India’s independents take stock after election drubbing

MUMBAI, May 19, 2009 (AFP) – A new wave of reform-minded candidates are taking stock after the Indian general election, following high-profile campaigns that failed to translate into votes at the ballot box. “This is going to take some time to change,” he told AFP. “People are definitely talking about better people in parliament, not only the youth.”

Shridhar Jagannathan, who set up a website to encourage the educated middle class in India’s big cities to vote, said he was also disappointed at the poor turnout.

But he said campaigns like Vote India or the Tata-backed www.jaagore.com had created greater awareness of the importance of transparency and integrity in the political process.

“We will see a major difference by the time of the next election and I hope to see major differences in the (state) assembly elections in September,” he told AFP. But as the ruling Congress party settles in for a new term of office in New Delhi, the educated, white-collar professionals who portrayed themselves as the answer to decades of political corruption and cronyism were not downbeat.

Instead they blamed low turn-out and lack of resources for their defeat as they looked confidently to future campai