After What Happened In 2019, Modi Sarkar Will Probably Be Followed For Another 10 Years By Other BJP Sarkars
Dr Syed Asjad Bokhari in this article lays out the key factors that led to a spectacular victory for Narendra Modi in the 2019 elections.
Whilst many a pundit had anticipated a BJP victory in the 2019 Indian elections but no one anticipated the resounding nature of the triumph with over 300 seats won all over India. Reporters on the ground though could palpate the voting pattern resulting from a dynamic and astute BJP election campaign in alliance with a disaster of an effort that Congress managed culminating in the current Lok Sabha map.
A lot of leftists sat in their homes or TV studios trying to shout themselves hoarse on national and international media about the chances of a resurgent Congress but nothing could have been farther from the truth. No it’s not a victory for a right wing Hindutva movement riding on emotions and fear. It’s an electoral success resulting from planning and management. Multiple factors producing the results for BJP can be analysed thus:
Sonia Vs. Amit
The large political parties in India have a parallel running structure. Modi and Rahul to look after the state and governance affairs and Sonia and Amit lead the party organisations, alliances and election campaigns. Amit Shah is a former polling agent risen to the top of BJP via a long and turbulent democratic path which gives him the awareness of Indian grassroots politics and ground realities.
Sonia Gandhi could not be any further from this description. The way both parties managed their campaigns eventually showed the difference between a clueless lady and a man in the know.
Modi Vs. Rahul
Probably the most telling factor in the whole story. Rahul Gandhi is like a lost prince claiming the throne in the name of his father and ancestors and not seen as a leader by the Indian public as a whole. He also managed to make a few blunders in the days leading up to the elections. Chowkidaar Chor hay, the slogan on which the whole campaign was based, crumbled after Rahul first suggested that Supreme Court of India verified his slogan only to publicly apologise later and losing face.
Modi on the other hand didn’t make many appearances during the period, no press conferences and twisted ‘Chowkidaar Chor Hay’ into ‘Chowkidaar’ which was taken up by his followers and found backing from masses.
MP and UP
Uttar Pradesh is the largest electoral states and in 2014 was swept away by BJP. With a large Muslim vote in Maddhya Pardesh and multiple parties in UP hoping for an alliance with Congress, it could be assumed that BJP might lose a lot of seats in these two states. Not to be though, as any losses likely to be incurred due to anti-BJP Muslim votes or anti-incumbent government sentiments were not taken advantage of by the Congress.
Congress stayed stubborn in alliances and asked for the number of seats based on 2009 results as opposed to 2014 from potential allies. That resulted in no alliances of the left and a confused Muslim voter. BJP not only maintained its strength in UP but also managed to win heavily in MP, Chattishgarh, and all 7 seats from Delhi. A testament to poor Congress policies is the emergence of BJP as the strongest party from Jammu and Kashmir.
Pulwama and BalaKot
Pulwama actually didn’t play a major role in Indian elections as had been perceived earlier and the opinion poll data prior to the elections strongly suggests that the only change that Pulwama incident and the so-call surgical strike brought to the electorate was minimal.
A 15% shift in voting for the PM as opposed to the local candidate seemingly was the biggest curve in the graph post Pulwama incident. A failed surgical strike and losses incurred by IAF did nothing to diminish Modi’s popularity and the narrative in India was whatever local media fed the public in the name of patriotism and national interest.
Another remarkable aspect of the election result is the numbers of seats gained by BJP in the south of India. Karnataka and Telangana saw the most surprising results other than Delhi all over India. Even the daughter of CM in Telangana lost her seat to the BJP candidate.
The results in south of India were achieved by spending excessive money on the campaigning. BJP is the richest party in the country and up to 40 crore INR were spent per constituency to make these results happen.
After Rahul Gandhi’s resignation being turned down by president of Congress (his mother) it seems that Congress is not ready to learn from its mistakes and BJP is there to stay for another decade.
That makes one wonder if we have seen the glimpses of next Indian PM in Amit Shah, once Modi steps aside. For the time being the biggest challenge would be to deal with Andhra. People of Andhra have spoken in favour of a special status and Modi cannot continue to ignore their voices.
He also needs to work with the agriculture sector of Punjab as BJP was demolished in Punjab in recent elections. Internationally, he is expected to find a way forward with the US and streamline the trade ties. Pakistan probably isn’t the top priority for him at the moment and can be used as a country he can blame when the ratings are down and use the inherent anti-Pakistan sentiment in India to boost his popularity.
For the moment it seems like another 5 years of Modi sarkar shall be followed by another 10 of BJP sarkar in one form or another.
The author hosts TV show Pressing Issues, dealing with British and international political issues on Sky Channel 777. He can be reached @bokhari_asjad