In a democracy, people vote a party (or parties) into government so that their ‘lives will be better’. That phrase, of course, is more complex than it seems. What makes life in the case of one person ‘better’ may not be true in the case of another person.
Under normal circumstances, an election is fought and won/lost on roti, kapda and makan issues. Other issues may intrude on the consciousness of the voter as she enters the polling station but, in normal circumstances, she will vote for more food, more job opportunities, more wages/income, better water and sanitation, better schools, better health care, better roads, better transport and so on. She will also vote for better security and a life without fear, without violence and without oppression.
In a multi-party democracy, a 31 per cent vote share undoubtedly qualifies as a clear mandate for the winner — the BJP led by Mr Narendra Modi — in the 2014 election. What resonated through the length and breadth of the country was ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and the promise of ‘achhe din’.
Counting the Reforms
At the end of three years, it is natural to make an assessment of the government’s performance. I have already written on internal security and Kashmir (May 7, 2017) and on the rise of intolerance and the damage it is doing to the constitutional fabric of the country (May 14, 2017). While those concerns are important, the more important concern is the state of the economy — and its impact on the promise of a ‘better life’.