After being awake pretty much all night, I couldn’t resist but publish at least a short article. Especially after results surpassed the exit polls by a wide margin. The clear winner in this election is Narendra Modi (not BJP). It is extremely rare and unprecedented that national politician becomes the face for both Lok Sabha elections and all the consecutive Assembly elections.
Uttar Pradesh (BJP+ 325): This election has been stupendous in many fronts. UP, which is often been ridiculed as caste-ridden has voted for Modi-led BJP, cutting across religious and caste lines. A quick flashback! The fact that over 10 lakh people attended the first rally of Narendra Modi, held a few months ago, should have been a premonition to the Political Pundits that something landslide could happen in the coming months. Below was the trajectory of political happenings as a result of rallies, family feuds, sops, internal bickering, defections etc. It started off with Modi addressing a series of rallies in UP. This however, was hijacked by internal family feud in the Samajwadi’s Yadav family. Like I mentioned in my previous article, this set a stage for Akhilesh, to prove his charisma both to people and to his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav. The brief BJP’s lull here was myopically misconstrued (mentioned here) as people’s unacceptance. Rejection of Qaumi Ekta Dal’s merger with SP was also credited to the assumed clean, developmental image of Akhilesh. Here is where the castle started piling up in the air. Akhilesh shot in his own foot when he started playing ‘donkey-centered’ (in the true sense of the word) politics. Modi, a shrewd politician which he is, quickly picked up on this and highlighted the positive aspects of the hardworking nature of donkey. Parallelly, Amit Shah enthused the party workers with his brand of politics. Then came the SP-Congress alliance. This probably was a huge misstep in the wrong direction. Alliance sent out a message that SP was desperate in wooing the minority votes which is assumed to be Congress’s bastion (SP hasn’t learnt a lesson from 2014 Lok Sabha beating of Congress where most of its traditional voter base has eroded). However, Akhilesh went ahead with the alliance, allocating a massive 114 tickets (initially started off with 80) to an undeserving Congress. This showed desperation both on Samajwadi party and Congress. Congress won a mere 7 seats. About the Congress, the lesser said, the better. With an aim to usurp power or to be part of ruling government, the Congress has been supporting any and every alliance with a goal of stopping BJP from coming to power. Be it Communist parties in Bengal or JD(U) in Bihar or Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. This has diluted the ideological credibility of Congress and it has been relegated to a mere participant in the electoral politics. When it comes to leadership, it has been proven time and again that people in and outside the party have rejected Rahul Gandhi’s ‘leadership’.The opportunistic expectation of SP-Congress has been proven by Akhilesh’s willingness to join hands even with Mayawati to put BJP at bay. The huge silent voters support for BJP has proven that a common voter is always smart when it comes to polling. A voter uses mind and heart when voting. Mayawati’s brand of communal politics (Dalit-Muslim) has been shunned by common voter. A fed up voter voted for Modi en masse across caste and religious lines. A common self goal by all parties was the shaming of Modi on ‘demonetization’ move. This move has not eroded the Modi image even by an iota. This was apparent in Mamta Banerjee’s sudden stoic silence after initially raising a huge outcry on the move. That silence was indicative of something. Mamta realized that common man sympathizes with Modi’s sincere intention behind the demonetization move, regardless of the output. This is reflective of the ‘heart’ part of the voters.
Punjab (INC: 77) :The number speaks scores about the hope (not ‘trust’) of the voters on Congress. This has been a stupendous victory and a saving grace for the party. BJP had nothing to lose here. It was never a dominating force, and it cannot be a dominating force in any non-hindi belt where regional sentiments are strong. Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab etc. to quote. Gujarat is an exception since Narendra Modi himself hails from Gujarat. That said, the biggest loser in Punjab was Aam Admi Party. Its exuberating overconfidence proved to be a bane for the party. Manish Sisodia’s claim that Arvind Kejriwal himself would be the Chief Ministerial candidate of Punjab was reflective of greed for power, which Punjabi voters could not digest. The expulsion of Sucha Singh Chhotepur also indicated the party’s stand against rise of any democratic voice within the party. Added to this, some rallies where the overenthusiastic Bhagwat Mann allegedly showed up inebriated, added another nail in AAP’s coffin. The fact that AAP and SAD ended up securing similar numbers reflects mood of the voters. ‘Performance’ is the only way out for Congress to retain people’s support and is the only solution to convert hope to trust.
Manipur (BJP: 21): To me, Manipur should be dubbed as a real victory, a moral victory for BJP. BJP’s vote share increased by 32.48% from a meager 2.12% in 2012. This is indicative of giant strides BJP is making in the north east. North east has always been marginalized and looked down upon. Modi noticed this, and much before the Manipur elections, has been striving hard and invested in Manipur. Assam victory is a testimony to this. Regardless of whether BJP would form the government or not, the sheer fact that it recorded a tremendous increase in voter base is a testimony of ‘Modi’ factor. His continuance of ‘Look East’ and its successive transformation to ‘Act East’ has impacted Manipur voters. It should be noted that even the likes of Advani and Vajpayee could not win confidence of North east voters.
A big takeaway from these elections is, Congress finally registered a stupendous victory in Punjab and it took a non-Gandhi (Amarinder Singh). This should be an eye opener to the reluctant Congress. For BJP, Manipur is a big win and truly mirrors ‘Modi’ tsunami, even though the route to Delhi passes through UP. Modi juggernaut has once again proven to be invincible. As long as Modi continues to win people’s trust, votes would be an assumed byproduct. As you sow, so shall you reap! And to all the NDA partners who have been silently wishing for BJP’s defeat, sorry folks, ‘Picture abhi baki hain, raat abhi kaafi hain!’