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13 Dec, 2013

Modi’s last lap – Al Jazeera English

When India attained independence from British rule in 1947, its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, made a finely nuanced speech about its “tryst with destiny”. Sixty-seven years later, India has certainly secured a functioning electoral democracy that ensures a regular change of regimes both at the centre, and in the multiple states that constitute the world’s most populous nation after China.

But mobilising voter blocks for competitive electoral politics has made the functioning of democracy itself, about regional, religious or caste identities, and increasingly, about big money. Rarely do politicians offer any idealism or lofty thoughts.

A very different vision from Nehru’s now confronts India with the right wing Hindu nationalist force, the BJP, certain to be the single largest party in the next parliament when national elections take place in the spring of 2014. This has been confirmed by the results of four state elections certified on December 8.

The ruling Congress party is in terminal decline, and the waning charisma of its leaders appears to have all but evaporated in the face of huge inflation of prices, including everyday essentials like vegetables. The BJP is marching ahead, though this election was also marked by the successful launch of the Aam Admi Party [AAP] that translates into Common Man Party, in the city-state of Delhi.

Read the rest: Modi’s last lap – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.