Delhi's Sobering Verdict must not distract from Modi's India Agenda

Delhi Politics for well over a decade now have a had a maverick streak to them. On more than one ocassion Delhi has voted in its own idiosyncratic and often defiant way. It picked the Congress over the BJP for the Assembly and Parliament back in the 2000s while going saffron in the Local Body polls. It gave Mayawati’s BSP a rare boost in the only state outside of UP before taking it all away. When the nation shook in outrage over the 26/11 attacks and the Commonwealth fiasco made headlines, Delhi still reposed faith in Sheila Dikshit. It didn't take long though for Delhi to turn its back on Sheila paving the way for India's first grassroots political upstart that was almost entirely an urban phenomenon. Delhi's maverick ways continued as the Kejriwal scripted anti-Corruption movement dominated TRPs and TV Studio debates, forced Parliament to pass a flawed and misguided Lokpal Bill before displacing the Congress from Delhi’s politics.

From 2011 through much of 2014 it became clear that Arvind Kejriwal was more of a tactitian than a patient strategist. His 49 day stint as Chief Minister and foolhardy attempt in Varanasi reinforced that perception.

Today’s sobering verdict in Delhi is perhaps an indication that Delhi for all its maverick ways believes Kejriwal may have finally matured to deliver on Governance even as his party has completely displaced the Congress from the political scene in Delhi.

What this verdict means to the BJP politically will have to be analysed another day. Today's sobering verdict in Delhi however marks the triumph of a new brand of politics conceived, baked and tested entirely in the 21st Century with zero roots in what defined Indian Politics during the first six decades after Independence. To what degree it can replicate itself in the rest of India is an open question at this time. Delhi is unique in its demographic composition - a cosmo urban middle class, a diverse migrant working class and no single Identity based voting group (Linguistic or Caste) dominating.

But the fact remains that this verdict is really about Delhi needing to sort out its local governance between a Center that polices the streets, a Municipality that cleans the drains and a state Government for everything else in between.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic mandate from the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections was for an Agenda conceived, baked and tested outside Delhi. He was voted in as the quintessential Delhi outsider. 10th Feb 2015 does not change that reality of 16th May 2014.

India continues to need a bold agenda of reforms that is not hostage to Lutyens elitism, Lutyens status quoism and Lutyens cynicism.

It is up to Arvind Kejriwal if he is wise enough to deliver governance to Delhi or if he will let the Lutyens elite hijack his agenda to render Delhi Dysfunctional with a confrontationist pre-disposition towards the Center.

Either way Narendra Modi must not let Delhi 2015 distract from the National Agenda he was mandated in 2014. India needs even bolder reforms and an aggressive no-nonsense agenda. This requires even further shifting of the center of gravity of the political discourse away from Delhi.

The Delhi voter in his or her own maverick way has sent an important reminder. Narendra Modi came to Delhi an outsider, he now needs to legislate and govern as one.

 

Courtesy Niti central

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