Modi - Mandated Man!
With the sharp rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an unrivalled leader in India’s political firmament, following the pivotal 2017 state elections that have sent political opponents biting the dust, the most part of the nation now goes saffron, assuming nationalist fervor under a hard-working and exceptionally serving Prime Minister. A leader who is greatly revered globally and passionately loved by patriotic Indians, Modi has registered this stellar win via the popular mandate that delivers a sledge-hammer blow to all the anti-national elements who had sought to hijack Indian democracy, spreading venom in the country’s highly diverse society.
In times when India faces constant external threats from across borders, as well as from internal inimical forces, the nation needed a stronger PM. With enough numbers in both Houses of Parliament, the govt can now deliver promises without coercion from the Opposition. All that made Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and all cadre saffronites woked 24X7 like machines to win the key poll battle in UP, the heart of India that sends 80 MPs to Parliament. Thus, they won the people’s hearts, as much as they did in 2014 when Modi wave swept the general election, to a great relief of Indian masses, who suffered pangs of state-sponsored corruption at the top level under UPA.
Indeed a great job done in bagging UP straight, especially after 'azaadi' apologists, pseudo secularists and rest of Modi-haters rancorously joined hands to force replication of the Bihar experiment also on the country’s most populous state. However, time brought in a miracle with the voters finally realizing that PM Modi had the intensity of their soaring aspirations embedded in his heart.
The voters at large considered demonetization, an extremely bold step taken by Modi at great risk, as anti-elite, anti-corrupt, anti-tax-evader, anti-hoarder and convincingly pro-poor. It came as a shock to the corrupt and notorious cash-hoarders. The poor and middle class people loved it, though they faced umpteen cash crunch crises in the process of its implementation. Yet, they had resilience to bear with the difficulties, chanting bravo to Modi and his guts. No wonder, then, if the masses consider this election as clear referendum on demonetization and also on the govt’s overall pro-poor, development-oriented and nationalist policies !
Besides, what worked for BJP in UP was the combined effect of a well-planned strategy that focused on development and corruption-free govt, accepting-humiliated BSP cadres, well planned ticket distribution, targeting non-Jatav Dalits, effective projection of ‘notebandi’ (demonetization) and surgical strike inside Pakistan against embedded terrorists, promises to effectively fighting crime, beside putting anti-Romeo squads on streets, projecting SP as 'parivarvadi' and pro-Muslim party and finally non-declaration of CM nominee to keep caste rivalries away. Results of elections in five states have conclusively demonstrated that voters really don’t bother much about caste, creed and religion when it comes to voting for a corruption-free society, development, economic resurgence, national security and solidarity, as against misrule, corruption, dishonesty, nepotism and mafia raj. Dalits and marginalized sections gave big thumbs up to PM's umpteen gifts, ranging from Jan dhan accounts to free gas connections, women's empowerment schemes, among many others.
Achieving this incredible feat in UP and Uttarakhand now easily clears the saffron leader's way to the 2019 epic battle for Lok Sabha. BJP is forming alliance-based govts even in Manipur and Goa where the party stood marginally short of numbers. Those supporting BJP in these states are convinced that wholly discredited Congress, under Rahul Gandhi, can’t bring relief to the people. Four more states, thus, come under saffron rule in the country.
In Punjab, however, BJP failed to assess the people's mood, where the electorate scornfully rejected its alliance with “the corrupt Badals." Analysts believe BJP could have retained Punjab, too, had it fought the election on its own. Anyway, Amrinder Singh gifted a win to Congress which has been positioning itself from bad to worse since the advent of Rahul Gandhi on the scene. It’s a surprise face-saver for the Gandhi scion who has earned the sobriquet of sailing on naivety, verbal extremes and uncalled for aggression against political detractors.
The Rahul-led Congress has suffered humiliation in UP as never before, with just 7 seats, against its earlier 37, that too in the company of Akhilesh Yadav, whose pre-poll body language suggested he had already won the election. The two, on their road shows, behaved like school kids, playing pranks on camera to the amusement of their cadres. Rahul had forged axis with what he considered a ‘surging Akhilesh party” to save face but, in the process, lost even what his consistently sinking party had in the outgoing assembly. What an abysmal low for Rahul’s political stature and a clear indicator of his incredibly poor leadership. A demoralized Rahul now blames Modi for “stealing” the UP mandate. In Rahul’s company, however, Akhilesh suffered even more: from 224 seats in 2012, his SP shrunk to 47 seats. What an effect of bad company !
That India's democracy is progressively maturing is more than evident in this election, as the voters’ eyes looked clearly focused on priority issues, both national and local, that the PM had ably brought to their doorsteps. That explains why Modi's BJP could secure a massive mandate in UP, in an election that had a three-pronged do-or-die contest as tough as a hard nut to crack for each stakeholder. With the PM himself being exceptionally present in the field, outgoing CM Akhilesh Yadav, a formidable young and popular Yadav aspirant who brought every conceivable wherewithal to notch up a difficult contest and finally widely known dark horse Mayawati, who always remains a vanquishing Dalit supremo, winning the battle for BJP was no easy task. But PM's brilliant sharp-shooting strategist Amit Shah did it with eclat and elan, shining as never before.
Against the saffron juggernaut, Mayawati’s citadel, too, came crashing down. That, perhaps, is the reason why an awfully exasperated, defeated Mayawati now sees the voting machines as “callously tampered to ensure saffron victory by proxy.” Strangely, it never occurred to her in the pre-poll planning as to what it would mean BSP fielding 97 Muslim candidates against the rival aspirants from the same community. Her strategy of a Muslim-Dalit alliance, allocating almost 45 per cent tickets to these communities, didn't work either. Even though Mayawati had warned "Muslims to not waste their votes on SP, for it is only the BSP which can keep the BJP at bay,” no one really took note of her caution. And she drew blank, finishing with just 19 seats, against 80 in 2012. What a poor show of a party that had boasted of an elephantine win, prostrating both BJP and SP!
Just one case illustrates what exactly has happened in most Muslim-dominated constituencies of the state. An outstanding victory of BJP candidate Brijesh Kumar from Deoband - home to Darul Uloom - where 65 per cent voters are Muslims, brings to fore the rare acumen of Amit Shah's deep-digging social engineering that kept the rivals guessing till the last moment. Kumar won the seat by close to 29,000 votes with the consolidated Gujjar, Rajput and Jat votes that came with great toil at a time when Jats had openly revolted against BJP on the reservation issue. Muslim votes got sharply split between BSP and SP candidates. Is not that happening at a place, whose adjoining areas have a large number of relics and host of madrassas and schools, pretty surprising?
The massive mandate to BJP in UP and Uttarakhand comes from all sections of people, including Muslims who traditionally vote for non-BJP parties. This time, Muslim women too have voted for the saffron party looking for what is being described by many pollsters as “emancipation from family subjugation.” The triple talaq issue indeed cut heavily into the Muslim votes. BJP’s promise to end this widely perceived 'regressive practice' definitely split the Muslim votes as the community’s women voted for the BJP, in some cases en masse, albeit keeping their mail folks incognito. Muslim women all over the country are today feeling incontestably vexed as Muslim men can legally divorce their wives without their consent, by just uttering the word "talaq' three times. This is done even after the practice was rendered legally invalid in 2002 by the Shamim Ara vs State of UP judgement and later by various orders from High Courts.
BJP winning record 312 seats in UP and 77 in Uttarakhand assemblies respectively shows that the people recognize Modi as a vastly popular, real national leader under whom right values of honesty, integrity, probity and uprightness will flourish. These are the values masses cherish, after umpteen aberrations and lot of dirt crept into the nation’s polity in the preceding decades. It’s a sure sign of our democracy’s maturity that voters keep constantly breaking the barriers of cast, creed and religion, despite the politicians trying to confuse them with varied temptations and vague promises. They look for someone with nationalist attributes, who can give them internal and external security, cleaner administrative system, sound infrastructure for growth, reasonable standards of living, employment opportunities, freedom from poverty and enough facilities for youths’ education and citizens’ good health. Apparently, they find hope in the promises made by Narendra Modi. That is why all those who supported and indulged in vicious campaign for boundless, unrestrained ‘azaadi’, the freedom of expression minus responsible behavior, verging wholly on anti-national conduct, have been summarily rejected.
Following these elections that serve as strong morale booster for ruling BJP at the Centre, more specifically for the Prime Minister, big responsibility lies on his shoulders to ensure an exemplary governance in the states that have reposed so much faith in him. All the Chief Ministers taking command in these states must be warned against playing with the people’s faith. Responsibility for that lies squarely on PM. If he wants to re-emerge with yet another master stroke in 2019, he and his team of CMs have to march ahead delivering big, keeping the people’s faith intact. His vast experience in governance must have instilled into his psyche that people’s aspirations always ask for more. As one Central Minister tells me : “Just wait, we will return to Lok Sabha with larger margins in 2019. For that, we only wanted UP’s mandate.”…And they have got more than that. One can only wish them good luck!