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Opinion poll corner – India

Back to another of my favourite places. Polling by the Hindustan Times makes for happy reading for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, in that if elections had been held in January the UPA would have won an outright majority, gaining seats at the expense of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

Both the BJP and Congress are clearly wed to sane economics, and although there are various breeds of Lefties floating around at least one of the Indian parties with a far left identifying name has been keen on privatisation. Not, however, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) , judging from its equivalent of The Worker, which reports on CPI(M)’s affiliated trade union congress: "With a call ‘Forward To Bigger Class Battles’ Pandhe ended his speech saying, ‘We shall overcome one day!’ "

This rabble, plus sundry others form a third group, the Left Front, which with 59 seats holds the balance of power. They are currently supporting the UPA.

A bit more rooting around shows that coalition building in India must be a rather complex process – 39 parties are represented in the Lok Sabha, plus five independents. Congress and the BJP secured less than half of the total vote in 2003, although they are clearly the Big Beasts – the next biggest party, our chums at the CPI(M) took 5.7% of the vote, and the Bahujan Samaj Party, that of the Dalits (or ‘untouchables’) 5.3%.

Just for a point of comparison, there are ten parties plus two independents in Westminster, 10 parties in Moscow, 11 in Paris and six in Berlin.

As a footnote, Sir William Wedderburn, 4th Baronet, was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress.

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Anonymous Anonymous said... 10:42 pm

I am amazed at how in 10 or so years Indian politics has undergone a rpaid change to be pro-market and pro-growth.

This has engendered huge benefits for the country and probably done more than anything else to lower real poverty levels across the world.

Oh for such a revolution in Blighty.  



Anonymous Colin said... 10:56 pm

It seems that they saw that China became more powerful after pro-market reforms and they didn't want to be left behind.  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 11:01 pm

Agree Colin. Pushed to reform by the communists. You could not make it up.  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 11:06 pm

Post independence India has been blighted by 50 years of crap socialism courtesy of the anti-colonialist fantasy movements. Maybe the country has finally grown up and escaped this trap. Africa seems to have another 50 years of death, starvations self induced failure etc to go before it can escape these fantasies.  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 11:06 pm

Post independence India has been blighted by 50 years of crap socialism courtesy of the anti-colonialist fantasy movements. Maybe the country has finally grown up and escaped this trap. Africa seems to have another 50 years of death, starvations self induced failure etc to go before it can escape these fantasies.  



Anonymous verity said... 11:49 pm

Colin and City Unslicker, with respect, simplistic and wrong.

India was not driven by pushing its nose up against the window of China and thinking, "Oh, us too!" These two moves forward occurred sponaneously and independently of one another.

China had the immense good fortune of having Lee Kwan Yew as an advisor (although a Han, he speaks fluent Mandarin). As the creator of Singapore, he enjoys immense respect in China and the advice he has given them has been pragmatic (the Chinese love pragmatic) and based on experience of creating one of the most successful economies in the world.

I love to see them moving forward and not only welcome them, but I want to see them a world power.

India, on the other hand, began to move ahead when the mort main of the Mahatama Gandhi (who I dislike with great intensity) and Nehru and his daughter Indira and her son Rajiv began to fade into the mists of history and they junked their reverential attitude to socialism. (It didn't help that they had been one of the "non-aligned" - meaning client state of the USSR - nations at the same time.)

Look at the Indians in Britain and you will see little but achievement. Now picture an entire country full of those people. Once given their head, they began to surge forward. I am thrilled for them. Of course, they're not all bright,energetic and ambitious, but the numbers who are are large enough to create a surge.

It had absolutely nothing to do with China, Colin. This has been simmering for a long time and is now on a rolling boil.


Mutley The Dog is correct. but comparing India, a country with a very long pedigree of intellectual achievement (they invented zero, for example) and millions of achievers, with Africa, a continent of continous failure for 50 years - although, in terms of natural resources, the richest on earth - makes no sense from any standpoint. India's a country. (With few natural resources, by the way.)  



Anonymous newmania said... 9:47 am

Verity surely it was the Arabs that invented zero ?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 9:49 am

N - Nope. What we call 'Arabic' numerals are actually Indian.  



Anonymous verity said... 1:34 pm

Croydonian is correct. The concept of zero, and also the writing of 'arabic' numberals, is Indian and passed through the Middle East, thence to Europe where we employed them eagerly.

Side fact: Independently, the Chinese also discovered the concept of zero at, I believe, approximately the same time, as did the Mayas on the other side of the Atlantic. (The Mayas also created a completely, to the second, accurate calendar that they project forward daily for around 1500 years. It stops in 2012. On the final day of the final year, there is an ominous notation: Tony Blair still PM of UK. Just kidding. (I trust.)  



Anonymous verity said... 1:36 pm

Probably someone on the Silk Route encounted 'arabic' numerals in the ME on his way through, and thought they must be Arabic and that's how the misunderstanding arose.  



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