India's Revolutionary Restoration

Truly, the day before India's stunning election results were announced was the quiet before the storm. Instead of bold pronouncements by the parties, there were quiet calculations about possible alliances because everyone was predicting a hung parliament. But May 12th saw a 'tandava', a form of Indian dance which turns everything topsy-turvy, a dance of doom.

Indeed, India's politics was turned upside down, with the Congress Party, seemingly lifeless and leaderless, suddenly rebounding to claim victory. With that victory comes a restoration of the Nehru/Gandhi family that has dominated politics here since independence half a century ago.

The biggest factor in this stunning upset was voter anger at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The ruling BJP, the major partner of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had brought the country unprecedented rates of growth, but its policies and, more importantly, its language seemed to ignore the vast majority of poor Indians who had benefited little from the country's new high tech economy. The BJP campaigned as if it deserved a coronation for the many good changes they brought. But instead of a coronation, India's voters preferred a restoration of the Gandhis.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.