Shankkar Aiyar writes about Kumbaya, a pejorative, slang for naïve idealism about rosy-eyed hope of unity in India's current political landscape.
"The good news is that a semblance of competition is visible on India’s political landscape. This week West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in Delhi after a historic victory, gave the clarion call of Khela Hobe 2024. The meetings with Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, and Arvind Kejriwal et al are for now at best Kodak moments. As yet, the ‘Unite to defeat Modi’ quest is an idea without a plan."
"India’s political economy is no stranger to coalition governments – and contrary to popular perceptions, coalition regimes have even delivered on reforms and growth, whether it was the Rao regime, NDA under Vajpayee, or UPA-I. Historically, every ouster of an entrenched regime has been largely defined by events and by two essential conditions — the willingness of others to come together and the existence of a party in pole position holding a sway in the north or the south. And, the electoral history of India presents compelling validation — coalitions were built around parties which bagged at least 100 plus seats."
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