The political equations are changing. Alignments and realignments between political parties and their leaders are on. The BJP hopes to regain the momentum in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Some of the Opposition parties wish to unite, and project a winning individual as an alternative PM. Our cover story focuses on one of the most likely candidates, Mamata Banerjee. At present, the West Bengal chief minister, like many other leaders, is exploring several options. The situation is likely to remain in a flux over the next three years until the 2024 national elections.
While issues related to politics, caste, class, young and first-time voters, women supporters, and electoral math will be crucial, the country’s future PM needs to convince the nation that she or he is an able administrator. Governance, growth, and development (especially of the underprivileged communities) will be paramount in the minds of the voters when they elect the next PM in 2024. Like Narendra Modi did in 2014, Mamata and other potential candidates need to prove that they have a sustainable, workable and scalable governance model.
Over the past several years, governance and development, more than growth, have emerged as critical issues for citizens. If they feel that the ruling regimes, at the Centre and states, deliver on these two counts, they are more than happy to elect and re-elect them. For almost a decade, before the Covid crisis and a few years before the BJP came to power in 2014, the country’s growth has dwindled. However, Modi’s electoral successes, despite a few reverses, prove that if the PM can offer a legitimate, open and transparent governance model, and initiate schemes and policies to foster prosperity, he or she is likely to remain in power.
In this issue, we also focus on how Corporate India responded to the pandemic. The economy tanked, businesses were disrupted due to full and partial lockdowns, millions lost their jobs or witnessed salary cuts, and deaths stalked the country. Some of the members of India Inc did rise to the challenge and used their mandatory CSR funds to improve lives and livelihoods. They arranged for hospital beds, medicines, oxygen supplies, dry rations, and other needs of the suffering families.
From this issue onwards, we start a new series to analyse the impact of three decades of reforms, which were unleashed in 1991. Our first piece is on banking, and the next one will be on telecom and connectivity. Diplomacy and global issues will feature regularly, and this month’s article is on the challenges before India as it re-thinks its policies on the Taliban and Afghanistan. Hope you enjoy this issue, which has insightful and exciting pieces by the best writers in journalism.