The unprecedented selection of the firebrand Hindutva mascot Yogi Adityanath as the CM in the electorally most crucial state of UP marked the BJP`s first major shift from a narrative of ‘Vikas’ to that of ‘Hindutva’ after the 2014 elections.
More than a year has passed since the UP elections, the number of incidents of mob related violence, particularly against the marginalised sections have increased manifold. The simmering tensions arising due to farm distress and lack of jobs have vocally manifested themselves in the form of a host of farm and quota agitations held across the length and breadth of the country. The halo of development that once surrounded the PM is diminishing with every passing day and now he is looked upon more and more as a Hindu nationalist leader, rather than as a development oriented leader. And the clout of invincibility that once surrounded the Modi-Shah duo is slowly losing its sheen and credibility.
The Modi juggernaut might have suffered a huge blow in terms of its strength, but the BJP still hasn’t lost its clear advantage over the other opposition parties. And a formidable election machinery, a subdued media and weakened institutions provide it a clear edge against an opposition which still hasn’t fully recovered from the trauma of the 2014 debacle.
And to stay alive against a party that is ruthlessly and relentlessly spreading a vicious propaganda of a modified version of ram mandir politics shrouded in a cloak of development, opposition parties have no other choice other than to stay united.
But unfortunately the 2019 elections seems to be a contest between two forces, one trying to divide the people on the lines of religion and other trying to divide them on the issue of caste. The real concerns of lack of jobs, farm distress, dismal state of health and education seems to be absent from the narrative of both the ruling dispensation and the opposition front.
The present Federal front too, that has emerged is also nothing but an amalgamation of conflicting ideologies and egos coming together in the wake of threat of losing their relevance looming wide over their heads. And the whole strategy of this front for the 2019 election is based on loose narrow caste calculations. But as in the 2014 elections the voters have clearly demonstrated that they are capable of breaking caste based voting norms. And the warning seems to be clearly written on the wall in big and bold letters that unless and until they strike a chemistry with the voters their caste-based arithmetic is bound to betray them as has happened several times in the past.
And the opposition has to realize sooner or later, that with just countering and contradicting the government’s policy and petty caste-based considerations, they don’t stand a chance and will again get trampled against the might of BJP. And until they don’t provide a clear and a strong alternative vision and roadmap for the country, the people of this country won’t be able to repose their faith and trust in them.
All these parties with conflicting interests will have to put their differences aside for some time and will have to sit together and jot down a common agenda to provide them with a direction to move forward collectively and ensure that they not just stress upon winning numbers but also focus on wining the hope and confidence of the masses.