Overconfidence kills the cat, but not always


Overconfidence killed the cat. The results of the June 8 general election in the United Kingdom suggest nothing else but this. Prime Minister Theresa May, who was a sitting prime minister with a comfortable working majority in the House of Commons, decided to call a general election three years before it was due. Even as the Conservatives emerge as the single largest party, Tories finished the election with 318 seats, eight short of the 326 needed for a majority. For now, Theresa may be able to stitch a hung parliament, but she is not likely to hang on to power for long. An inward-looking anti-immigration policy and running a lacklustre campaign may have acted as political liability for her.

Just imagine, what would happen if our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose majority government recently completed three years in power, decides to go for a premature polls in coming weeks. “Growth for all” slogan helped him catapult in the government head’s chair in 2014. Since then, inflation is down to a record low of 3%; fiscal deficit has dropped; growth is at 7% despite demonetisation pangs; and the country has surplus electricity. The GST, despite its flaws, is being termed as game-changer. The bankruptcy code, easing of FDI limits, auctioning of natural resources, self-attestation of documents are few other achievements for which Modi government should be applauded.

But all is not rosy. India needs to create 34.35 crore jobs by 2028, that is 3-4 crore jobs every year. “At current speed, the government will take 1,560 years to create as many jobs,” Congress general secretary and former Union minister CP Joshi recently said. The latest curbs on the H1-B professional visa, which is widely used by the Indian IT professionals to work in the US, has added to the country’s employment woes.

Majority of the Muslims, Dalits and farmers are upset with the present government over their maltreatment. The incidents of mob lynching, hooliganism and attack on religious places have become regular occurence. Women abuse and rape cases have increased manifold while crores allocated for the Nirbhaya Fund for initiatives to support women’s safety and dignity lie unused. Increasing instabilty in Kashmir and rising tension at boders add to negative markings of the government’s performance. Upset over beef ban, thousands of BJP workers are quitting the party.
However, the party’s confidence seems to be in tact. The reason is: BJP has 1,387 legislators in the country, governments in 13 states and with 330 MPs is the biggest party in the Parliament. At global level, BJP is still boasting itself to be the world’s biggest party with 11 crore members. BJP President Amit Shah is going around calling names to Father of the Nation. Suppose, amid all these developments, BJP, Modi or Election Commission, for some reason, decides to hold a premature election like the one in the UK. Can any one guess what will be the outcome? No, not really. Indians are very different from their European counterparts. Most of them have a very different set of criteria and priorities while they go out to cast their votes. The party’s overconfidence may make it even stronger. But then, these are just hypothetical assumptions.