Assembly elections in the key states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which were dubbed as the semi-finals before the elections of 2019 did not evoke much interest in me for a variety of reasons.
These were some of the most important states that voted for BJP in the 2014 general elections and led Modi to his spectacular victory. He went on to consolidate his supremacy over the Hindi heartland when BJP won the UP state elections as well. It was ridiculous that BJP had allowed Modi’s image to become bigger than the party itself. When Modi was asking people to vote for him during state assembly elections, he was showing total contempt and disregard for state BJP leaders and most importantly completely violating of the country’s federal governance structure. Modi as the PM has no role in the governance of any states. After 12 years of being the CM of Gujarat, I believe he knows only to think like a CM. What was even more crazy was, people were simply voting for him after hearing him during election rallies without using their own commonsense.
All his chest thumping rhetoric has come undone in the last 4 years with disastrous governance, demonetization and GST implementation. The economy of the country has stagnated and come to a grinding halt. Demonetization has almost destroyed the agricultural and MSME sectors and increased unemployment and farmer suicides. Ill-planned GST implementation has adversely affected traders and businesses. Add to this long list his penchant for helping his crony capitalist friends acquire business opportunities and forest land, helping black money hoarders escape the country, the cloud of the Rafale scam, destroying PSUs and his persistent attempt to take control over CBI and RBI. In short, the last 4 years have been a complete disaster for the country which has been clearly reflected in the election results from MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
But Modi has created a much bigger problem for the country. When he was taking sole responsibility for putting the Indian economy back on track, it was very clear to me that it was simply his rhetoric and not based on any facts. Whatever he was claiming was impossible from the economic point of view. I knew that if he failed, the country would plunge into deeper crisis. Four years ago, everyone was clamoring to free the country from the rule of the Congress party. Now everyone is desperate to liberate the country from Modi’s autocratic rule and are voting for Congress again. Modi has taken the political discourse and the governance of the country so low that we are having to cheer the victory of Congress, the same party we discarded just four years back. The country lost five years by putting their trust in Modi, it has come full circle and people’s lives have gone from the frying pan into the fire. Modi’s devastating failure has given Congress the perfect platform to claim that only it can govern the country. We are being made to choose between the lesser of the two evils at the particular point of time when elections are held. Bipartisan politics are like playing with a ping pong ball. People have become confused and this can be clearly seen from the fact that both in MP and Rajasthan, Congress has not got the simple majority.
Now BJP is conveniently trying to blame anti-incumbency for its electoral losses and shift the blame away from Modi when it is his rampant mis-governance that has antagonized people against the BJP. What is amazing is people are buying into the anti-incumbency rhetoric against the state leaders and are still vouching to vote for Modi during 2019 elections. The reason is simple. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been the CM of MP for 3 consecutive terms which means he became CM around the same time when Modi became the CM of Gujarat. Modi is clearly apprehensive of the outcome of the 2019 elections and does not want challengers to stack up against him within BJP in case the party does not get an absolute majority. The blame would squarely fall on his shoulders and leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Chouhan would become open contenders to replace him. This is why he stopped asking people to vote for him and there were reports that he had become less enthusiastic during election rallies. During the election campaign he was no longer the star at BJP’s rallies and Yogi Adityanath was used to subtly replace him. Making Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh the fall guys will help sideline them within BJP.
There are even more ramifications to the outcome of these elections. There have been complaints of rampant EVM manipulation especially during state elections after 2014 which supposedly helped BJP win elections in UP with a huge majority. The credibility of EVMs have been on a downward slide and there has been growing clamor to replace EVMs with ballot boxes and even conducting 2019 elections under the supervision of SC. Now that the BJP has been defeated in the elections, it will be hoping that the blame over EVMs would not longer hold credence. But Rahul Gandhi was smart enough to state during the press conference after election results were announced that EVM manipulation is a global problem and it needs to be looked at irrespective of these election results. The problem now is, since the credibility of EVMs and EC itself has supposedly been restored, both can no longer be held guilty for BJP’s win in 2019 elections. This opens up the complete possibility of EVM manipulation during the elections.
Political parties have been turning a blind eye to the sufferings of their voters time and again in their jostling for power. Through their votes, people are giving them the power of governance and not of arrogance. This will most probably the last opportunity Congress gets to improve themselves even if they are able to win 2019 elections and I do not believe people will vote BJP back to power if Congress fails again. What will happen then could be anybody’s guess. I am expecting nothing less than anarchy, people’s revolution, bloodbath and devastation. This is where the current political games are leading the country to.