Election fight: 5T v/s 5G at 5P - The Honest Truth By Ajit Dayal
Investing in India - Honest Truth by Ajit Dayal
Election fight: 5T v/s 5G at 5P A  A  A
21 APRIL 2014

As the 5th Phase of polling ends and we cross the half-way mark of the election marathon, the fight between the 5T's of the BJP and the 5G's of the Congress is reaching its peak.

Because Narendra Modi has not agreed to sit down for a charcha over chai with Arnab Goswami, and all we have to benchmark Modi against is the gai-ka-baccha lost-soul interview of Rahul Gandhi, the elements of the 5T v/s 5G story are important.

The BJP's manifesto, released after some parts of India started voting, wants to build Brand India and has focused on their 5T's: tradition, talent, tourism, trade, and technology.

The Congress manifesto, quite irrelevant after heir apparent Rahul Gandhi's floundering interview with Arnab Goswami, wishes to build Brand India by focusing on the 5 G's: Gandhi, Indira; Gandhi, Sonia; Gandhi, Rajiv; Gandhi, Rahul; and Gandhi, Priyanka.

Both approaches to making India a super power have their merits and it would be wise to list them out.

Gandhi: the simple life, the simple strategy
The Gandhi approach is easier and less complicated.
It also has no internal complications.
And if inconveniences do crop up, fate and destiny tend to take over and sort out the issues. So Sanjay Gandhi was the victim of a plane accident. Soon after, the bahu, Maneka Gandhi, and son, Varun Gandhi, were no longer part of the Brand India version of the Congress.

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Basically, the allegiance has to be to the Gandhi in power. If anyone comes along with an alternative inconvenience, they are promoted to the position of President of India. Being President of the Congress Party requires a Gandhi in the name. It is, by all accounts, a post more powerful than that of the Prime Minister. And for those in the financial services industry who show up on television channel shows and criticize the intellectual bankruptcy of a Prime Minister whose only job seems to be waving stiff arms with a frozen hapless smile with a wax-like face, I would like to point out an old saying: People in glass houses should not throw stones. Most of the people working in many of the financial firms will happily sacrifice the client at the altar of their bonus. For all their fancy CA, CFA and MBA degrees, most people have no courage to fight for what is right.

The BJP: complex and controversial
The BJP's 5T's are a breath of fresh air. There is no "G" in it unless you consider the battle-cry of "Gandhi Gela" as a 2G. But 2G may be a registered trademark of UPA-2 and selling the movie rights may be the only way they can earn some money if they are voted out of power.

But let's take the 5T's in the order they have been listed in the manifesto of the BJP:

  1. Tradition: so what does this mean? Are gay marriages allowed, or is that not "traditional"? Can women wear the clothes they want or is that a violation of "our tradition"? Can women smoke or drink or is that also not as per "our tradition"? Is caste a tradition that we need to break away from? The list of questions is endless.

  2. Talent: okay so we have a lot of talent. But, like above, can women have talents that they wish to pursue for economic gain? Can women work till late evenings in call centres or BPOs? Can they work in restaurants and bars? Is talent something decided by the Sangh or by a people's court?

  3. Tourism: Does the BJP plan to sell a Hindu Rath Yatra tour or are they open to any kind of tourism? Is there a desire to allow restaurants to be open all night? Will alcohol be served to those who are old enough to consume it?

  4. Trade: Can India really find a place in the global export market place or has the world changed? Does India need to move up the value-chain since we may be too late in adopting a low-cost manufacturing sector? And if we do move up the value chain, how many jobs could that add - and what is the competition like? Will the BJP impose tariffs on imported products to protect the local producers?

  5. Technology: who will pay for this massive roll out of bandwidth to rural India? It is a great ambition, but what will it cost and how will this cost be funded?

Buyer beware!
Well, despite all the pages of lofty text in the manifesto documents produced by the two main parties, there is little clarity on specifics.

At the end of the day, the documents are a mix of emotion and fantasy.
There is nothing concrete in what either party has to say - there are no numbers to match the dreams.

But as we cross the half-way line and as 121 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats were up for grabs on April 17, the Indian stock market is pretty much convinced of a Modi win.

The Indian electorate deserves more than these glossy documents.
The manifestos read like an IPO document of a scam power company or a real estate company. They show the same disdain for truth and logic as the hollow offer documents that mutual funds churned out to con investors and share the loot with their distributor friends in the 204 to 2008 era.

It really does not matter who will win: the victim is identified and known.
Beware of the 5G or the 5T: stay focused on the individual and what they stand for.

Do share your views on Who will win The Big Fat Indian Election? in the Equitymaster Club!

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Disclaimer: The Honest Truth is authored by Ajit Dayal. Ajit is a Director at Quantum Advisors Pvt. Ltd and Quantum Asset Management Company Pvt. Ltd. The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and has not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author, Equitymaster, Quantum AMC and Quantum Advisors do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site. To write to Ajit, please click here.

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2 Responses to "Election fight: 5T v/s 5G at 5P"

NK Patet

Apr 21, 2014

Really!! Honest Truth disappoints with this 5Ts vs 5 Gs. Is Congress really only the Gandhis? And why mock the 5Ts. Where in Tradition the transgenders allowed - India probably is the first to recognise them. And what is this that women must drink for Honest Truth. Talent are not the women working in night shifts?
It is a wastage of a Honest Truth.



Apr 21, 2014

Questions abundant without clear cut answers to all these questions and we have to wait patiently for the answers. Thanks for raising pertinent questions.

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