Modi’s Trajectory & McClellan’s Slows

By the time Lincoln got intelligence about General McClellan’s positioning regarding Lee, he began to solidify in his mind to replace the general.  According to Lincoln, McClellan had a case of “the slows”.  This may help explain the pace and chosen trajectory of Indian democracy given the win India’s prime minister recently ratified in Assam.  Given the rapid expectations that Modi has procured from foreign media, we need to look at how a distinct legislative chamber works to get a clearer picture of how best to anticipate Modi’s trajectory.

The Rajya Sabha is the upper chamber of the Indian Parliament, it resemble the U.S. Senate and the U.K. House of Lords in several ways.  A body of 245 members elected to six year terms, with each district or state voting only a third of the chamber during an election season.  This means every two years a third of this assembly is up for election.  They are not elected by public vote but through regional state assemblies, very much like the U.S. Senate was elected prior to the 17th amendment.

The lower house is called Lok Sabha and it is the chamber firmly held by BJP, the current prime ministers party.  The key to understanding why Indian legislative change or domestic policy remains tethered to “the slows”,  one must understand the composition of the Rajya Sabha and the voting cycle.  The reason why India seems so moribund rests with this upper chamber.

This latest round of election cycles procured a win for Modi’s BJP, granting it a slight increase in seats in the upper chamber.  For India, the balance of power is retained by regional parties, something the U.S. may wish to consider. Modi’s desire to dominate both chambers of parliament cannot be achieved anytime soon.

The next general election is 2019.  This means the BJP as a party has tethered its executive away from any consideration of autonomy.  As the BJP views itself, its primary job isn’t legislative, it seeks to grow itself, even at the expense of India.



About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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