Results of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 are out, and it is quite obvious, that just like Mr Modi and exit polls predicted, BJP has won a full majority. Not only did BJP manage to get an almost clean swipe in most of the states, but it is also on the verge of making history by garnering so many votes.
Even after the results, the one question that still lingers in the air is – Why did the opposition fail? I find it really disturbing that the opposition failed miserably even in states where their own government is functioning at the state level, such as Maharashtra, Delhi, and Karnataka. Another question that begs an answer is, how did BJP manage to garner more votes than they did in 2014?
As a concerned citizen of the nation, I have listed the following reasons for why I think the opposition failed. And they have nothing to do with any political inclination or my own political interests.
One of the biggest reasons for the opposition’s failure and why BJP won with such a big margin, was the Mahagathbandhan frenzy.
The first glimpse of Mahagathbandhan was witnessed during the oath-taking ceremony of Karnataka’s Chief Minister H.D, Kumaraswamy. Several political leaders came together and joined hands with a singular motive – to dethrone Mr Modi, despite their own political acrimony against each other. At the time, it seemed that this was indicative of a strong opposition in India.
In fact, one of the biggest surprises since the formation of Mahagathbandhan was, when BSP and SP, the two former arch-rivals in UP announced an alliance for the Loksabha elections 2019. It finally seemed that a change was coming in the mechanism of political parties and this change was worth watching.
‘Par jaisa dikhta hai waisa hota nhi hai!’ (But, things are not always what they seem!)
Throughout the campaigning for the 2019 Elections, there seemed to be some differences between the parties that formed the Mahagathbandhan. With SP and BSP leaving Congress out of the alliance in UP, it became subtly evident that the chaos within Mahagathbandan had finally started.
Also, another disturbance was observed during the attempt of an alliance between Congress and Aam Aadmi Party. I believe that their lack of coordination and cooperativeness was a major reason why BJP garnered a clean swipe in Delhi and won a majority in Punjab. What was initially considered as an idea to demonstrate a strong opposition, suddenly turned bizarre and chaotic and into a race for power more than anything else.
While this tagline might sound humorous, unfortunately, it does reflect the truth to some degree. Within the Mahagathbandhan, which consisted of several political parties, no one formally announced the prime ministerial candidates. But the different leaders’ inherent desire to become the next Prime Minister was apparent to the citizens. This resulted in a sense of uncertainty and created a lack of trust amongst the citizens of India in the context of the opposition.
This pandemonium within Mahagathbandhan made the citizens ponder over one question- Agar Modi nhi, toh kaun? (If not Modi, then who?)
Over the last five years, a hesitancy has been observed, when it comes to raising concerns of national interest. In my opinion, the Congress, despite being the main opposition party in the parliament, has failed to take strong initiatives to bring up concerns of national interest. A lack of leadership was apparent in the opposition, this election.
In fact, concerns of national interest – such as the agrarian crisis, demonetization, GST, Rafale, ballooning unemployment, and development, could have been raised in a structural, strategical, comprehensive and preliminary manner, during parliamentary sessions or in the past five years, and this might have led to a different election result.
It was observed that unlike BJP, the opposition did not have any pivotal agenda, which could encourage voters to vote in their favour. I believe that the opposition’s only focus was on paralysing the BJP led NDA and ensuring they don’t come to power, especially Mr Narendra Modi. The opposition, in their urgency to achieve this motive, failed to acknowledge that citizens would need assurance from them if they themselves were to come into power.
Even though the opposition did eventually begin to raise issues and criticised many of the ruling party’s initiatives, this was not carried out strategically enough to beat the BJP’s agenda of nationalism and Hindutva.
I also believe that the distribution of tickets was done in a slapdash manner, just to block BJP candidates from gaining votes. It seemed that the opposition’s main focus was to stop Mr Modi from regaining power.
I don’t think anyone can deny Mr Modi’s and BJP’s strong social media marketing efforts. It is something that opposition parties can learn from. I think the BJP’s well managed social media marketing was an important reason for the opposition’s failure.
In my opinion, the ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) slogans and campaigning made it evident that no one could beat BJP when it came to social media marketing. A good social media handle would have definitely benefitted the opposition, But ALAS! This is Modiji we are talking about, who, I believe, is unbeatable in this context.
Though elections are over and results are out, it’s time for the opposition, especially Congress, to rethink their strategy and to engage in some self-introspection. Because, in the hasty attempt to de-throne Mr Modi, they have somehow overlooked their responsibility as the opposition. They have not only failed their own workers but also those who have believed in them and voted for them.
I firmly believe that a weak opposition is as lethal to the country as an aggressive dictator.
So, I hope that the opposition will come to terms with the reality of this election result and acknowledge the real issues within themselves.