New Delhi: Even if you know little physics, you know at least this much. The pendulum always returns to the equilibrium position. The day the country’s equilibrium position is solely defined by growth, development and reforms, it would have won itself independence a second time. This second independence would bring the means to propel India to a future headed away from backwardness and poverty and directed towards prosperity and good times.

Finally at the Centre, there is a government that is unrelenting on reforms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the welcome step of inviting Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh to his official residence to reach a quick consensus on GST. The Congress’s position on capping the GST without extra state levies is philosophically correct. The fewer discretionary powers that are built into laws, the less scope there is for bending rules, which has been the Indian policy framework’s single biggest drawback. The Congress leadership meanwhile must accept that obstructionism of Parliament will not fetch votes. Indian voters reject negative politics as the BJP’s rout in Bihar underscores.

It is impossible for political parties all to have the same ideologies and mindsets. We might as well then move towards one-party rule. Multi-party democracy conceivably is the biggest advance of democracy, but everything carried to excess becomes dysfunctional. America has only two mainstream parties. But a great more number of commentators than before decry America’s dysfunction. Imagine India’s plight with at least 75 national, regional and unrecognized political parties.

Perhaps the economy is the solitary meeting ground for a majority of political parties, notwithstanding the divergent politico-economic ideologies that may guide them. Even here, the divergence is exaggerated. Left parties like the CPI-M usually express themselves against economic liberalization, reforms, etc. This seems cant. The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in West Bengal was going hell for leather for industrialization with private capital and should have succeeded without the resort to violence. Mamata Bannerjee, who came to power on an anti-industrialization plank, is now pleading with investors.

Look across India and you see a rising clamour for development and growth. While the splitting of Andhra Pradesh was traumatic, the economic competition between the two resultant states is heart-warming. Each is wooing investors with gusto. Rajasthan has outstripped most states in reforms, and others are trying to catch up. A lot is wrong with UP, but at least Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son are speaking the language of growth and reforms. Nitish Kumar was always pro-development, but incredibly, Laloo Prasad Yadav is exhorting his sons in the Bihar government in the same direction. These are winds of change, and political leaders of all parties must ensure that they keep blowing.

It is human to cut corners. Opportunism is also a widely prevalent trait. But in politics, these could push you to a frightful cul-de-sac, where the only way out is to cut losses and exit. This cannot be politically appealing. You may win one or two elections but negative politics will eventually hurt governance. Governance is the best thing about politics. Governance works best in a climate of moderation. What works for governance must, therefore, become imperative for politics. At its zenith, the Roman Empire understood the value of moderation. “The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces,” wrote Edward Gibbon. Lessons lurk there for India.

The best part about the 2014 general election was its main theme of reforms, growth and development. It was an unusual election in that respect. Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister strictly on his campaign of growth and development bolstered by his successes in Gujarat. That should remain his sole calling card. Voices cannot be stilled in India. Some you may like and some you may not. It is India’s greatest democratic strength. As long as those voices remain within the four corners of the law, and do not provoke violence, bloodshed and loss of life, they have to be accepted. But policy should remain splendidly detached from discordance of any kind, and economic policy should relentlessly focus on the country’s growth and development. Perhaps that may contribute to making India a less noisy, shrill and strife-torn place.