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Straight from the Specialists

Time to ride the rally in the run-up to 2014 elections

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Election fever in the world’s biggest democracy is gripping India in the run-up to general elections due in 2014. In the coming months, politics will be in focus especially among investors.

Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were a prelude to next year’s election. The four states make up 72 seats in the Lok Sabha. Historical data suggests the electorate votes on the same lines for the Lok Sabha in case state polls are held within 12 months of the general elections.

The Congress party found itself at the receiving end on Sunday and was decimated in the four states. While voters in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh reposed faith in the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Delhi and Rajasthan saw a widespread wave against the ruling Congress. Despite its consolation win in the Mizoram state election a day later, the Congress party is likely to face its toughest test in 2014 after two successive terms at the centre.

The BJP, on the other hand, cemented its political ascendancy by dominating the state elections. The party’s momentum has been attributed to a cadre galvanized by the announcement of Narendra Modi as their prime ministerial candidate. The Aam Aadmi Party also made a spectacular debut in the capital, ensuring that they would be regarded as serious contenders in the general elections.

India Markets Weekahead: Beware the Ides of March

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

Markets ended budget week below support levels of 5800/5840 and just when the six-month rally seemed over for good, it made a spirited V-shaped recovery to close at 5946 on Friday, with gains of 3.95 percent. The Street is divided with some expecting this to be the beginning of a new rally with the market scaling highs that it missed in February; others see it as a strong pullback which will fizzle out soon.

The government seems to be responding faster to allay investor fears. It was quick to respond to FII worries over proposed changes in tax residency certificates. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has been assuring investors of continued policy measures, including the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) bill being introduced in the current parliament session.

With markets falling, it’s a good time to invest

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(Rajan Ghotgalkar is Managing Director of Principal Pnb Asset Management Company. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of either Principal Pnb or Reuters)

The Sensex tested the 16,000 mark last week after 15 months.

I believe the following three quotes which made headlines on different days, tell us a lot when we put them together.

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