Fruits and votes a la India

The author of the Banyan column in The Economist has things about right.

The whole box of lychees is worth checking out, regarding the upcoming (indirect) Indian presidential election and implications for the country’s coalition government. But the first paragraph warrants quotation here.

THE box of lychees came out of the blue. In 30 years of service, the major-domo in the bungalow of a senior politician in Lutyens’s Delhi could not recall a previous gift from this source: India’s finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee. The conclusion his bosses drew was simple. So badly does “Pranabda”, as he is known, want to be India’s president that he is breaking the parsimonious habits of a lifetime. Rather against the odds, Mr Mukherjee is now almost a shoo-in for the presidential election on July 19th. Optimists hope that his elevation might just shake India’s ruling coalition out of its present paralysis. But nobody is wagering exotic fruit on that benign outcome.

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