In India, communists ousted in 2 of 4 state elections
The elections in four Indian states were read as something of a 'midterm' referendum, highlighting mounting concerns over corruption and lagging development.
(Page 2 of 2)
Part of the problem is that land is divided into tiny plots, each of which provides a way of life and vital social security to a family. Once land is consolidated, its value immediately rises with the sum much greater than its parts since large chunks of land are scarce. Dispossessed farmers, many who have few skills beyond farming, see the sudden rise in their land’s original value and feel cheated with their compensation and bullied by government and big businesses.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The national government has been working on a land acquisition reform act, but it was shelved until after these elections. The legislation is expected to be taken up this summer.
The Tata land acquisition became a political liability for the communists, suggesting that while Bengalis want more development they favor a more inclusive approach.
The communists also suffered from an anti-incumbency mood in the country, driven partly by a young generation unimpressed with the country’s political leadership. Earlier this year, corruption became the No. 1 concern among Indians for the first time since the current government took power in 2004, according to pollster Yashwant Deshmukh. He says much of the energy behind the movement comes from the youth.
These young people grew up in high-growth India, a country no longer stuck in the Third World but angling for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. The corruption that has long been a part of the Indian political scene did not fit the emerging self-image of the nation.
The contradiction burst into public discussion with last year’s Commonwealth Games. The government hyped the Games as India’s chance to showcase its newfound strength on the world stage. However, corruption and poor planning marred the preparations, leading to an embarrassing scramble to finish venues on time and shoddy workmanship.
(Editor's note: The headline on this story was changed after publication.)
Sign up for our daily World Editor's Picks newsletter. Our best stories, in your inbox.