India Inc draws a blank, voters give the mandate back to professional politicians
Election 2014 has made a mockery of many conventional theories about India’s political arena—the politics of caste, religion and dole being the foremost. Less noticed, but equally important, is what the voters had to say about outsourcing governance, to civil society and, by extension, to corporate India. The outsourcing of governance, of course, really began when Sonia Gandhi decided to set up the National Advisory Council as a quasi-government, an assortment of well-meaning individuals. With governance firmly outsourced, in the sense the NAC’s pet ideas were implemented by the UPA, and the government on the back foot due to various scams, it was only natural that the NAC baton got passed on to Anna Hazare. When the Hazare movement morphed—split?—into the Aam Aadmi Party, it did become part of mainstream politics. But the AAP, despite being a political party, was essentially an outsider—to use the Election Commission’s jargon, NOTA.
Another group, India Inc, joined the NOTA bandwagon. Unlike AAP which was just seen as a bunch of do-gooders with no practical experience, India Inc’s representatives such as Nandan Nilekani and V Balakrishnan had even run corporate enterprises—in the case of Nilekani, he has also run a tremendously successful Aadhar project which, had the political class agreed to, could have changed the face of delivering dole to the poor. Yet, by giving AAP just 4 seats and none at all to India Inc, the public seems to have decided that the political mandate should remain with the political class—as long as it delivers.