By Vivek Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, July 18, 2019: The astounding victory by BJP led NDA, and a clear mandate for Narendra Modi for second term has stunned media, opposition, critics and pundits alike. The columnists and analysts have made foregone conclusions as to what would come in next five years, and many have resigned to the fate that right wing dominance with all its accompaniments and consequences in the country would prevail for many more years to come.

The fragmented Opposition seems to have lost hopes, become despondent and appear to be listless. The only exception was an impassioned eloquent speech delivered by debutant Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on the floor of the Parliament making her a celebrity. Every defeat brings this kind of reaction. Many have concluded that this is the final victory, and almost end of history. People have written off Congress, seen as the end of the dynasty, and demise of regional parties and caste based politics.

If one reads history and goes back into the past such outstanding majority was not unknown, near vanquishing of Opposition was not unprecedented, nor for that matter such an atmosphere of despondency was not unusual When Indira Gandhi in 1971 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 won the elections in such a massive majority similar frustration and gloom had gripped the Opposition. Media and intellectuals had concluded that leftist would continue forever, and Nehru-Gandhi family was unbeatable.

Similarly, when the Soviet Union collapsed most in the West, and many in the developing world thought of saying goodbye to socialism and looked to liberal capitalist model as the panacea. Even the famous political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote in “The End of History and the Last man”, hailing the victory of democracy and liberal society. Time showed that Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were both defeated after a few years. Dictatorships called by whatever name have reappeared in the world.

Liberal economy as a model suffered such a humiliating setback after the global financial crisis of 2008 with obliteration of Lehman Brothers even the leading capitalist like Buffet wanted to read Karl Marx. Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st century is an eye opener to the growing inequality in the society and Nobel laureate Atkinson’s book “Inequality”, followed by Oxfam’s study of global monopoly of wealth have many followers in the world.

How will future evolve it is very difficult to predict. Cataclysmic change of technology like internet, unexpected war whether regional war like two Gulf wars or the local wars like Vietnam war, war in Afghanistan, rapid climatic change and natural disasters can have unpredictable fall out and the consequences on countries, regions and the world. Defeat in the Vietnam War had debilitating effect on morale of the American regime. Seizure of the US embassy in Teheran brought an end to the presidency of Carter. The Afghan war had brought severe economic burden on Soviet Union, and it finally paved the way for disintegration of the Soviet system and socialist bloc. Second Gulf war paved the way for rise of monstrous ISIS, and instability in the Middle East. The Arab spring brought instability to Egypt and led to internecine war in Libya.

Tension in the Middle East after sabre rattling between USA, and Iran and unending trade war between USA and China, increasing US sanctions on Iran, continuing hostility of Europe towards Putin’s Russia, unpredictable Trump, and obstinacy of Kim of North Korea can have far reaching consequences on the global and regional stability. While Caliphate has been defeated but not ISIS. Lone wolves are still out there. Attack in Sri Lanka showed its ugly teeth.

Oil prices are now highly unstable and it could cause spurt in prices with OPEC cuts in production. India heavily dependent on import of oil may face inflationary pressure. In 1971 Indira Gandhi had unpredictable electoral victory and she won the Bangladesh war. She was riding on apex of glory and enjoyed massive popularity. Then came unprecedented drought and crop failure in 1972 .It was followed by Israel and Egypt war which brought in historic rise in global oil price followed by runaway inflation. India did not escape this phenomenon. People in India distressed by crop failure caused by drought and rising prices were distraught. This is the time when JP movement took roots. What followed thereafter is well known.

Although it was not being admitted during the election heat the government has now acknowledged the gigantic problem it is now going to face first due to large scale unemployment and slowing down of economy. Whether this impending crisis can be solved through foreign investment or private sector is a million dollar question. Only window visible now is through public sector expenditure which would strain fiscal balance.

Much to the chagrin of protagonists of capitalism, globalization, privatization and liberalization, this would only mean entry of socialism covertly. If there is drought and crop failure the farmers’ distress would remain unmitigated. May God forbid, any galloping of oil prices would bring inflation which the country saw during the dying days of UPA II. Modi 2 has to watch this.

The subcontinent of India is a complex geographic entity with all its heterogeneity. All rulers from the times of Maurya to Moghuls to the British had recognized this and administered accordingly taking into account such diversity. After the independence from the British, political nation that came into existence led by wise founding fathers like Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar, Azad, Rajendra Prasad and Rajgopalachari was based on the constitution which recognized this historical diversity.

Whichever political party comes to power with whatever majority is circumscribed by the constitution and the tradition the fledgling nation has imbibed in last seven decades. The country has seen socialism at its commanding heights with bank and insurance nationalization and abolition of privy purses and progressive economic liberalism with dismantling of license-permit raj and foreign direct investment in many key sectors like defense, aviation etc. apart from entry of foreign institutional investment into capital market.

The present political regime has matured over last five years and aware of reactions and responses of opposition parties, media, bureaucracy, civil society, constitutional bodies, judicature and finally people. They have also experienced defeats, resistance, and not easy walkovers. What the future awaits the nation is unpredictable.

Nevertheless, it is worth paying heed to what Nicholas Nassim Taleb says in his latest doctrine about structure in a city which will survive in time is the one which has remained for the longest years. By extending that theory to political domain it can be said that what has endured for long many years would remain no matter who comes to power with what majority. Greed, jealousy, chicanery, lobbying, undercutting, and defection will survive so also caste loyalty, religious affinity, language division, ethnic tension and economic disparity.

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