Thoughts on economics and liberty

Baba Ramdev is turning out to be a godsend for the Congress

On 17 August 2010 I wrote:

From what he seems to be advocating I can now safely predict the following:

a) His party will take half of BJP’s vote but barely a single Congress vote. Both BJP and his party will fare badly in the elections as a result, making it VERY EASY for Congress to win.

b) Even if his party and BJP undertake seat adjustments, and manage to win a majority together and form a coalition, the coalition will fail to provide good governance because neither BJP nor his party understand policy.

In either scenario, India is doomed to further misgovernance. Congress – the totally corrupt socialist organisation will rule, or BJP/Baba Ramdev coalition will rule – which is totally confused about policy.

On 6 May 2011 I wrote this, based on information re: his “fast unto death” from 4 June 2011:

Interestingly, either way – whether it arrests Ramdev or not – the Congress government (and the BJP!) will lose politically. Baba Ramdev is a master political strategist (in his great innocence) apart from being a childlike (even childish) misguided simpleton.

No doubt the fast is a political master-stroke, but is fraught with huge risks for his movement, as well. The main thing is that all this is actually GOOD for the Congress.

Offstumped had an extensive post on this subject today. Based on this (and previous readings of what Baba Ramdev stands for) I’m now more inclined to support my earlier “prediction” of August 2010.

The most important new information is that the RSS has joined hands with Ramdev.

No doubt Ramdev will take millions of votes from the Congress. That is guaranteed. In 2009 the Congress got 28.55 per cent of the national vote. Given Baba Ramdev’s movement, this share is almost CERTAIN to be pushed down below 25 per cent.

But he is going to take far more votes from BJP. As a result his movement could create a third national force, possibly larger than BJP. But even if his BS party ends up smaller than BJP, that could be enough to destroy BJP entirely.

For India’s is a first past the post system. If a third force comes in between the Congress and BJP, then even a lower vote share will be sufficient for the Congress to win comfortably in 2014.

The kind of ideas that Ramdev represents cannot get him a parliamentary majority. EVER. That much is certain. So the Congress has nothing to fear.

His ideas are therefore UNLIKELY to ever become law, and after a few years, his movement will dissipate.

But his movement currently will have huge effects on the Indian political landscape by splintering the Hindutva vote into two. The BJP must be cursing Baba Ramdev, but I have no sympathies with the corrupt BJP. Both Congress and BJP are enemies of India.

What does all this mean for India?

The biggest game in Indian politics since Advani’s sole revival of BJP from a rump through the Rath Yatra and Babri Masjid, is now on.

The forces of socialism and medievalism are now waging war against the forces of socialismand corruption.

Regardless of what happens, as I wrote in August 2010, India will continue to suffer from SEVERE misgovernance AND corruption under the current situation.

There were many opportunities for Baba Ramdev’s movement to take advantage of the work done by FTI (see FTI’s basic policies here), or the material written in BFN. But as expected, he has chosen to align himself with the RSS and to continue a fundamentalist Hindu crusade.

Had Baba Ramdev demonstrated any genuine interest in good governance, people like me could have joined him, and together, we would have taken a serious chunk of votes from both Congress and BJP. But that is not going to happen. He is determined to promote Hindutva. That is not acceptable. That a person with his kind of illiberal ideas is receiving significant middle class support is not a good sign for India which has already suffered from bad leadership for over 60 years.

It is now almost certain that India will have to go through a lot more pain – even as China overtakes India in a very big way. India will continue to under-perform its potential.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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