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2013: the year India changed

2013 was a leap year. Not 2012 was or what 2016 will be, but if you remember the changes that swept through the country in the last 365 days you would agree that something changed in 2013.

comment Updated: Dec 31, 2013 23:33 IST

The year 2013 was a leap year. Hold on, don't rush to fish out that about-to-be disposed calendar to cross-check this bit of information. Instead, allow us to explain why we are saying this: 2013 wasn't a 'Leap Year' like what 2012 was or what 2016 will be, but if you remember the changes that swept through the country in the last 365 days you would agree that something changed in 2013; India finally took that leap of faith. And who should get the top prize for taking that leap: not the khaas aadmi but the aam aadmi. For the first time in many years, the public — and not professional activists — came out of their neat little segments of religion and caste and dared demand what they thought were their rights as citizens. The culmination of what started in December 2012 after the brutal gang rape of a young student in Delhi was seen again in December 2013, but this time in a more organised manner: people, even those who tend to sneer at elections, came out in record numbers and showed that there is no place for shoddy governance. There is no surety that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will provide the governance that the people are seeking but a statement via the ballot has been made. The AAP's victory will push the other major parties to take a relook at their agenda and finetune it according to the expectations of the people.

On the receiving end was, of course, the UPA government and it will not be wrong to say that many a time,when the country needed leadership, the government was often found stranded midstream without an oar to take to safety. And in many cases, even when the UPA regained its composure — that too after much pushing and shoving — it managed to come up with some key legislations, the anti-rape laws and the Lokpal Bill among them. But there is a long list of important legislation that it failed to pass. This failure is the reason why India is not exactly topping the charts when it comes to investor confidence.

If 2013, at least the end part, was all about the 'semi-final', 2014 will be about the final when India goes to that mega election. Every election is big in India, but this one will be supersize in many ways and the reasons are not difficult to find. Whatever the outcome of the 2014 elections, the party that comes to power has a tall task at hand: it needs to kickstart the economy and also fulfil the expectations of a country that has changed so much in 2013.