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The people with the flag and their future ahead

The people of India have liked the results of the experiment they tried in 2014. Now, the real story begins


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The last time a Prime Minister of India served a full term and was returned with an increased majority was in 1962, some 57 years ago. I don't know anything much about that time. However, this is a different kind of an election. 2014 was an experiment by the electorate, and at least partly a reaction to the ten years before that. But in 2019 the story has moved far ahead. In scientific terms, it was as if in the 2014 experiment, the electorate was testing a hypothesis. Now, it has declared the experiment a success and has moved forward.

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In a way, the real work for Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts now. Till now, what Modi has demonstrated is intent, the beginning of action, and a strong start to delivery in many areas. From here onwards, the game gets tougher in some ways, and easier in others. A short distance from the Value Research building in Noida, there's a small tea and snacks shop on a pavement, of a kind of which there are probably a few lakh in the country. An entire family runs it, and lives in it as well. As the Lok Sabha results are coming in, they've planted a wooden stick outside their shop with a somewhat ragged national flag on it. This flag probably carries more meaning than the grand one that Prime Ministers have always unfurled at Red Fort. The Red Fort ceremony has been happening for decades, but this little one is a new phenomena. This samosa shop flag is like a stake driven into the ground, a claim on a piece of the future. And make no mistake, those who have put it up know very well who they expect to deliver that future.

Early in this election campaign, some of the usual suspects had floated a theory that this was a low-key, waveless election. Maybe it was, for those of us who are jaded with one thing or another. However, it was nothing of the kind for a majority of the electorate. Once the voting began, the polling rates made it clear that these elections were quite the opposite.

For those of us who are professionally or otherwise involved in business, or investments, or generally think of the economy in formal terms, it's easy to look ahead and feel a little overwhelmed. We were stumbling along, without too much hope and too much expectations but now the vast sea of humanity that has driven the flag into the ground and that may be a frightening prospect for many.

However, the thing about long journeys is that often, it's better to periodically look back and note how far we have come along, rather than look ahead and get overwhelmed by how far one has to go. It's a common experience when people start investing with a big financial goal in mind. Once you start heading for your goal, then, after a while, a look back shows how far one has come.

The last five years are that backward glance that gives confidence. Five years ago, I would hardly have believed possible how much would get done in terms of cleaning up the past laying the foundation of future growth. From GST to the NPA cleanup to the bankruptcy laws, to the tax-theft cleanup and so many other things, each pain point of the economy is like a bitter medicine that'll go towards curing the disease.

Now, the icing on the cake is the enormous mandate that Narendra Modi has been handed by the people. Sometimes, I see people write that India should ideally have a coalition government. Frankly, that's one of the foolishest things that anyone can say about India. With this mandate, and a proven track record of being a doer, everyone with a flag has a future to look forward to.

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