NEW DELHI, Nov. 23 -- In the age of T20 style elections - instant opinion, shoot and scoot polls and parachute reporting - it is increasingly difficult to confidently predict an Indian election outcome. That Indian elections have become more competitive and are literally fought booth by booth makes predictions even more hazardous. Which is why I would rather not use a whistle-stop journey through Madhya Pradesh's crucial Malwa-Nimar belt to definitively suggest which way the 'hawa' (wind) is blowing across India's second largest state in terms of area. But there is one big picture conclusion to reflect upon: rarely has the national discourse been so disconnected with ground realities.

In every election speech, Rahul Gandhi goes on about Ra...