8 thoughts on “Rediff Ballot: Who should be India’s next PM?”

  1. The thing is, most people who have access to the internet and vote in online polls are a small minority of the Indian population.

    Pappu may not be seeing much love here but he will be plenty popular among those looking for the next muft-chawal-aur-cheeni handout.


  2. One of the intended or unintended consequence of Nehruvian Socialism is to make people expect doles, subsidies like the following.

    1. Kilo rice for 2 rupees

    2. power subsidies for farmers: sure, farmers need help. This scheme does not give incentives to farmers to save power or provide better alternatives that use less power.

    3. Free water (canals, barrages, reservoirs, dams, water lifting schemes): this makes farmers to plant water-intensive crops like paddy. If the goal is to make farmers self-reliant, one has to devise an alternative to this ‘build new reservoir’ schemes.

    4. Fees subsidies. You know why there are 800 Engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh. That’s due to YSR’s scheme of 100% fees subsidy for 60 percent of engg students. So, it has become a business to set up 10 engineering colleges there.

    6. Free health insurance in private hospitals. Andhra Pradesh has schemes like Arogya Shri, which provides almost free healthcare for many folks in private hospitals.

    7. Guarantee of 100 days of labor by central government in rural India. Sure, it is bad to keep labor idle. This scheme is to pay the labor in villages for 100 days.

    People vote based on what kind of doles they got and used. The above list provides clues.

    It is undeniable that many people have benefited from these doles. It is rational for them to vote for the party that helped them get that. If the kids of these beneficiaries study and make more than these doles, yes, that will shift balance of votes; don’t expect anything like that happen.

    For instance, 240,000 engineering graduates are produced in Andhra Pradesh: almost 60 percent of these graduates are kids of those who received help in that list. It is also true that most of them don’t get so-called software, hardware, IT jobs. Instead, BTech/BE has become a minimum qualiifcation to become a constable or a bank clerk.

    Sure, Indian IT companies blame the quality of these students. Since when modern education factories have produced the quality. Education factories are there to help corporates to recruit candidates for their jobs; it is cheaper than conducting tests like BSRB/RRB/UPSC for these jobs.


    1. Kumar,
      Talking of Andhra, I know of wealthy Andhrites in India and abroad who have no reservations whatsoever in faking their antecedents to get ANY dole out in cash or kind. Andhrites CANNOT be trusted to choose a good leader, rich or poor. Engineer or no Engineer. NEVER. The social motivations are highly corrupt and devoid of any value systems.


      1. Loknath,

        You are implying that untrustworthy people don’t elect a good leader. Today, we know that even trustworthy people don’t get a good leader, unless they happen to find a benevolent dictator: that’s what Kenneth Arrow’s Impossibility theorem about democracies.

        You can also see why modern democracies are serving the elite in their countries; the non-wealthy, which constitutes the majority of electorate, get benefited by democractically elected leaders via ‘unintended’ consequences. Today, both BJP and Congress does not have any place in many major states in India: so, it is possible for both BJP and Indira Congress to join together to change the constitution to allow for direct election of prime minister; eventually, this will happen in India, not because of the good intentions of BJP and Indira Congress, but because of their selfish-interest. That’s what I mean by ‘good thing as an unintended consequence’.

        Today, we all agree that ‘greed’ is good. In other words, it is rational to be selfish. So, your problem is not so much about wealthy Andhrites being selfish; but it is about how they achieve their goals/hopes/desires. So, your problem is that wealthy Andhrites violate many normative principles, one of them being “one ought not to lie”. Why should not humans violate normative principles? The standard text book answer is to appeal to consequences of not following that principle: here, you can find various versions of consequentialisms. All these -isms are not as satisfying as Christian ethics, which has become secularized as normative ethics. The so-called value system of modern Indians is the legacy of this normative ethics.

        Now you can ask other question: what’s the telos of humans? If it is to gain admissions to IIT, or to become a CEO of Infosys, or to become a PM, it is theoretically impossible for all Indians to become/achieve whatever they want to be. So, you need to implement a filter mechanism (however irrational that mechanism could be): one such filter mechanism is JEE for IITs; civil services for IAS, IPS, etc; SAT/GRE scores for admissions; etc.

        By the end of the day, we are left with a majority of unhappy people, who have not realized the goals they want. That’s what we are seeing even in the developed countries like the states, France, UK, etc. In other words, we see that one’s happiness is constrained by the desires of other people; as a consequence, all humans can’t be happy.

        There is another way of looking at the issue of happiness. What if happiness does not depend on others, including humans, IITs, UPSC, GRE/SAT, Infosys, etc. That’s what Indian traditions proved; their stance about human psychology is antithesis of the modern commonsense psychology called intentional psychology, which is the foundation of micro economics.


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