The much awaited moment of election results has come up with some significant clues, which can be a decisive factor for the upcoming electoral exams in Indian politics.
Let us recapitulate a few unnoticed points from the two states of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. The BJP has managed to grab power in both the states, but that should not be considered as a landslide victory, when its most popular face, Narendra Modi himself had hit roads for several rallies.
In Gujarat, after a long time, the electoral battle was a real ‘Kaatein ki takkar’ (equal fight). The reason lies in the seat count and vote share of the two major parties since the last assembly elections. In terms of seat count, the BJP lost 16 seats in comparison to 2012 with a minimal increase of 1.1% in the vote share, whereas the INC gained 19 seats with a marginal 2.4 % increase in vote share.
The 10% loss of BJP’s vote share in Gujarat, compared to 2014 shows, how their policies and performance are being resented by those who had supported them earlier. This resentment will only grow in the days to come.
One cannot say that this was a landslide victory for the BJP. Rather, it was a desperate face-saving attempt. On the other hand, the INC had improved in statistics of seats, but it trailed due to the following factors-
On the other hand, in Himachal Pradesh, the power change was cyclical in nature. Now the BJP is back in power with a clear majority. But still few reasons played a decisive role.
Though BJP made numerous promises during 2014 Lok Sabha elections which are yet to see daylight, among them one was to steeply hike import duty on apples to protect the local apple orchards. But now more than three lakh ton of apples are being imported from US, China and New Zealand. People of the hill state are still trapped with no political alternative – with an exception.
A Surprise Red Spring
The Theog seat of Himachal opted for a reliable change, in the form of Rakesh Singha, a Kisan leader and known voice for farmers from the platform of Himachal Kisan Union. The CPI (M) has always had some presence in the Himalayan state, though mostly restricted to Shimla.
In 2012, it had won both the mayor and deputy mayor posts in the Shimla municipality. This being the apple belt of Himachal, both demonetization and goods and services tax (GST) were important poll points as traders had to suffer. Rakesh Singha has led the struggle of the workers at the Wangtoo Karcham hydroelectric project built by the Jaypee Company at Kinnaur. He has been firm to act against the ill politics of both BJP and INC in Himachal. The youthful presence of the student wing of the party, the Student Federation of India, in Theog, along with the continued struggle of the working class, collectively resulted in the reposition of faith by the people.
With these elections, one point is clear – that if a political alternative with a vision of social justice, inclusive policies and honest governance (in the form of Rakesh Singha and Jignesh Mevani) is put forward, the divisive ill politics of the two national parties can be challenged and replaced
Threat To The Idea Of India
These results pose a big concern for us. Mr Modi has used populism, nationalism and anti-secularism to great effect and fired up the imagination of millions looking for instant progress and national greatness. The RSS’s agenda is not just politics for the usual business of governance and economic development. Those are means towards the ultimate goal, a higher aspiration, which is to build a Hindu Rashtra. Clearly, a Hindu Rashtra is incompatible with India’s Constitution and its democratic norms. By assuming power in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has become a force to amend and hurt principles of a secular, sovereign, socialist, democratic, Republic of India. The opposition must realize this threat, and build its own strategy, complete with an ideological narrative that can resonate with most Indians to save the foundations of the nation.