Vote considering the Long term benefits than thinking aabout short term benefits

As the world's biggest exercise in democracy gets underway, there is a sense of expectation and anticipation. With an electorate of 714 million

people eligible to vote, there is a tremendous opportunity for the people of India to elect a government that will deliver results and improve the growth trajectory of the country.

In the present election environment of personal attacks and popular slogans, it is important to look at the long term implications and a concrete developmental agenda.

India's parliamentary elections are taking place at a time when the world is at a crossroads and the country has emerged as a highly significant global voice.

While at one level the elections are necessarily about domestic challenges such as economic development and security, at another level they are also about the role India can play in shaping the world as the largest pluralistic democracy.

It is from the perspective of the role India ought to play on the global stage, especially in light of the global financial meltdown and associated opportunities for India and the world, that it is important that a clear verdict emerge.

The presence of a large number of regional parties in our polity affirms the vibrant nature of democracy in India. However, after laying the foundation for a great economy since 1991, India cannot afford to squander away all its gains and strengths because of a fractured mandate.

The country needs a clearly defined economic, social, political, educational, cultural and scientific agenda and the ability to execute it.

Like all elections, this one too is about the future. It is about the future of 550 million people below the age of 25. Equally, it is about hundreds of millions of Indians who still languish on the margins of society and are denied basic opportunities.

We owe it to them to produce a government that is not constrained by competing regional ambitions, but instead governed by a nationally collective vision for the 21st century.

One aspect of this collective vision should arise from the recognition that India can be the most effective counter against the rising tide of violent fundamentalism in the subcontinent which has a direct bearing on the stability of the world.

India can use its position as a responsible and stable democracy to galvanise international efforts towards regional stability.

However, unless New Delhi has a government that is free from the compulsions of balancing coalition demands and short-term rent seeking, it cannot concentrate on effectively combating the destabilising forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This inability can have serious consequences for India's own future and security.

The core of this collective vision should focus on creating inclusive growth strategies that seek to lift hundreds of millions of people at subsistence level to a better quality of life. Unless we have a government that is not looking over its shoulder about who might be out to dislodge it, it is not possible to put in place long-term plans and rational policy for overall progress and prosperity.

We must not create a situation where the country's prime minister has to continuously balance his priorities between pleasing coalition partners and the development agenda for the country.


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