The New Parliament, New Government
June 25, 2009
Delhi is seeing some interesting goings on, on the back of these Election results. Here are some that I have observed during the first and short session of Parliament!Apart from the usual media reported discussions on Government agenda and the forthcoming budget, there’s the phenomenon of 300+ MPs, Ex-ministers who are or have been retired by the people of India who are making the painful and often reluctant departure from their Government digs and perks into the harsher reality of the real world!There is a whole new group of young MPs and ministers, who are confident – some cocky. The central Hall of Parliament – the site of the cheapest coffees, teas and food – is more populated with young faces than ever before! Most of the young faces were ones that had famous last names, inviting a description of this group as the new Royalty of India – a country that’s always been fascinated with last names! Off course most of our media did the expected –gasping and excitedly interviewing the young MPs in a celebration of youth and last names! Also visible in the Central hall were the leaders and ex-MPs of the losing ‘coalition partners’- the expressions and body language clearly reflecting that the abrupt loss of power was still something that they were struggling to get used to!Even within the Parliament, the mood is a very different one from the usual combative, fractious one of the previous house. This more conciliatory mood is a forced one that’s obvious since occasionally real politick does break out and partisanship comes back in all its glory – as was obvious during the debate on the Presidents address.The other changes include the relationship mending between Dr Manmohan Singh and LK Advani, the leaders of the Government and Opposition. They seem to have reconciled and agreed to be civil to each other.Off all the buzz in the corridors of Delhi and portals of Parliament, the one that had most people riveted, was the public flaying about and fratricidal goings on in the BJP. This has been described at various times as a fight for the soul of the BJP to a turf battle or a succession battle. Whatever it was, it marked the bottoming out of a Party that had once managed to position itself as being different and had managed grab the space of a credible alternative. I suspect, that more than the election losses/reverses, this very public bloodletting has hurt the BJPs credentials and therefore its ability to regain its appeal to the middle class. There are off course signs that the BJP is adapting to this different world of new expectations – by elevating younger leaders like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj to senior positions and most importantly, this squabble seemingly ended with a clearer definition of the BJP philosophy of Hindutva – as being inclusive and not being violent or anti minority! (Something that I had mentioned in my earlier blog!) Now to see if they walk the talk on this!Of course many things in Delhi remain unchanged! There is a larger than usual group of people who are all now ‘close’ to Rahul Gandhi and there are also a large group of people who ‘predicted’ this victory!
But most importantly for me, there seems to be hints of an agenda of better and more imaginative governance! Stay tuned!