The 68-year-old Narendra Damodardas Modi cruises to a second term in office. With that, he becomes the first non-Congress Prime Minister to return to power for a full five-year term. The BJP has won over 300 seats and with its partners, the NDA has a stunning tally of 350. The party has gathered over 38 per cent of the total votes, its maximum national vote share. The NDA’s cumulative vote share was close to 45 per cent, up from its 38 per cent in 2014.
Insightful strategy formulated by the BJP influenced many voters and they saw it as a vote for or against Modi. It takes influential personalities to propagate a plan, but it is those strategies that outlast personalities that outline the course of a people or a nation. Now the voters have spoken clearly and delivered an unambiguous mandate. But the excitement over the dramatic victory must not cloud what is expected of the country’s second citizen.
Two factors contributed to the breathtaking victory. First, a majority of the voters across India, mainly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan, voted for the tall personality of the leader, some for the religion and some for the Balakot strike. It was a marketing blitzkrieg at its best. Secondly, the absence of a strong opposition coalition helped the BJP to emerge a big winner and the complacence of the Congress party after registering wins in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh in the Assembly polls held in December 2018 aided the BJP to a greater extent.
AND THE MAN OF THE MATCH IS…
Elections in India are equally important for those who chalk out strategies. As far as the BJP is concerned Amit Shah took responsibility for it. He was the one who leads from the front. When the battle for 2019 began, although Modi was the face of the party, political pundits predicted the influence of the ‘Modi-Shah’ factor on the verdict. Without doubt, Shah has a vice-like grip on the party and conquering states like UP and West Bengal proved it. Shah deserves full credit for it.
Shah was the brain of the campaign. He was unharmed by the number of allegations against him: Now he has won from Gandhinagar, besting even the performance of both Advani and Modi. When Modi introduced the ‘Mera booth sabse mazboot’ movement to stimulate party workers, it was Shah who had assured every booth was genuinely working to the last detail. These facts label him as undisputed choice for the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
TOUGH TIMES FOR CONGRESS
The grand old party that led the freedom movement is on its last legs. Even though unpredicted wins gave a little boost to the party, the 2014 election verdict indicated the decline of the star value of the party and 2019 election endorsed it. The party failed to reconstruct itself. The mandate in Amethi is the proverbial last straw. Congress and its leadership failed in providing a convincing alternative to Prime Minister Modi.
The declining ability of the party to retain its support base is a matter of concern. But if the decline turns irrevocable, it would be bad for India because any functional democracy needs a robust two-party set up to maintain checks and balances. To do that the party needs to construct powerful coalitions at the state level immediately. Furthermore, Congress needs to show that it has a life beyond the dynasty. Leadership needs to be built at various levels, given the fact that there are intellectually sharp, articulate and charismatic leaders: Scindia, Deora, Pilot, Tharoor, to name a few.
If it doesn’t do these, it will be fast consigned to the dustbin of history. That will not be good, because, despite all its limitations, it is the one party that really, truly and totally believes in secularism and does not take battles to heart. You can fight with a Congressman all day and yet in the night have a peg of drink with him.
The opposition was outwitted. Modi was in harmony with the aspirations of the people and did not commit any errors in understanding the psychology of the mass. His plan of feeding the story to move the nation in one direction met the desired aim. Therefore, the opposition has to reconsider, rethink, reinvent and regroup for getting the desired outcome. A new war has begun for them.
The chemistry of ‘Modi mystic’ was not troubled by the collective power of Mahagathbandhan. For example, in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP secured higher vote share than the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, and the Congress. Union Minister Smriti Irani defeated the Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his family bastion of Amethi. The biggest story of the Mahagathbandhan trial in UP was the capacity of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati to garner votes coming to a cropper.
GLIMPSEs OF MODI ARITHMETIC
In Uttar Pradesh, it was a general remark that anti-incumbency factor may halt the BJP’s run. However, the ‘Modi wave’ winged their wishes and NDA won 64 sets out of 80 seats. In Bihar and Jharkhand, it was a cakewalk for NDA. The grand alliance of RJD, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha, Vikassheel Insaan Party, and Congress exhibited abysmal show. Of the 54 seats (40 in Bihar and 14 in Jharkhand), the NDA won 51 seats.
In Madhya Pradesh, even though the Congress regained the power to rule the state after 15 years, the party has tasted loss. Many promises made during the election season did not rescue them. The BJP comfortably bagged 28 seats out of 29. In Chhattisgarh, BJP introduced new soldiers to fight the battle and the gamble paid off. BJP won 9 out of 11 seats. In Rajasthan, it’s a whitewash as Modi swept 25-0 with even lesser-known candidates winning by a long distance.
In Haryana, the Congress lost all its wickets for no runs and experienced immense embarrassment. The NDA won all 10 seats and succeeded in keeping the ‘Modi chant’ on in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In Karnataka, the BJP hit a high for the first time. The win bamboozled many politicians as the BJP ran away with 25 out of 28 seats. In Gujarat, the BJP made a clean sweep of all the 26 seats. In Maharashtra, the silent ‘Modi Lehar’ turned into a storm as the NDA bagged 41 seats of the 46 seats.
In the Northeast, BJP’s new journey begins. The BJP and its allies won 19 of the 25 parliamentary seats. The most trusted party of the region, the Congress, did not get the expected treatment. In Delhi, the lotus saw the new sunlight and won all 7 seats. The candidates of the BJP secured more than 50 per cent of the vote share. In Telangana, the lotus did blossom winning nine seats out of 16. KCR has to watch out.
In Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh brought in merry time for the Congress bagging eight of the 13 seats. In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee suffered serious inroads into her power: her tally came down sharply to 22 and the BJP’s rose spectacularly to 18 positions. In Odisha, the saffron finally got chance to shine, but the magic man Naveen Patnaik did not lose the ground. The ‘Modi Lehar’ helped the BJP to win 8 seats out of 20 in the state. In Tamil Nadu, as usual, the BJP did not get a welcome and the DMK troop won the war by winning 37 seats out of 38. In Kerala, the BJP got out without opening the account and the Sabarimala issue did not fetch them the favorable score but the Congress did. The Congress-led United Democratic Front won 19 seats out of 20. In Andhra Pradesh, it is a ‘bye-bye Babu’ moment and YSRCP romped home with 22 of the 25 seats. Incredible, but true. Here NOTA garnered more votes than the BJP and the Congress. Phew.
MEGA VERDICT IS OUT. WHAT NEXT?
Although several die-hard fans of Modi admit that there is a big gap between talk and show, they still believe that no other leader can solve India’s problems and have put the burden back on his shoulders. This election shows that the public see Modi’s first five years as a trailer. If that is the fact, the prime minister’s second term is the beginning of the real movie. So no room for any excuses now. Grave policy and loopholes in administration won’t be accepted. India needs reliable performance.
Voters’ duty is not confined to voting. They should be constructive detractors and must raise the flag against wrong doings of the government. We want India to be better in every way, but most of us do not know and where to contribute to making that happen. We must ensure that the right policies are in place. We must comprehend the power of the democratic system and the vital role of the citizens in the government. In a vibrant democracy like India’s, every enlightened citizen can drive change.
Elected members should play the game of politics sensibly. Modi, the newly crowned superman, must handle his problems judiciously so that we won’t have to write the obituary of Indian democracy. However, as the famous line from William Shakespeare’s King Henry IV goes: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”