Time to Bring Mahatma Gandhi Back

Many believe that the unexpected landslide victory of India's Congress Party – with its commitment to secular values, economic growth, and helping the poor – provides a mandate to transform India into a great power. But, while the economic trajectory that Congress is plotting may well boost short-term growth, it is ultimately on a collision course with equity and sustainability.

NEW YORK – The Congress Party’s unexpected landslide in India’s general election was greeted with euphoria. Many believe that Congress – with its commitment to secular values, economic growth, and helping the poor – now has a mandate to transform India into a great power. Business and financial interests, in particular, are delighted with the outcome, crowing about the bonanza about to be unleashed as Congress liberalizes India’s economy further.

The Americans are happy that India’s pesky left, reduced to a paltry 24 seats, has been all but eliminated from national government. India’s Communists had tried to topple the Congress-led government last year in an attempt to scuttle the nuclear deal brokered by the United States, and had vowed to upend it.

As for the threat from the right, anyone hoping for peace in the region and reduced tensions within India between religious communities is relieved by the defeat of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP’s strategy of painting the Congress as soft on terror and demonizing Muslims as an existential threat to India badly misfired.

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