Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gush!


Ever wonder if a decidedly unspectacular vote share (say, less than 30 %) can make a professional pundit gush? Wonder no more; heeeeere's Pratap Bhanu Mehta:

There are moments in the life of nations that are harbingers of deep changes. The Congress has achieved what even so many of its friends thought was unthinkable: not just a return to power, but a return with such aplomb. No amount of psephological quibbling can take away from this achievement. They put a lie to the proposition that this was not a national election, but a sum of state elections. The swing towards them across large parts of the country is too significant to be dismissed as a conjuncture of lots of local factors. But this is also a moment where the nation is also entitled to some degree of self-congratulation. Small exceptions apart, this election represents a big defeat for the politics of opportunism, obfuscation and obscurantism. Those political forces that thought that mere political bargaining with others was a substitute for an electoral strategy have lost. Instead a message has been sent out, loud and clear, that playing spoiler, switching sides in order to pre-empt the people’s mandate, changing positions at the last minute are simply not on. Elections are fundamentally about comparative credibility, and those who were foolish enough to assume that mere words could hoodwink electorates have been cut to size. A large number of parties have been punished for this reason and rightly so.

For someone who wrote this extremely harsh pre-poll assessment of Manmohan Singh and his government, Mehta's post-poll views are very surprising, to say the least.

2 Comments:

  1. Anant said...

    Surely you know the old adage that goes something like,

    my views may change, but not the fact that I am right.

  2. Rao said...

    Mr. Mehta's point in the post-election is essentially that of all the options voters chosen the one that was the least evil/most credible.

    To me the only sentence in this article that contradicts his earlier article was "Small exceptions apart, this election represents a big defeat for the politics of opportunism, obfuscation and obscurantism. ". Otherwise the earlier article was essentially about "poor leadership qualities of the prime minister". And he does not seem to have changed his opinion about it.

    - Sharath