India’s Election : I’ll take the self made man …

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I happen to be in India during an amazing time ! The largest democratic election on the planet (and in history) is going on. India has over 800 million people eligible to vote and the elections are happening over a 5 week time period. There are almost a million polling stations set up around the country ! May 16th will be the day the winner is announced.

The contrast in the two leading candidates is interesting – and I think represents a powerful lesson in business and politics. On the one hand a representative from the family and party that has been in control of India for almost 50 years (Rahul Gandhi from Congress party) . The family is of legendary status and power and has (like the Kennedys in the US) sacrificed much for the country of India.

On the other hand Narenda Modi (from the BJP Party) is a self made man. As a kid he was selling tea in India’s railway stations. A true rags to riches (and power) story.

Both sides accuse each other of corruption, both sides accuse each other of crony capitalism.

One thing that has always been great about America (that India and even the UK have been slow to learn) is that it does not matter what your father (or mother) did. Each candidate should be judged on their merit, drive and accomplishments. This is an important point for businesses and countries.

I was afraid the US was losing this point during the heyday of the Bush dynasty for instance… The lesson is clear between the “King” and the self made man – always take the self-made man.

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