Sunday, April 19, 2009

Globalization and Election Season in India

Much of the western media is covering aspects of the Indian election as the “worlds largest democracy” conducts a month long poll covering a population of over 700 million voters.
While there are several fascinating stories and anecdotes on elections, one that caught my attention was Shashi Tharoor’s bid at becoming a Member of Parliament.
Tharoor’s background is fascinating to say the least, his website put together for his parliamentary bid summarizes "Author, peace-keeper, refugee worker, human rights activist and now a political candidate for the Indian parliament, Dr. Shashi Tharoor straddles several worlds of experience. He was India’s candidate to succeed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006, and finished a close second out of seven contenders. An internationally known speaker and writer on India's recent socio-economic transformations, the impact and reach of globalization, issues related to freedom of press, human rights, literacy, Indian culture and India’s present and potential influence in world politics, Shashi Tharoor’s eleven books and newspaper columns have made him one of India’s best-known voices worldwide"

Wall Street Journal has an interesting blog, summarizing the makeover the international diplomat is having in his political attempt "And so that might explain why Mr. Tharoor appears on his very 21st century global web site dressed simply, in sandals and a white cotton cloth wrapped about his waist. As Indians, here, there and everywhere have learned, fitting in can be the first step to success." (In India, Globalization Surfaces in Election Season)

Given his pedigree, one wonders about the gameplan: Tharoor was quoted by WSJ "We have seen some of the tactics from campaigns like Obama, he says. Mr. Tharoor, remember, unsuccessfully tried to be secretary general of the United Nations."

One wonders if Mr. Tharoor going to use this as a back-door attempt: Member of Parliament – to Cabinet Minsiter – back to nomination as secretary general of UN, a la Ban Ki-moon : Homepage: successful politician-turned-statesman? Whichever way the attempt at globalizing Indian politics goes, it is sure to generate buzz among NRIs (Non-resident Indians)
Other interesting blogs about Mr Tharoor's attempt at globalization of Indian politics

  • SAJA: We don't usually write about contests for seats in India's parliament, but it's also not usual for a New Yorker of 20+ years to run for one.
  • Sepia Mitiny: Given Tharoor’s international stature, it’s hard to imagine this is anything other than a stepping-stone to a high level post in the next UPA government (if there is one, and if he wins). Obviously not Prime Minister (too soon for that); perhaps something else?
  • Sindh Today: Prominent politicians whose electoral fate was sealed