The extent and comprehensiveness of Mr. Modi and BJP’s victory has surprised everyone, and raised the hopes from his government even more than they already were.
Indeed, when one party gets a clear majority in 30 years — hopes and expectations are bound to be high, and when that majority is driven by a leader who appears to be strong willed, and transformational, that just adds tremendously to everyone’s expectations.
The current generation has never been so passionate about politics, and the highest ever turnout shows how important people thought these elections were, and how deeply they felt about it.
Now that the results are out, and Mr. Modi has a thumping majority – people want to see changes, and see those changes fast.
The very nature of democracies makes it hard for them to move fast, and my sense is that you will not see a lot of sweeping changes very quickly, and the inflation rate that has been terribly high in the last few years will remain high for some time to come.
You would probably see small things, and indeed the absence of some things that will tell you things are headed in the right direction.
The absence of certain actions is perhaps as important as the presence of some actions. For example – you don’t want to see the finance ministry interfering with how the RBI works, as it is one of the few institutions in the country that is doing a good job.
You don’t want to see the tax authorities going after corporates — foreign or domestic with retrospective changes to rules, and changing the rules of the game long after it started.
You definitely don’t want to see the government announcing a policy, then backtracking on it, and causing confusion among all involved.
And you certainly don’t want to hear politicians talk about regulating social media.
The number of things you want to see happen is perhaps endless, and range from big things like allowing FDI in retail, initiating massive infrastructure projects with private partnership, bringing back the Direct Tax Code, cutting oil subsidies, or relatively smaller things like picking up the disinvestment pace, and bringing changes to visa rules boosting tourism in the country.
Ultimately, everything good or bad will be reflected in numbers and a year from now, you can look at the current account deficit, or the fiscal deficit, the inflation numbers, or even something simpler like the forex reserves or the Rupee Dollar exchange rate to see how things are faring, and those numbers will tell you the whole story.
This is a great win for Mr. Modi, and he certainly recognizes this as the tide that will let him travel far, let’s just hope the country isn’t confined to shallow waters when he does that.