Saturday, November 15, 2008
Obama's success: Lessons for India
Many analysts have been quick to compare Obama's successful strategy in the U.S.Presidential elections with the chances of aspiring Indian politicians from the Minorities, especially Mayawati, to make it to the office of the Prime Minister after the next general elections. However, most of them who were tempted to compare Obama with Mayawati or any aspiring leader from minorities/disempowered groups missed this fact: what was significant in Obama's success was his campaign strategy, which could have been successfully used by a leader belonging to a Majority/empowered community as well. But none bothered to explain the essence of this strategy except, according to me, Amartya Sen, in this Time cover story. . In a very short piece, Sen managed to succinctly describe this essence in Obama's "willingness to reason". He said: "He won his presidency not as a black American but as a reasoning American who happens to be black." Using this as an essence of success, one could say that the Indian and American electorates are not entirely dissimilar. Every general election result in India could be explained in terms of the successful party's "willingness to reason" which so convinced the electorate about the party's credibility. If Mayawati or any other politician demonstrates this willingness to reason the major campaign themes,(which could mean defending the indefensible, so to say), she or he could be said to have learnt the lessons from Obama's campaign.