Modi once again registered a resounding victory. The exit poll predictions, to a great extent, came true though some pollsters failed to gauge the intensity of Modi wave and expected the NDA to fall short of a majority. But once the counting trends started trickling in, it became increasingly apparent that BJP may not even require its allies and it will be able to form a government on its own.
The speculations that were running rife during and immediately after the elections made some regional leaders such as Chandrababu Naidu and Chandrasekhar Rao fly from one state capital to another trying to garner support for a Third Front in the expectation of forming a ‘khichdi’ government in case their dreams materialize. But all their expectations fell flat, and people delivered a decisive mandate in favor of Modi and his party.
In a democracy, the voice of the people is the voice of God. The decisive mandates delivered by the electorate in the recent history setting uncertainty to rest indicates that the Indian electorate has come of age. This election has established the predominance of Narendra Modi in Indian politics.
It also proved that the Third Front, which comes into existence momentarily before every election, is just a myth and the Congress party, which banks on the dynasty for its survival, is facing an existential crisis. Most importantly, India has become a ‘Left Mukt Bharat’ after a decimation from West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, which are considered to be their bastions.
Now, what could be the reason behind the continuous onward march of Modi and his BJP? It is normal in Indian politics that any government, after completing its tenure, faces anti-incumbency and finds it difficult to retain power. This time, however, there is a pro-incumbency wave and the Modi succeeded in retaining power with more number of seats.
Though Modi was accused of implementing Modinomics, which is akin to the neo-liberal Reaganomics and promoting the interests of the big businessmen, he did not discard welfarism altogether. He successfully implemented many welfare programs such as distributing gas cylinders, construction of toilets and building houses through the schemes PM Ujjwala Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which brought about an improvement in the lives of the people. In addition to these welfare programs, he also prioritized infrastructure development. These welfare and developmental programs, which reached many beneficiaries and augmented the economic activity, made a major contribution to his victory.
The Hindutva ideology is slowly getting entrenched among many. Many Hindus feel that the expansionist tendencies manifested by some Abrahamic religions are intended to destroy India’s indigenous culture. They also fear that the violent separatism and terrorism that are raising their heads in the name of Islam may lead to the disintegration of India. The Pulwama terror attack and the Indian connection to the Sri Lanka’s bomb blasts reinforced these fears. The ‘Caliphate’ clamor, the ‘Jihadi’ outcry and ‘Sharia’ shriek are making Hindus consolidate behind the BJP. The ‘liberal’ support towards minorities has further angered the orthodox Hindu community. They increasingly feel that only Modi and his BJP can safeguard Hindu interests.
The opposition parties, especially the Congress are in doldrums and are not in a position to provide the people with any credible alternative. The people of India are fed up with dynasty politics. Sensing this feeling among the people Modi even took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi and his family as “naamdaar” while claiming himself as “kaamdaar.” The defeat of the dynasty scions such as Milind Deora and Jyotiraditya Scindia amply manifest the revulsion the electorate has developed towards dynasty politics. Even Rahul Gandhi himself lost in his family bastion, Amethi. Sensing that the Congress is in its death bed and the so-called Third Front is a myth, the voters turned to Modi.
The Pulwama terror attack, instigated by our rogue neighbor Pakistan, once again threw a challenge to India’s national security. India faced similar challenges in the form of Mumbai terror attacks and numerous bomb blasts triggered by Islamic terrorists in different parts of the country. But, every time an attack took place India responded in a meek manner citing the reason that Pakistan is a nuclear neighbor.
India’s reluctance to act against cross-border terrorism further emboldened Pakistan to carry out more attacks. But this time India retaliated calling Pakistan’s bluff. India’s retaliation caught Pakistan completely off-guard and its narrative failed to impress the international community. This is one of Modi’s major achievements, which he utilized well to his electoral advantage.
Modi, over some years, gained a reputation for being a workaholic. People strongly feel that irrespective of his mistakes in the form of demonetization and goof-ups in the implementation of GST, he had never frozen into inaction and never pushed the nation into a policy paralysis. He kept everybody on tenterhooks and made things happen. Though his frequent travels abroad were criticized, his contribution to the strengthening of India’s ties with many countries and India’s improved stature in the international arena can’t be overlooked.
So, Modi’s victory in a way heralded the advent of a new India. And he achieved this in the face of a persistent vilification campaign carried out by the so-called secularists and liberals. In every difficult situation, the ‘Stita Pragna’ in him enabled him to move on and achieve the unachievable. Now that he is a seasoned administrator from the experience he gained during the last five years, let us hope he will perform better and make India stronger and prosperous.
This article was first published here.