The Post ‘Sickularism’ Age is finally here

Today Modi rocked Mumbai. Being a Mumbaikar I felt the energy of Bandra Kurla Complex through the airwaves in far away cold Gurgaon. I felt the gap in Left of Centre Politics in India as well. The syntax can be termed as Leadership which is not aloof. The High Command Culture of Lutyens Delhi was breached earlier this month by a civil society activist Kejriwal. Kejriwal’s politics is very much left of centre especially its economic populism. But there is a difference- Kejriwal’s vocabulary consists of a connect with the urban poor. He won the trophy constituency of New Delhi beating Sheila Aunty by a large margin.  The Aam Admi Party is scripting a new narrative for urban metropolitan politics in this country. Accountability, Inclusive Governance, Proactive Leadership are adjective-verbs that are currently appropriated by the Right in India and now by the Aam Admi Party. The ethos of a strong technocratic Developmental State is the edifice of Modi’s Politics. Raman Singh’s Chhattisgarh uses Welfare very effectively too. The core plank of Congress’s Politics is Welfare centric. I am a supporter of Entitlement Legislations as it is often the last resort of the extreme poor.  But Welfare needs a robust infrastructure to deliver value to the costumers. We live in the era of a Client-State Relationship. The legislations have to deliver on the ground. Ofcourse the lessons of governance are iterative, they take time for the results to emerge on the central dashboard of the media monitors.  The loss in Rajasthan has shown that Welfare is not a magic bullet. Strong Leadership matters in the atmosphere of policy paralysis.

Congress’s other political Killer App is secularism. Unfortunately, this is a pejorative word with a negative connotation. This means minority-ism and vote bank politics. The introduction of the communal violence bill is not the reform legislation that’s top priority anyways. The Lok Pal Act is a victory for the civil society and not for Rahul ji as it was a reactive measure. 

Secularism isn’t panacea. The Politics of Pluralism has a wider appeal. Arun Shourie should take a workshop for the friends from the Left. Regional Leaders are strong leaders. A Nitish and a Jayalalitha ji are perceived as leaders who have a mass base unlike a Scindia.

The Liberal Left has to realise that Developmentalism and Strong Leadership is the need of the hour rather  rhetoric on communalism. Modi and Kejriwal are metaphors for clean and development based politics. The Congress needs more Jairam and Pilot than Gehlot and Jogi.

A Pluralism+Development+StrongLeadership approach. Is it that difficult Rahulji?