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An Open Letter To Rahul Gandhi

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express, last week:

Dear Mr Gandhi: The elections in Uttar Pradesh are, understandably, your major preoccupation. It is difficult to predict the result. But even if you do well, will India have reason to celebrate? Electoral success will show that you are better than the opposition. But that bar is now so low that it is almost an embarrassment to trumpet that one is merely better than the opposition. In 2009, the Congress got as propitious a mandate as any party could have expected. There was hope and expectation. The opposition, both on the left and right, was decimated. But what did India gain? It frittered away the good times. Instead of using growth to lay a secure foundation for the future, and create conditions where the scourge of poverty can be removed, we undermined the prospects for growth. We have high inflation, worrying public debt, slowing growth, uncertain currency prospects, falling investment, crushing interest rates...

Your party may not have some of the worst, exclusivist tendencies of your rivals. But you have not found ways of transcending the traps of identity politics that have kept India small...

Your party is trapped in two illusions. First, governance and politics are different issues. Second, only those policies that specifically address poor people affect the poor. You wreck the macro-economy in the name of the poor, and then cheat the poor because you refuse to govern...

Read the full piece at the Indian Express: Tomorrow's Battles

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