These have been truly turbulent years. Between then and now, we have seen Mayawati sweep Uttar Pradesh and then lose it badly. Between then and now, India has miserably lost the Cricket World Cup and then won it handsomely. Between then and now, the Indian economy has changed from being a rampaging elephant to a caged tiger once again. Between then and now, the three Khans of Bollywood have further cemented their supremacy over the box office. Between then and now, Rahul Gandhi has been transformed from being the latest Great White Hope to a question mark and an enigma. Between then and now, the loot and plunder of natural resources through crony capitalism have gathered momentum. Between then and now, Ratan Tata has endured the disgrace of Singur to fade triumphantly into retirement. Between then and now, Mamata Didi has remained Mamata Didi... So much has happened over the last six years that it would require many multiple books to chronicle contemporary history. And my readers know I do not write history books :-)

And yet, I have identified six major and defining trends of the last few years that will have a lasting impact on India for at least another decade. In no order of preference and importance, here is my list:

1: Good governance gets pro-incumbency verdicts:
In 2005, when my team and I had started planning the launch of The Sunday Indian – after having launched Business & Economy and 4Ps Business & Marketing – Nitish Kumar narrowly failed to achieve his dream of becoming the Bihar Chief Minister. In 2006, when this magazine was launched, Nitish Kumar won a decisive verdict. In 2011, he won an even more decisive verdict. So much so that people are now openly talking of his ambitions to be Prime Minister. Ditto for Narendra Modi. Barring a miracle for the Congress, Modi is all set to win Gujarat for the third successive time. Like Nitish, he too is a contender for the post of Prime Minister. Sheila Dixit and Naveen Patnaik have already won three successive elections in Delhi and Odisha respectively. The incumbent Left Front in Kerala almost pulled off a shock victory over Congress last year, losing the assembly by just one seat. The Akali Dal-BJP combine achieved what was thought impossible: winning a second successive term in Punjab. And it does look like Shiv Raj Chauhan and Raman Singh will win their third successive elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh next year. It is not as if all incumbent governments are winning. The DMK-Congress alliance was humiliated in Tamil Nadu last year; Mayawati lost badly in UP this year; the BJP lost Rajasthan in 2008; and the Congress was trounced in Goa this year. I really don’t need to add more. If the voter thinks you are delivering decent governance, you have her support.   Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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UP elections have always been intriguing and most of the times for the wrong reasons. This is one state where political leaders have always been riddled with controversies, be it from criminalized and caste-based politics, to corruption and scams. But this year, controversy seems to have taken a new shape. With the rise of a young and dynamic leader in UP, the scenario here would change soon. Against expectations, Samajwadi Party (SP) suddenly came out and swept the elections. This sweeping victory cannot be credited to anyone else other than Akhilesh Yadav – a young politician who never projected himself as the Chief Minister, even after the victory. But then, SP read the minds and hearts of the electorate and decided to make Akhilesh the CM. And thus a new star was born in Uttar Pradesh!

Akhilesh Yadav, son of UP strongman Mulayam Singh Yadav, steered SP to a sensational victory in the state assembly, a victory that decimated all their political rivals. Uttar Pradesh may be the biggest state in India (and hence politically most important) but certainly, it is not the best governed state. Even though the state sends the maximum number of MPs to the Centre, it has been perpetually ripped apart through generations (how else would one describe the agenda of UP’s division) by the communal, casteist, self-indulgent, and shortsighted chieftains to meet their short term goals. The last two decades probably have been the worst for the state when Mayawati and Mulayam Singh reduced the politics in the state to nothing but a jungle raj! The battle was almost lost for UP, had it not been Akhilesh Yadav taking centre stage to rechristen the state with long-lost optimism and hope. His performance speaks for itself for he is the one who rightly represents today’s youth. Amidst many other young politicians, his one young face shines the brightest, and all because of his calm, pleasant, confident and positive attitude which most of the other young politicians in India comprehensively lack.

Amidst the praise and starry eyes of hope that surround him, one cannot undermine the immensely difficult and daunting task ahead. And that’s exactly what happened within days of his winning. The same media, which lavished much praise on this young man for winning, wrote him off overnight the moment he announced his cabinet. Along with the infamous Raja Bhaiya, his cabinet of 47 ministers (that is much smaller than his father’s jumbo cabinet of 97 ministers) had as many as 28 with a criminal background. All I can say is that it’s not easy to win elections in a state like UP and any other party’s cabinet would have looked quite the same if history and Indian politics are things to go by. Akhilesh inherited a party, which had a history of harbouring thugs and goons. Their inbred nature certainly cannot be changed by merely snapping off ties! And if Akhilesh tries to replace them abruptly, it will create such an upheaval that his government could even fall. Akhilesh in his campaign did stress repeatedly of clean and transparent governance by scientifically sidelining the criminals. However, let’s as of now assume this cabinet to be his political compulsion! He perhaps had no choice but to induct these people to safeguard his government.
But to his credit, he smartly and cleverly kept the ‘head’ of all thugs away from his cabinet. Despite huge pressure, he didn’t allow DP Yadav to become part of his team – smartly cutting the umbilical cord of all thugs from their mastermind.

This allowed him to win support and confidence of all minorities and those pockets of population that underwent immense subjection during the reign of DP Yadav and the likes. Akhilesh cleverly kept all key ministries with himself (that would allow him to keep a track of all funds and curtail embezzlement). More than 100 contestants of SP were below 40 years of age with many having professional degrees of medicine, engineering, management and science.

The first name in team Akhilesh that must find a place in any reference is Abhishek Mishra, a 35-year old gentleman with a PhD from Cambridge and a professor at IIM Ahmedabad. A friend of Akhilesh, Abhishek was persuaded by the former to join his team after 6 years of teaching at IIM-A in the field of strategy and innovation. And what an astounding strategy he made in Akhilesh’s manifesto and campaign! He was the man behind the criticism-free election campaign strategy and the ploy of advertising in the media outlets.

Then comes Tej Narayan Pandey, a close friend of Akhilesh, an ex-student union vice president in UP with a resounding influence on student unions. He was instrumental in mobilizing the student unions in favour of Akhilesh. He is all set to head the Home and Finance ministries besides key departments like administration, vigilance, tax and registration, education, housing, IT and many others. A quick glance would be enough to gauge the intelligence and technocracy Akhilesh possesses. He cleverly gave the less-important ministries to old and non-performing cabinet ministers and gave specialized ministries to talented and educated ministers. Something that the Centre also needs to learn.     Read More....

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