After the elections, time to get down to business
New Delhi: Once the politics settles down and the results have been celebrated and absorbed primarily by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the post-poll business of the country can restart. It is no secret that for the last six months, most economic decisions by the government, including this year’s union budget, have been taken with one eye on the state elections. With the BJP emerging as the big winner in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, it can now go back to governance with that monkey off its back. Clearly, demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big gamble, has actually paid off, reinstating his image as the great big hope against decades of entrenched corruption in the country.
Besides the obvious advantage of now being in a position to significantly strengthen its base in the Rajya Sabha, when the next round of elections to the upper house take place later this year, the ruling party no longer needs to curb its reformist agenda in the fear the electorate may not accept it. The resounding win in UP is also a thumbs-up to the actions taken on the economic front. From here, the BJP-led government needs to do more, not less, of the same. Indeed, if anything, these election results show that the Indian voter is ready to reward politicians who are willing to make bold, radical moves, as long as they see them to be driven not by self-interests but with an eye on changing the existing order.
There are obvious lessons for the opposition parties as well. India’s electorate is hungry for action. Showboating and obstructionist policies may get them television time, but when it matters, they will be judged by their actions. The landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill is still in abeyance pending the passage of four supporting bills related to the implementation of what is possibly the most significant economic reform in the last two decades. Ensuring it goes through in the second half of the budget session could send out a strong signal that after the hustings, it is now time for business in India.