Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Nationalism par excellence Modi-style

Updated: May 31, 2019 12:50 pm

Narendra Modi is the Man of the Moment for Indian nation. A common man, an RSS Pracharak, a visionary, he is now the blue-eyed Prime Minister of Indian democracy. This bodes well, as it signifies that his past term as PM experience will be an able guidance for furthering good governance. The tremendous victory in this election is not only a reflection of the personal popularity of Narendra Modi, but also the utter disenchantment with the Congress and other Opposition parties. The election results also display the depths to which the Congress has fallen under the stewardship of Rahul Gandhi, whose central campaigning role turned out to be a flop show. The landslide victory also brings to an end the era of coalition politics, as all Opposition alliances are made to bite the dust by the electorate. Voters across all spectrums of sex, caste, religion, social milieu, and economic status have again chosen him as the one, who will further put India on the path of accelerated development. In the map of India after the verdict of 2019 general elections has been declared, the saffron impact that has emerged after the final results has been shown from Kashmir to South India, if not yet all the way to Kanyakumari. The scale of the BJP victory has ensured that India will again get a government with a stable support in Parliament. For, BJP’s vote share has escalated from 170 million votes in 2014 to 220 million votes in 2019. What is worth mentioning is the fact that it was Modi charisma that the party grabbed 224 seats out of 303 seats it won with over 50 per cent vote share. Modi’s magnetism was also seen on caste-wise votes, as the NDA was polled 47.1 per cent of OBC votes, 43.2 per cent of ST votes and 39.5 per cent of SC votes, whereas the UPA got 25.4 per cent of OBC votes, 30.1 per cent of ST votes and 29.8 per cent of SC votes. In the religion-wise milieu, NDA garnered support in bulk from all religions, barring Muslims, as it received 51.6 per cent of Hindu votes, 45.7 per cent of Christian votes and 38.2 per cent of Sikh votes, whereas the UPA was able to gather 40.8 per cent of Muslim votes, 28 per cent of Sikh votes and 27.8 per cent of Christian votes. Furthermore, the BJP’s writ ran among ST candidates, as among its 303 victorious members, 34 belong to ST category and three of them won from General Seats, whereas the Congress has only 5 ST MPs. So, in this scenario, what now awaits the utterly defeated Congress party? While licking its wounds, the realisation has dawned that the party has no more the automatic right to lead the official Opposition. In fact, it is not clear, which other party could take the role. The right option would be that the Congress could split and a breakaway faction unites with politically inclined regional parties like the NCP in Maharashtra, the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and others.

The humongous outcome also means that enormous expectations will now rest on the BJP and Modi to accelerate delivering changes quickly. He will be put under the microscope. His success will now depend on how effectively he empowers the private sector and how he implements the next phase of market-centered reforms. With nearly half of India’s 125 crore under 26, few Indians can even recall the 1991 reforms. India’s youth bulge can be an enormous asset or liability, depending on what the government delivers on this front. For, the BJP won the political battle hands down but has still to fight the economic battle. The brute majority it has won will leave the Opposition nonplussed. The BJP theme of 2019 was seemingly nationalism. However, nationalism alone cannot extricate people from poverty, unemployment and agrarian distress, to name a few issues. Indeed, markets rallied as early trends emerged. The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex index rallied and crossed 40,000 for the first time. Investors expect that the second Modi government that again enjoys majority in Parliament will push through major economic reforms, cut further red tape, and fast-track clearances, and make India a better place to deploy capital. Modi has always advocated a more muscular approach to national security, which was witnessed in Balakot air strikes, besides the earlier surgical strikes. And no wonder America, Pakistan and China all are closely watching him. Even though China is a traditional military rival to India, Modi has a fascination for that country’s economic rise, and had welcomed Chinese investors to Gujarat in the past. About Pakistan, Modi’s disenchantment is evident with Imran Khan not being invited to Modi’s swearing-in ceremony as PM. With the United States, all depends on Modi’s approach to US-Iran crisis. Having said this, it cannot be gainsaid that as far as the failure of the Congress and the rest of the Opposition is concerned, it was known that in the absence of a healthy understanding among themselves, they would lose. Each party was ambitious, failed to be accommodative and take quick decisions for proper seat-adjustments. This exposed them as incapable and at sixes and sevens. But good times are here, as India’s third tryst with destiny has again come under the leadership of Narendra Modi.      

By Deepak Kumar Rath (editor@udayindia.in)

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