BJP’S GRAND SECOND TIME VICTORY IN INDIA
Nationalism, Hindutva, welfare power BJP to an even bigger victory
HIGHLIGHTS Prime Minister Narendra Modi led BJP to an emphatic win in the Lok Sabha election The results of the election became apparent within a couple of hours of counting on Thursday morning By the end of the day, BJP had won more seats in Uttar Pradesh than Congress did all over the country Prime Minister Narendra Modi andAmit Shah greet supporters on arrival at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
TOTAL- 542 SEATS
BJP-303-SHIV SENE-18- JDU-16-LJP-6-AKALI DAL-2-OTHERS -8
CONGRESS-52- DMK-23 NCP-5 MUSLIM LEAGUE -5 OTHERS-9
YSRC-24 TMC-22 BSP-10 TRS10 SP-9 OTHERS 17
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi led BJP to an emphatic win in the Lok Sabha election, crushing challenger Congress and other regional rivals under a saffron juggernaut powered by a highvoltage campaign that ran on the themes of nationalism, Hindutva and welfare schemes for the poor.
The results of the election became apparent within a couple of hours of counting on Thursday morning, with BJP racing to led in over 303 seats. By the end of the day, it had won more seats in Uttar Pradesh than Congress did all over the country.
Neither the “mahagathbandhan” of SP and BSP in UP nor regional powerhouses Trinamool and BJD could slow BJP’s march to a record second term in office. Just like the air strikes on Balakot that Modi invoked in his poll speeches, his campaign flattened opponents who had hoped allegations over the Rafale deal and issues of unemployment and farm distress would unseat the Prime Minister.
As things turned out, Congress’s “chowkidar chor hai” campaign found no resonance and was effectively countered by the “main bhi chowkidar” mobilisation. The unambiguous endorsement also marked an ideological triumph over the “secular” elite after a hard-fought duel in which BJP challenged the latter’s “idea of India” on issues ranging from sedition and how to handle J&K to judicial interference with religious traditions.
Campaign Modi was a celebration of his aggressive military retaliation against Pakistan-sponsored terror which the intellectual establishment derided as jingoism, as well as an unabashed emphasis of Hindu symbols and themes — an anathema to the “ancien regime”. In his victory speech at the BJP headquarters on Thursday evening, Modi said the verdict signalled the birth of new India’s hopes and aspirations and showed that the political use of “secularism” had run its course. 2nd landslide confirms BJP’s emergence as the principal pole of Indian politics Modi described the 2019 mandate as unprecedented and one which would stun world opinion. “Political pundits will have to forget the formulations of the last century,” he said.
BJP president Amit Shah said Congress had failed to score in 17 states and UTs, and parties that showed a contempt for the PM’s hard work had paid a price for their arrogance. The verdict was a fitting response to the politics of appeasement and caste and dynasty, he added, hailing Modi as the world’s most popular democratic leader. The second landslide for Modi confirmed BJP’s emergence as the principal pole of Indian politics and its enthronement as the natural party of governance, with the NDA alliance crossing 44% of the total votes polled. NDA numbers rose to around 350 as BJP fulfilled the “ab ki baar, teen sau par” pledge. Seen by many as more of a rallying cry than a realistic political goal, Modi defied punditry that BJP would find it hard to repeat its domineering performances in states where it had done very well in 2014. It repeated its sweep of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and won all seats in Madhya Pradesh except one. It swept Bihar in alliance with JD(U) and Ramvilas Paswan’s LJP.
In the choice between contesting imaginations, BJP’s controversial candidate Pragya Thakur, an accused in a terror case, trounced Congress veteran Digvijay Singh who was in the Sangh Parivar’s crosshairs for allegedly coining the term “Hindu terror”. Kanhaiya Kumar of “azaadi” fame fell to the Modi wave in Begusarai. The success in combats over ideology as well as in states which boast of big concentrations of Muslims — from Assam and West Bengal to Bihar and UP — led many in the party to call the result a stride towards the “re-Hinduisation” of India. While cultural themes and nationalism formed part of the Modi broth, the PM scored high because of the pro-poor credentials he had amassed by implementing welfare schemes. He was helped immensely by his success in reining in inflation and corruption — two millstones which had sunk many of previous regimes.
Congress and other opponents had banked on unemployment and farm distress. In the end, those concerns failed to derail BJP, partly because of specific interventions such as the PM Kisan Samman income support and more importantly because the opposition failed to build a convincing narrative and the PM was seen as better placed to solve the problems. It was Modi’s election, with the PM being the point of referendum. “Every vote you cast will come directly to me,” Modi had told voters The party wove the campaign around Modi’s personality, milking his oratory and its domination of the airwaves. The voters responded by delivering an unambiguous mandate to the PM with BJP on its own comfortably crossing the majority mark. Unfettered by coalition compulsions — though allies will be part of the government as before — Modi is now set to unroll NDA 2.0 with an accelerated focus on reforms, infrastructure, welfare and a “right wing” political agenda like the citizenship bill and the national register of citizens. The PM can be expected to pursue a harder policy against extremists in Jammu and Kashmir with dialogue with players like Hurriyat ruled out. The posture with regard to Pakistan can be expected to reflect an unrelenting focus on terrorism, a condition that the neighbour must meet for any progress in ties. The big parliamentary majority can be expected to help Modi further the Wuhan spirit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The rise in BJP vote shares in states like UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra is bad news for opposition parties as they underline the dominance of BJP and its partners across significant political geographies.
With the party’s expansion in the east in West Bengal and Odisha, BJP is moving towards reducing its dependence on north and west India for electoral victory at the Centre. The party posted a record total in Karnataka and picked up an unexpected four seats in Telangana but did not score in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The increase in vote shares in these states and the boost that BJP’s return to office will provide promise to spur its expansion in south India. The prospects of growth across the country could further enable the party to cushion itself against regional variations in the future. TOP COMMENT Cannot hold my tears too.. Jai Modi, Jai Bharat , Vande Matram …
The threat for opposition parties — Congress and regional parties — is that Modi politics has poached on almost all vote banks save the minorities. The influence of caste-based parties like SP, BSP, RJD has been curtailed by non-Yadav OBCs gravitating towards BJP along with non-Jatav Dalits. The poor governance record of these parties, serious charges of corruption, and perception that benefits are selectively distributed, gave an opening that the PM seized with vigour. The strategem of forming caste-based alliances has also failed, with UP being a prime example while the Congress-JD(S) pact in Karnataka also came a cropper to 1 and 1, BJP- 25.