"The Upset in India" [editorial, May 14] exhibits a lack of awareness of the context of the upset. Contrary to Salman Rushdie's May 14 op-ed, which calls this a moment of hope, the editorial predicts doom and gloom, a return to anti-Americanism and a reversal of the reform process. None of this has any basis in reality.

Congress was the party that started the reforms and most of the potential candidates for the finance portfolio are pro-reform candidates. Even the leftist parties that would be part of the new coalition government are pro-reform.

In addition, India's anti-Americanism of the past was essentially a product of the Cold War and is likely to have little relevance now. One also would hope that current events have taught that anti-Americanism is a result of American policy; it is not something that grows autonomously abroad. In this sense, if America continues the way it has in the recent past, India will certainly share the anti-Americanism of the rest of the world, which is collectively the victim of America's actions.

No one can deny there are uncertainties about the new leadership. But this does not take away from the fact that the Indian majority sent a very specific message to those who held the reins of power: that they no longer represented the will of the Indian majority, and thus had lost the legitimacy that a democratic government requires.


Thornhill, Ontario


Salman Rushdie [op-ed, May 14] said that the BJP-led coalition "lost heavily . . . in precisely the states that wooed information technology giants such as Microsoft to set up shop, turning sleepy 'second cities' such as Madras, Bangalore and Hyderabad into new-tech boom towns."

In Karnataka, the capital of which is Bangalore, the BJP made impressive gains over the Congress-led coalition. In 1999 Congress held 18 of Karnataka's seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's Parliament, while the BJP held seven. Last week's election results flipped the tables, giving the BJP 18 seats and Congress eight. At the Karnataka state level, the BJP is now the single largest party, with 79 of 224 legislative assembly seats.




India's poor have chosen instant gratification over long-term progress. The Congress Party won over the rural countryside with promises of free electricity and jobs.

But the losers will be many. The growing middle class, which didn't bother to vote, will effectively pay for subsidies to the poor. The poor, who will benefit in the short run, will pay the price for poor economic performance.

Pakistan, too, will pay a price because peace will be harder to achieve.

The winners are few and unexpected -- big business, for one. India's giant companies have done extremely well with the markets closed to competition in the past and certainly would not mind a little of the old Fabian socialism. The other winner is the press, which always has been left-leaning and had a distaste for the BJP. The spin of six years finally paid off for it.


Boise, Idaho