Saturday, December 22, 2007

Alea iacta est

Within the next 6 hours Gujarat assembly elections will be out, and the die for next general elections have been cast. One obvious question that arises is if this focus is warranted. Certainly Gujarat is no ordinary state; it is a first world state in a third-world country-- its people are enterprising, well networked and uniquely gifted, when it comes to trade. But this battle isn't about Gujarat. It is about the claims on heart of India. Who rules Gujarat tomorrow(literally) will greatly influence who gets to rule India over the next decade. At no point of time in India's history have so few affected the lives of so many, in a positive way. Clearly, the focus is justified.

This election is also about Modi. Because the two principle claimants to central power gravitate around him in rival camps. If Modi looses the secularists, old-style patriarchs, media middlemen etc., rather pretty much the established apparatus would have won the battle, for now, and postpone the inevitable overhaul of the current asymmetric arrangement.

If Modi wins, he will galvanize the centre-right and launch an inexorably potent insurrection against the established consesus. His victory can potentially decimate the comfortable status quo that has prevailed in India for decades now. On ideological, economical and political front Modi can radically revamp the system which has sent some entrenched secularists scrambling for cover, and resort to the much reviled, but successful, divide and conquer strategy. Others, like one Sagarika Ghose, are sitting on the fence waiting to flip conveniently after the die is cast. Few others, like the indolent Vidya Subrahmanyam of The Hindu, won't know what has hit them, embracing for inevitable irrelevance.

Obviously, if Modi looses the establishment will breath easy and carry on with their game. As for Bubble boy Rahul, his part is set, win or loose.

We've some interesting times ahead of us. Let the games begin.

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