Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
Indian voters have clearly rejected the politics of family dynasty and secularism by giving even a bigger victory to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the just concluded general election. This time, BJP has won more than 340 seats while Indian National Congress, a political party of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasties are now facing even a bigger challenge than it had faced following the 2014 election. Immediately after realizing the second-term landslide victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted saying, “Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!”
More than 900 million people were eligible to vote in the polls that stretched over seven phases from April 11 to May 19. A record number of people had turned up to cast their ballot and voter participation was more than 67 percent, the Election Commission said, making it the largest-ever democratic exercise.
Earlier this year, BJP’s efforts to return to power looked to be on shaky grounds, especially after the party lost three key state elections in December. People across India have had mixed reactions to some of Modi’s landmark economic reforms and policies. They include the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax and demonetization — where the government unexpectedly withdrew all its 500 and 1,000-rupee notes, and replaced them with 500 and 2,000-rupee denomination currencies.
Then, a jihadist attack in Kashmir, and India’s subsequent response to it, shifted the momentum in Modi’s favor. That reinvigorated the campaign and took the attention away from, quite frankly, the not-so-great economic record. This attack was extremely crucial for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party as it had faded the issues such as slowing economy and also the leaked jobs report, which showed that India’s unemployment rate was at a 45-year-high. Narendra Modi knew, he had failed miserably in economic sector and could not give his promised “acchey din” [good days] to the voters. So he opted for playing the national security card and Indian voters opted for a “chowkidar” [guard] Narendra Modi than a leader who would ensure prosperity to the nation.
But of course, following the election, possibly the ruling party won’t be able to replay the ‘national security’ card or political card anymore as India’s economy already is slowing down fast, its shadow banking sector is in crisis, credit lending from banks is relatively weak. Unemployment rate will further rise in the coming years.
Immediately after taking oath as the Prime Minister for the second-term,
Narendra Modi may try to play the religion card and illegal immigrant card for the sake of diverting the attention of the people from economic setback, poverty and unemployment.
Narendra Modi may also play the ‘China card’ by increasing hostility towards Beijing and try to put pressure on India’s neighboring nations in refraining from joining President Xi Jing Ping’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative.
The 2019 general election in India has now clearly rang the bell for Rahul Gandhi and his Indian National Congress. It also rang the bell for Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress. The message is loud and clear – Indians are no more interested in politics of family dynasty as well as politics of anarchism. Indians also have rejected secularism and embraced the philosophy of Bharatiya Janata Party.