Millennium Post

More churns in horizon

More churns in horizon
What does the crystal ball say about the year 2014? It looks to be unpredictable and one of political shocks and economic shifts.  Broadly speaking, the past few months have seen many political and macro economic developments, which will be unveiled further in the current year.

Politically, the biggest event of the year is the general election in May. Elections to some states including Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Maharashtra will also be held. Crystal gazing shows that it is difficult to predict whether it will be a BJP led government or the Congress led government or a third front led government. Whichever party or combination is elected, it has to fix a lot of issues that India is currently facing.

The year 2014 is also crucial to the future of many leaders. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may bow out after his two successive terms but what about the other senior leaders? Sharad Paxar (NCP) is talking of not contesting while Advani (BJP) wants to continue. Karunanidhi (DMK) too may have his final innings in 2014 in Tamil Nadu. Will Mayawati (BSP) be up or down? Will Mulayam Singh be relevant? The polls will also decide the fortunes of Lalu Yadav (RJD), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Jagan Reddy (YSRC), Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), and the Thackeray cousins.

It will be an anti climax if Modi is unable to deliver after such hype; but if he wins, he will be the man of the year 2014. Modi began his campaign much ahead of others with his massive rallies and impressive oratory. The atmosphere became favorable to the BJP after the recent Assembly polls where it not only retained Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh but also snatched Rajasthan from the Congress. The game was heading Modi’s way till recently, but the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi has upset all calculations. The success of AAP should be an eye opener for not only the Congress but also the other political parties.

As for the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi the year 2014 will be a test of his vote catching capacity and his ability to continue the dynastic rule. The Congress may face the problem of the anti –incumbency, as the people are vexed with corruption and scams. Although Rahul has a clean slate, his baggage of the UPA government would be huge burden on him.

The year 2014 can also be described as the beginning of a new kind of politics after the installation of the Kejriwal government promising a corruption free rule. The AAP is already inside the corridors of power in Delhi and that itself is the biggest achievement. The AAP is now a serious contender for saffron party’s votes not only in Delhi but also in other metros. There are more than 200 urban seats where the AAP could cut into the BJP votes.

There could be third front but this might become a reality only after the elections as almost all the regional satraps like Mamata, Jayalalithaa, Naveen Patnaik and Nitish Kumar are keeping their options open and targeting to win the maximum number of seats in their respective states so that they could be in a bargaining position.

As for the Assembly polls, Congress is presently ruling in Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Arunachal Pradesh.  The anti incumbency is starting in its face where people are looking for an alternative. The Congress has made a mess in handling of the Andhra Pradesh by promising to bifurcate it. If separate Telengana is not created, the Congress will lose miserably in both Andhra and Telengana.

Indian economy has been affected by global factors as well as political inaction. It has been on the downslide in 2013. Goldman Sachs in its November 28 report has predicted that 2014 will be a transition year.  It all depends mainly on the formation of a stable government. A hung Parliament is a single biggest risk for the stock markets. Analysts also expect the banking and financial sectors might do well as well as telecom sector. The healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors may not perform well while Information technology could be looking up.

After a decade of stable foreign policy, the year 2014 brings uncertainty. The two pillars of Dr Singh’s foreign policy are to see a marked improvement in Indo- US ties and take trust building efforts with Pakistan to a new level. Singh’s foreign policy seems to be tatters on both counts. The year 2013 ended with the Devyani case souring the Indo – US relations. As far Pakistan hopes are being expressed about resuming Secretary level talks but it may suffer if BJP comes to power.

The year begins with the improved Indo-Japan ties. Soon after the Emperor’s visit, its prime minister will be the chief guest in the Republic Day parade this year. The Indo-Sri Lankan ties will be put under test once again in March when the UN Human Rights council meets. New Delhi also has to decide its Afghanistan policy after the US pulls out. Bangladesh election results will decide about our future ties. Nepal too is going through a difficult time.

The Sino Indian relations ended in 2013 with a more positive than negative tone. China’s new leadership exhibited positive vibes towards the Indian counterpart, which was missing since the 1950’s bonhomie. It is for the new government to build on this.

Altogether, the future course depends entirely on the new government for its domestic, economic and foreign policy and whether there will be a new shift.

IPA
Kalyani Shankar

Kalyani Shankar

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