Monday, October 17, 2011

How would Rahul Gandhi govern India?

Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi plan to focus first on Uttar Pradesh, which holds statewide elections in 2012. If the brother-sister tandem does well, Rahul's chances in the next national elections, and those of Congress at large, would improve considerably.

As for the next question -- how Rahul would actually govern -- the answer will depend on whom he chooses to listen to. Well-informed observers in New Delhi note that, so far, he has relied mostly on advisers close to his mother. If he continues to do the same, the result will be incremental and mostly unimaginative policy choices. Steps toward economic liberalization would be halting, populist programs would continue apace, and internal reform of the party would remain in abeyance.

To seriously address the most difficult of India's endemic ills, Rahul would need to demonstrate a new level of imagination, verve, and decisiveness. That would mean not just good political optics but undertaking actual policy initiatives that solve the dilemma of land acquisition, the stubborn issue of judicial reform, and the country's seemingly intractable security problems. Flashy moves for the cameras may draw the praise of family and party power brokers, but they will leave much to be desired for a bold new national leader on the Indian stage.
Sumit Ganguly in Foreign Affairs. Here

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