Two days to go for counting and declaration of results. I hereby stick my neck out and make my prediction. Modi will win. And I don’t think ideology has much to do with it.
After Krishna and Chandrababu lost in 2004, and PVN got mauled in 1996, it has fashionable to say that development won’t win elections. I think it has more to do with impact of development. The reforms ushered in by PVN didn’t touch the common man immediately. The change in economic ideology had no impact on them. He wasn’t “seen” by the common man (and the common man doesn’t watch budget speeches on TV) to be doing much good. And got trounced.
Krishna and Naidu fared worse. They actually made a meaningful impact, but went out. They were seen as do-gooders. Unfortunately, they did significantly more good for a certain section of society as against other the rest of society. And unfortunately for them, the section that? got left out was significantly larger. And they bit the dust.
From what people tell me, and what I read in the paper, Modi seems to have done better. Two things catch my eye – the rural electrification program and some scheme for education for girls. The latter is supposed to have increased school enrolment among girls to a whopping 97% (Source: Today’s business standard. Can’t find the link). The former is supposed to have electrified an even larger proportion of villages. Barring a couple of hundred villages, the rest are supposed to receive 24 x 7 3 phase power supply.
If the above is true, there is no way Modi can lose. Two things he has done that both PVN and the southern CMs missed out. Firstly, the reforms have made an impact during his tenure. It’s there for people to see before they vote again. Secondly, and more importantly, they have been broad-based. In his biggest achievements, I don’t see that he has favored any group over another, so the reforms haven’t alienated anyone, as they did to rural Karnataka when Krishna was CM.
While we are at it, another point to mention here is Chidambaram’s statement regarding the massive increase in Gujarat’s debt burden during Modi’s tenure. Coming from the national Finance Minister, this statement ought to be taken seriously. If it is indeed right, it’s hard to see why the Congress didn’t make a bigger issue of it. If the figures are wrong, the BJP can disrupt the budget session of parliament demanding the FM’s resignation.
Footnote: The last time I made a prediction on my blog, I went wrong. I had predicted that Punjab would get relegated in the Ranji Trophy. And riding on the back of a VRV hat-trick, they made a superb second innings comeback to beat Orissa and thus avoid relegation. Hopefully my forecasts are better this time.