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Lok Sabha Elections (2014) - Aftermath
|by Dr. Jaipal Singh|
Far beyond the estimates and guesstimates of psephologists, political pundits and analysts, the Modi wave, as many called it a tsunami, has indeed eclipsed the Ruling Congress and decimated the entire opposition as is now evident from the results of the elections held for the 16th Lok Sabha of the Indian democracy. It has rendered irrelevant and meaningless all community, cast and social equations and calculations traditionally relied upon by the parties, politicians and independent analysts.
Some of the parties like Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) failed to even open their accounts. The entire Left Front lost its relevance in Indian polity at least for the time being with registering only meager presence in their erstwhile strong citadels like Kerala and West Bengal. The Aam Admi Party (AAP) had fielded more than four hundred candidates throughout the length and breadth of the country. The AAP was a total wash out across the country with only about 2% vote share with many stalwarts losing their security except for a few seats in Punjab that too because of anti-incumbency factor against both the ruling Akalis as well as the Congress.
The ways parliamentary election results have tilted in favour of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led NDA, the phenomenon could simply be described as astonishing, unbelievable and unimaginable. Ever since independence and after 1984 post Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassination, the BJP have become the only single party, other than the Congress, to have received such a massive mandate of people attaining an absolute majority with 282 of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats.
The Indian National Congress (the Congress), a party carrying a legacy of about 125 years and having reigned the country for the most part of the post-independence India, could not even open its account in several states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Delhi, Tamilnadu and Jammu & Kashmir. In no other state, it has reached a two-digit tally of winners and most of the Congress stalwarts including sitting cabinet ministers have lost their elections. Even the party face and heir apparent found it too difficult to retain his seat at Amethi, UP in a closely fought election. Such has been the rebuff and wrath of the electorate that the party with its total 44 winning candidates has even failed to achieve a minimum 10% parliamentary seats required for its recognition as the main opposition party.
In the electoral history, perhaps for the first time the Congress had fielded the heir apparent of the dynastic leadership to lead the poll campaign in place of its sitting prime minister. The experiment has clearly proven costly for the ruling party which has decimated to just double-digits in the parliament with humiliating defeat all over posing a serious threat to its disintegration if they fail to have a honest assessment of the poll debacle and remedial measures in time to come.
For the last twenty-five years, the country has seen only successive coalition governments because no single party could achieve necessary mandate during the national elections. Already there was a debate for some time that the country has entered in an era of coalition politics and no single party would now muster enough support to form the federal government at the Centre in the near future. Making a mockery of all political pandits and analysts, the people of India have given such an massive mandate to one party that a coalition would be actually required now to put on a viable opposition in the parliament. This mandate is clearly in favour of the stability and growth of the nation.
The world’s largest democracy has given a decisive mandate to Mr Narendra Modi led BJP. It is heart-warming that in his first thanks giving speech to the people at Vadodara, Gujarat, he has given a clear indication about his focus on growth and good governance without any prejudice or discrimination. He is known for taking decisions without fear or favour and the people have given him enough mandate to work decisively. The BJP alone have won 282 seats, about a dozen more than the required majority, the party should be able to work for the development and welfare of people without any unwarranted pressure from coalition partners or the external pressure groups.
As expected from a mature politician, Mr Modi adopted an inclusive statesman like approach in his victory speech at Vadodara on the Friday, 16th May when he assured the people to work tirelessly as the Country’s Mazdoor No. 1 for all. His catch phrase was ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ ( Together with all, development for all) before the massive cheering crowd and keenly watched by the entire country through electronic media.
“In the forthcoming sixty months, the country won’t get a labourer like me,” he said in a humble tone. With the BJP led NDA getting absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, he was apparently trying to assuage fears of minority and ethnic groups when he said, “I have always held that the Government does not belong to any party but to the country. Improving everyone’s life is the Government’s priority.”
Another significant point that Mr Modi highlighted was that for the first time the country’s leadership has passed into the hands of a generation born after the independence. “So what if we didn’t get the opportunity to die for the nation to get swaraj (self-rule), it is time we live for the country and get suraaj (good governance),” he exclaimed. “If every citizen takes a step forward, our country will move 125 crores steps ahead. It’s the people’s power that will shape India’s future,” he added.
The statement is significant because by saying this he was perhaps trying to convey that the mere efforts of the government are not suffice for the nation building and that every citizen owes a responsibility towords the nation. And these utterances unlike his predecessor(s) from previous regimes didn’t come from a pre-drafted written speech but were ex-tempore and spontaneous, an indication that he was talking from his heart and not mind. As they say the mind can camouflage feelings but the heart always speaks truth.
Notwithstanding all this, there is a league of politicians, intelligentsia and individuals as bitter critics of Mr Modi within the country and abroad. Only in the recent past, some of them have gone to the extent of calling him ‘butcher’ of Gujarat who massacred numerous muslims post Godhra incident. Then there are some who refer to 1984 Sikh riots when many more Sikhs were slaughtered in Delhi and elsewhere as a backlash to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Unfortunately, the Indian sub-continent has a long history of religious intolerance and communal violence but it is highly improper to use such unfortunate incidents as tools for political mileage or brinkmanship by any responsible politician, party or individual.
Incidents of communal hatred and violence are crime against humanity. The fact remains that perhaps no other alleged crime against mass human violence has been so extensively investigated as the Gujarat communal riots 2002 and none of the investigating agency, including special investigation team appointed by the Supreme Court, have found him culpable. Besides, Gujarat is one state where no other communal violence has been reported since 2002. In such case, citing it time and again for political gains only vitiates atmosphere of communal harmony and brotherhood elsewhere in the country.
Perhaps political analysts would have more and for better assessment, but to my mind the main factors responsible for Mr Modi’s personal rise and phenomenal victory are as under. First, his spontaneous quality to instantly connect with the people while delivering speech, and secondly, his untiring energy, imagination and patience which no other contemporary politician appears to possess. While his opponents were engaged in personal criticism and abusive words all along during campaign, he mainly focused on inclusive development and local issues affecting people wherever he visited during canvassing phase.
It is only a matter of days before the BJP and its allies formally take reign of the government under the prime ministership of Mr Modi at the Centre. The Government may not have time to be jubilant or celebrate as apart from NDA’s own agenda for development, many issues as legacy of the previous government would pose constant challenge and threat to test their much professed good governance. For instance, to control the soaring inflation and low GDP growth, the government would need to take immediate and appropriate economic measures to check rising prices and to put economy back on wheels to facilitate a stable business environment in a reasonably growing economy.
Further, for the last few years, corruption and black money have been posing serious threat and bothering the entire nation. So far, the BJP as the main opposition have been in the role of a critic but now they have responsibility to take result oriented effective and viable measures to check corruption in the public life, discover the sources and bring black money back to the nation.
Then, secularism is perhaps the most misunderstood and abused word in the Indian politics today. In the name of secularism, many political parties, self proclaimed intelligentsia and adversaries have been raising a hysteria that minorities are not safe if the saffron party assumes power at the Centre. The new government led by Mr Modi will have tremendous challenge and responsibility to allay apprehensions and fears among minorities, particularly Muslims, maintain communal harmony and provide equal opportunities to all in their persuit of socio-economic development and growth.
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06/03/2014 11:46 AM