Counting for the results is only thirteen days away. Traditional political rivals have started open or secret parleys. Their best hope is that the Indian voter is neither wise nor sensible and hence would give an indecisive verdict. This presumption will be strongly belied on 23.5.2019. Rahul Gandhi has reduced the Congress to a double digit party. Congressmen are hoping against hope if they can break the double digit barrier. Their level of ambition is hopelessly inadequate. Mayawati is fully determined to throw her hat in the ring. Mamata Banerjee and Chandrababu Naidu believe that they are the ‘Sutradhars’ of the Opposition. KCR dreams of a non-BJP, non-Congress coalition of parties.
None of these hopeful leaders have been able to understand the real trend on the ground. As the results get declared, two of the contenders – Mamata Didi and Chandrababu Naidu – would have realised that they have lost a large ground in their own States. Voters want responsible governance, not political acrobatics by the leaders they trust. Election is a time when the voters respond. The others to be shaken will be the Congress which would have failed to add any significant numbers to its 2014 tally. The anarchic Aam Aadmi Party could be reduced to virtually next to nothing in the election.
The significant features, which have been noticed as the sixth phase of electioneering concludes, are evident. Where it’s Congress versus BJP, the Congress is unable to give a fight. Some regional combinations are trying to make a semblance of a fight. But India has changed. The youth defy the traditional caste arithmetic. Dynasties are more ridiculed than cherished. The ‘New India’ judges the performance of its leaders very harshly. It has tried and finally trusted the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The new generation of the Gandhis believes that national security is a non-issue. Quite to the contrary, when national security issues are raised in large public meetings, the applause for the leader is the maximum. Are the Opposition parties unable to figure out the ‘Modi Modi’ shouts confronting them when their leaders pass through crowded areas? Except for those who prefer to deceive themselves, media persons travelling across the country have a uniform report that there is an extremely strong pro-Modi trend visible amongst the voters. The Prime Ministerial contest is almost becoming a one horse race. Very rarely has India witnessed such a powerful ratings for an incumbent Prime Minister to be voted to power. The model experimented between 2014-2019 of a single party majority Government, with allies participating in a coalition Government, has provided India a stable and a decisive regime. ‘Coalition of rivals’ lasts only a few months. The electorate is clear that it wants a five year Government and not a five month one. It is thus confronted with the choice of a Modi vs. Chaos. Obviously, the electorates’ wisdom has to be trusted when he makes a choice. The ‘Modi mandate’ could be larger than 2014.
By Arun Jaitley
(Union Minister of Finance, Government of India)