This guest post was contributed by Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He notes two surprises in the outcome of India’s recently concluded election and suggests that India offers an alternative model of development for much of the world.
The results from the Indian elections point to a victory for the incumbent Congress party and its allies. Congress was led de jure by the economist-turned-politician Dr. Manmohan Singh and de facto by the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, who is part of the Nehru family, which has been a force in Indian politics since the late 1800s and provided three Prime Ministers.
Two casualties of the election have been the Communists who resisted economic policy reform and opposed the nuclear agreement between India and the United States, and the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP.
Going forward, these results augur well for Indian economic policy reform. The Congress will be numerically strong enough not to have to rely on partners for political support and will be able to push through new policy initiatives.
Another likely consequence is that the Nehru family will probably provide India, not immediately but within the next couple of years, with its fourth Prime Minister—Rahul Gandhi, son of Rajiv Gandhi, grandson of Indira Gandhi, and great grandson of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
These results are surprising for two reasons. Indian elections have traditionally been characterized by the phenomenon of anti-incumbency: ruling politicians get routinely thrown out of power. This government is the first in over 40 years that has been re-elected after a full term in office. Continue reading “Guest Post: Interpreting The Indian Election”