Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So, rural voters matter after all (at least in India)

A line from Somini Sengupta's New York Times story about the recent election in India caught my eye. It seeks to explain (at least partly) Sonia Ghandi's success as President of the Congress Party, which is only 12 seats shy of an outright majority after last week's polling:
First, under Mrs. Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress-led coalition homed in on the rural poor. During its first term, buoyed by robust economic growth, it used record government revenues to increase social spending, not just raising health and education budgets, but also starting an ambitious public works program in the countryside and a costly loan repayment waiver for farmers.
Now, according to some commentators, Ms. Ghandi, the 62-year-old, Italian-born widow of Rajiv Ghandi, is in a position to become prime minister if she wished. More likely, experts on Indian politics say, her soon Rahul, age 38, will soon get that job.

Read other blog posts about the rural-urban divide in India here and here.

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