State elections proved governance matters: Rahul Bajaj

Can the results of the state elections be extrapolated to next year’s general elections? Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-In-Chief, CNN IBN and Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto, confer to discuss.
  • Language
  • App
  • Subscriptions
  • Specials
  • Sign-In
  • Register
GeStepAhead GrowMyMoney IThe Winning Leap SME Special
Moneycontrol

Home » News » Current Affairs

Dec 12, 2008, 01.30 PM | Source: CNBC-TV18

State elections proved governance matters: Rahul Bajaj

Can the results of the state elections be extrapolated to next year’s general elections? Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-In-Chief, CNN IBN and Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto, confer to discuss.

Like this story, share it with millions of investors on M3

State elections proved governance matters: Rahul Bajaj

Can the results of the state elections be extrapolated to next year’s general elections? Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-In-Chief, CNN IBN and Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto, confer to discuss.

Post Your Comments

Share Cancel

Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto

The state elections, also hailed as the semi-finals running up to the next year’s general elections, have given their verdict. They have also thrown up some pretty good trends: pro-growth, pro-development chief ministers can win despite anti-incumbency. Can this be extrapolated to next year’s general elections? Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-In-Chief, CNN IBN and Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto discussed the implications of the results.

 

Bajaj said, “I am happy to see that what matters is performance and we in business want a pro-development, a pro-growth government at the centre and state. That’s why I am happy that Chhattisgarh has also fought anti-incumbency and has gone to BJP and Delhi has gone to Congress.”

 

Sardesai added, “We have seen that the [Delhi] election was in the end about who was the more effective administrator Sheila Dikshit of Congress or Vijay Kumar Malhotra of Bhartiya Janata Party. In a sense, Sheila Dikshit defeated anti- incumbency by simply providing good governance and that offers some positives to take away, not just for Sheila Dikshit but also in general for the political party system.”

 

Here is a verbatim transcript of Rahul Bajaj and Rajdeep Sardesai’s exclusive interview on CNBC’s show Your World at 10. Also watch the accompanying video.

 

Q: The thing that I took most hard from is the fact that Sheila Dikshit beat all the anti-incumbency expectations and yet retained Delhi and I think if that is any indication of what we can expect in the national elections next year, it would be very heartening. Would it be fair to read more into the way Sheila Dikshit has won?

 

Sardesai: No, I don’t think it would be. I think you are right just two days before Sheila Dikshit was having her big Delhi election, there were blasts and terror attacks in Mumbai and many thought that that would completely hijack this election and this election would not be about Sheila Dikshit’s 10 years in power, would not be about good governance but would be about terrorism. But instead we have seen that the election was in the end about who was the more effective administrator Sheila Dikshit of Congress or Vijay Kumar Malhotra of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The fact is people decided to repose faith in Sheila Dikshit because they saw her as to someone who made Delhi a better place to live in over the last ten years. So in a sense Sheila Dikshit has defeated anti- incumbency by simply providing good governance and that offers some positives to take away, not just for Sheila Dikshit but also in general for the political party system that if you provide effective good governance, the voter will vote you back.

 

Q: It is very encouraging and heartening to see the kind of victory Sheila Dikshit has managed for Delhi business as well as across citizen groups. This would be very encouraging for what can happen next year, won’t it?

 

Bajaj: Yes, according to me it is a semi-final. As far a particular state is considered, Delhi can be forerunner for the Parliament elections in Delhi and similarly the other five states but not necessarily the whole country. Similarly while other things being equal, maybe an anti-incumbency especially after two terms and something like what Mr. Sardesai was saying is valid. But I am happy to see that what matters is performance and we in business want a pro-development, a pro-growth government at the centre and state. That’s why I am happy that Chhattisgarh has also fought anti-incumbency and has gone to BJP. I am not so sure whether Delhi has gone to Congress, I believe Delhi has gone of course to the party but it has gone as much to Sheila Dikshit as to Congress.

 

Q: But that reiterates what everyone is saying that if you are a good chief minister with a clean image and an ability to deliver, you can win despite anti-incumbency. The other thing out of the five states we have had three mostly ally with the Congress, two with the BJP. In that sense, the vote hasn’t been as fractured as one would expect. Is this a harbinger of good news for next year’s election?

 

Sardesai: No, there I don’t agree at all. In fact, we in the media tend to hype this up as semi-final but in the semi-final, you have one loser and then the other goes to the final. The fact is that during the general election, both parties, Congress and BJP, will be around in the finals. The other important thing is the third front was not a contender in these elections Mayawati did play some kind of a spoiler possibly in Madhya Pradesh, in Chhattisgarh to some extent in Delhi. She got 12% votes in Delhi but it didn’t translate into seats. That really shows the overwhelming margin of Sheila Dikshit’s victory that despite Mayawati getting 12%, she has still won. But in the general elections, you will see the power of the third front.

 

As I believe that both the Congress and the BJP have much to learn from today’s victories and defeats. The Congress needs to learn from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh that it needs to get its act together in these crucial states. The BJP needs to learn also that you cannot have the older generation of leadership in states like Delhi, serving it for a much younger, demographically very different Delhi.

 

The nation is an aggregation of various state elections and in some of these states the third front and its leaders will do rather well. I think the bigger message is that leaders in states who provide effective governance, not necessarily in a flamboyant manner could be understated like Nitish Kumar in Bihar or Naveen Patnaik in Orissa will do well. Voters want people whom they believe are at least making the effort to provide good governance. So, coming general elections you can still get a fractured verdict but you will get a verdict for those leaders, who are seem to be committed to some kind of good governance in most parts of the country.

 

Q: I think if there is anything that business wanted, they wanted a clear cut conclusive victory on either side whether it is Congress or BJP to ensure continuity of policymaking and no kind of fractured decision-making. So, based on what Mr. Sardesai is saying, do you feel a bit discouraged by the fact that may be we could have had more polarised voting, but we didn’t?

 

Bajaj: I would put it little differently though Mr. Sardesai knows it better than I do. Fractured votes of what we are worried about in the industry is not that four states will be in one way and the other four states will be the other way, to some extent that does affect us. What matters is, in the Parliament, or in a particular assembly is a vote fractured or not, if a particular assembly the vote is relative there can’t be a two party assembly — but if not too fractured, then we are comfortable. The government should be able to function.

 

Q: We have very few months to go for the general elections now. How would you expect the Congress and the BJP to rework their strategies both in terms of projecting the right kind of leaders and in fact there is very little time left to do any changes on ground, so it is only the way they mark themselves that will matter between now and March next year?

 

Sardesai: Yes, I think both parties will have to learn their lessons from this election. We have seen with the BJP that if they try to make terrorism the centre of their campaign they will find that alone will not work, you can’t just say that this election is about national security, it is about terrorism. You need to provide something more, you need to provide good governance of the kind that on a relative scale Shivraj Singh Chauhan provided. You also cannot be even seen as an inaccessible, autocratic leader, at the end of the day Vasundhara Raje did provide development for Rajasthan but she was seen as autocratic and inaccessible and her own party ganged up against her. So, you have got to be a united party. As Sheila Dikshit showed you can defeat anti-incumbency, even if you are a 71-year-old, the youngsters will relate to you if you are seen as someone who is committed to good governance.

 

So, I think both the parties have to recognize that there are divisive issues and there are issues that unite, whichever party is able to suggest that these are issues for an aspirational society, which are issues that unite us as Indians. I think that party will do better quite apart of course from alliance arithmetic and coalition arithmetic that becomes so important in the general elections.

 

So, to that extent the challenge is both before Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on one side and LK Advani on the other to some how or the other, to be seen as a leader who can provide that kind of untied, visionary leadership for the future, whichever of them is able to package himself or herself better will be the one who will relate to a new India. We have got to understand that the demographics of India is changing Sheila Dikshit understood that, which is why she has succeeded in reaching out to the young, as much as she has reached out to the old, to the middle class, as much as to the lower income. Between the BJP and the Congress, we will have to now see who in the next three-four months is able to reach out both to the aam admi and the khas admi.

Buy, Hold, Sell ? Hear it first on M3
State elections proved governance matters: Rahul Bajaj

See all

Get started using your favorite social network

or

Login using moneycontrol ID

Username
Password

Need help logging in? Reset password.

Don´t have an account? Sign Up

Get started using your favorite social network

or

Simply sign up using this short form

* mandatory

UserName*

Username should be atleast 4 character

Password*

Password should be 8 or more characters,
atleast 1 number, 1 symbol & 1 upper case letter

Alert

Your Password should contain
  • 8 or more characters
  • At least 1 number
  • At least 1 symbol
  • At least 1 upper case letter
Confirm Password*
Email
Already have an account? Login