By Anang Pal Malik
Congress model of development and governance is simple:
When in power, distribute freebies, increase MSP beyond all calculations of market, waive off loans, win second term. Enjoy all the pelf and power during all these years. Use power to oblige persons all around.
During the years in power, create sine cures for the faithfuls, create alternative power centres—unelected, unaccountable—the Commissions, the Tribunals. Pack them all with The Dynasty loyalists. With media houses, put quid pro quos in place, have relatives of its own politicians put in positions of power in media. Create a bureaucratic top brass, through postings to lucrative posts, loyal to The Dynasty. In short, create a permanent Deep State in Delhi sympathetic and loyal to The Dynasty.
Inflation gets out of control, jobs disappear, unemployment soars, balance of payment goes out of hand, credit rating of the country is revised downward, but media and academia makes sure that The Dynasty never gets the flak.
As the economy tanks by the end of the second term, election is lost.
Along comes a Morarjee/Rao/Vajpayee/Modi who takes all the unpopular, painful decisions, puts the economy back together again. Of course sometimes some Bhinderawale intrudes and decides to put to use all the unemployed youth. Make it look like an assault on the country and use even that to win an election.
Even after losing the election, continue enjoying all the power and pelf thanks to the loyalists in bureaucracy, academia and media. Commissions and Tribunals continue to harass and paralyse the duly elected government. Effectively making sure that Congress may be out of office, but it is never out of power.
Use media to continuously malign the government, to create huge negative image. Create the impression that the government is skinning the poor and the peasants to feed the rich. Using loyalists in bureaucracy run whisper campaigns, and engineer “leaks” and vicious rumours about the working of the government.
So even as the economy is pulled back from the brink, the man doing all the pulling back, doing heavy lifting, is made out a villain, and duly loses the elections.
With Congress duly back in office, repeat the whole cycle, starting with freebies again.
This has many dangerous flaws though.
Congress has lost many states permanently to the regional leaders who could beat it in populism, freebies, and profligacy. Those states themselves have been effectively run into ground, as some prudent leader doesn’t get to alternate between the populist leaders’ terms.
Some Bhinderawale someday may get through the barricades around Delhi.
And the over all curve of economy is always going down and down. So even as the economy is pulled back from the brink by likes of Modi, it doesn’t come back to the point where from it started sliding down. It will someday reach the point of implosion and collapse.
And of course this also tells us about the national character in India. After all, the model can not succeed without willing accomplices in the bureaucracy, the academia, and the media who man the Deep State. Evidently they sell their conscience and their country for the power the positions in the apparatus of Deep State bring.
What a country becomes depends solely on the character of its ruling elite.