to implement his economic plan. And these incidents will be instigated by the Congress party under Sonia's covert direction, and implemented by Congress goons, naturally. I hope I'm wrong, but beware...

    1. what could be done to prevent that? Obviously in a country like India it is always easy to create trouble, hard to prevent it, but still...

  4. Foreign policy: Either due to the visa grudge, or from a view that MMS's UPA was too friendly to the US, Modi sarkaar may downgrade relations with the US. This would be a huge mistake,

    1. you dont think all those US-returned whiz kids will prevent that? (not a rhetorical question, I don't know how much influence they may have)

  5. The BJP came into long-desired power in Karnataka after around 60 years. Yediyurappa was made CM because he was seen as austere, disciplined, earned his stripes at RSS- kinda guy.

    Today *that* BJP govt is known for giving a free reign to Sri Ram Sene(Pramod Mutalik), bringing in the 11.30 pm deadline "For your own safety" and attempting two beef bans, all while being so insanely corrupt, that it made SM Krishna's 5 lakh a day bank deposits(this is what was the rumor) look almost tame, even desirable in comparison.

    Forgive me, but I expect nothing less/worse from Modi at the centre. The Vanar Sena types will demand their pound of flesh, and he will be hard-pressed to deny.

  6. Ram Mandir issue, Article 370, UCC, Cow Slaughter or Bangladeshi immigrant issue in West Bengal and Assam - All are sensitive issues that can inflame passions. As and when the shit hits the fan, in my view, It will be of Mr Modi's and respective State Government's doing.

    This is because Comrades in ideology just cannot overrule Mr Modi's diktats- in Sangh Parivar's footsoldiers, popularity of none matches Modi and Modi now has absolute control over State's professional repressive apparatus to crush any potential rebels. If any large scale madness erupts, Mr Modi would be directly responsible for being unwilling (rather than unable) to tamp it down or for not thinking it through (a Hindu Jinnah) or actively encouraging it.

  7. I cant think of a single terrible thing Modi will do. Remember,he's withstood 2002 blowback,every attempt to implicate him,etc. And with the mandir,will have law passed -and if i am not surprised,even get a few muslim orgs to endorse it. You may see riots here and there,but nothing terribly big. I think he'll aim at a general feelgood thing & hindutva inclulcated generationally.
    The only issue i see is how/if he wants to normalize relations with china. The object/price would be to completely uproot chinese support for pak. Whats the price he would pay? Anyway i think he's started off well,is known to be super hands-on &24x7, so wont do something terrible/thoughtless

  8. 1 - Modi seems to love big infrastructure projects and is a committed administrator so we may see some much needed upgrades in railways, highways, ports, dams etc.
    2 - Modi is NOT a 'free-market' guy in the traditional sense. He does NOT believe in privatization. His idea of 'deregulation' is to streamline bureaucracies and make officials 'accountable.' Due to his sheer force of will and work ethic, he has been able to make the bureaucrats obey, in Gujarat at least.
    3 - Modi is not loved by the VHP/Bajrang Dal gang. There's no love lost between Togadia and Modi in Gujarat. Modi has simply no incentive to muck things up as he will be directly responsible due to having a large mandate. Any 'disturbances' I expect will be ruthlessly crushed whether started by Muslim SIMI/IM types or Bajrang Dal types.
    4 - Relations with Pakistan have seen more progress under NDA regimes than UPA. Of course Modi is a true Hindutva believer, but he is an extremely practical man. The
    MOST I see happening are some covert ops to eliminate Hafiz Syed type assholes though even that is too much. Mostly I expect Modi to ignore Pakistan officially
    and to make some deals on the backchannel with river water, trade et.
    5 - There is an absolutely golden opportunity for India due to geopolitical alignments currently. China, Japan and the US are all courting India. China does not want to be isolated. Japan and US are looking to counter China. It would be a FOOLISH MISTAKE to join any grand 'Pacific Partnership' with US and Japan. I do think Modi will avoid
    this folly. But I fear he may make a huge mistake by unflinchingly aligning with Japan with symbolic measures like giving MFN to it, which will antagonize China.
    The golden opportunity here is to shrewdly play ALL sides, and court investment, and arms from all sides while completely siding with no one.

  9. I think Center-State relations, not Communal stuff or Foreign Policy stuff, is where Modi will go wrong. Either he tries to fix the deficit which brings him into conflict with spendthrift non-BJP State Govts or he appeases the States short term, hoping to get BJP partners a couple of years down the line, but the upshot is that the Economy goes down the toilet forcing an even more drastic confrontation medium term.
    The one good thing about the Dynasty was that it could always defuse Center/State problems precisely because it wasn't actually a coherent political party as opposed to a personality cult. That's why we've never had a genuinely National party. One way out is if Modi allies with other powerful C.Ms to write subsidiarity into India's fiscal DNA- i.e. he screws over the Hindi belt Hindus who brought him to power- and even goes one step further by way of totally reforming Indian Banking such that, littoral states and the N.C.R become an optimal, not currency but Credit area progressively delinked from the basket case cow belt.

  10. OK...we have an unexpected entry in the question 4 sweepstakes. The Times of India is reporting some talk of VK Singh as defense minister. Now THAT would be a wholly unnecessary own goal!

    1. there are too many rumors. i won't believe them until everything finalizes.
      given the professional and political history of vk singh - it will be very surprising.
      even keeping aside everything else (conflict of interest, resistance from within the army etc) as a the first timer - he is not going to get a top ministry. this is most likely to be rumor. minister of state in defence ministry is more likely but i will bet against it.

    2. Are you serious about the defense ministry comment? If you know anything about the Indian defense ministry, you should be aware that it is a white elephant that is stuck in molasses. A defense minister of India as as useful a post as a village postmaster; at the minimum, the postmaster can have some mail delivered. Most of the Indian military and hardware acquisitions are bogged down in a quagmire. One example; the army has 67,000 trucks which are not even hardened. Try moving one million men in 67,000 streetwise trucks. They can make Rommel the defense minister, and he will be drinking tea in south block.

  11. there is another interesting possibility in indian politics. there are some indications already.
    an resurgent bjp will force a lot of political parties to consider merger .
    already tmc hinted a reverse merger with the congress. (there are few regional parties like tmc , which are breakaway from congress.)
    there were some rumor about rjd and jdu alliance in bihar . ( janata dal gave rise to many regional parties including these two in 80s).

    all these acquisition and merger will be win-win for all parties involved.

    in mid term india will still be multi-party but with fewer parties. that may lead to better opposition and governance. even in the long-term the situation may evolve towards effectively a two-party system.

    congress is best suited to be the core. but they are unlikely to seize the opportunity. they seem to be more concerned about saving the gandhis than saving the party.

  12. The problem is not about whether the defense ministry is a mess or not. It obviously IS a mess. The problem is that in a democracy, civil-military relations are an unusually sensitive topic. Just in terms of weapons and trained men, the army can obviously take over physically any time they wish, but they dont because of the moral authority of the civilian system and the weight of tradition. That weight has to be carefully maintained. Decorum is critical. VK SIngh is a proven loose cannon who lacks a good grasp of this very important side of things. His public disagreements and finger pointing (over what was, after all, a personal issue, not a national security issue) was incredibly immature. Then he has started public feuds with the current and last chief. Hardly the setting in which you want to make him defense minister....

  13. Removing Article 370 would be a very good move. There is a sense of urgency among the loyal BJP supporters to see 370 go. On this issue he will be criticized only by the separatists and Pakistan.

    Other issues that the BJP loyalists want to be implemented are Change in what is being taught in our history books, UCC, construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and taking a strong stand on Illegal Bangladeshis. With the kind of mandate he has got, it will not be a problem to implement these issues. One will argue that going after illegal Bdeshis will create problems for Sheikh Hasina( India's friend) but I am hopeful Modi will be successful in calming her nerves. On the Rohingya issue Hasina was very clear. She said "We are full" and she is right. Same is the case with India too.

    Modi is not someone who will get scared by little bit of criticism. He will think in the larger interest of the country.