Tsu-NaMo: With 282 seats BJP sweeps Cong out of Parliament

The mid-morning trends suggest that Modi-led BJP is close to achieving the half-way mark almost on its own. It no longer needs allies beyond its old ones. There is now no denying the Modi wave.

R Jagannathan May 17, 2014 09:10:44 IST
Tsu-NaMo: With 282 seats BJP sweeps Cong out of Parliament

Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party got the biggest mandate for a single-party since 1984. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have led the party to its worst defeat in its history.

This augurs well for the country for it means we are going to have a stable government where the allies will not be able to call the shots and tie the central government down, hand and foot. This is why the BSE Sensex is headed for the moon. Around mid-morning, it had crossed 25,000 for the first time ever.

The results leave the BJP as the central pivot of the national polity with a growing national footprint, including toeholds in the south and the north-east. The Congress has been reduced to a regional party. It would be interesting to see how the Dynasty survives this debacle.

The big takeout from this result  is that our opinion polling and exit polls have come of age. While most polls gave the BJP and allies 275-290 seats, the final results exceeded this total significantly. This suggests that the polls got the trends very right, but not the final tally.

TsuNaMo With 282 seats BJP sweeps Cong out of Parliament

According to early trends, Narendra Modi has led his party to the biggest victory. AP

The results have left the regional parties as the main opposition voices in parliament, even though the Congress will still be the largest single party in parliament. Collectively, the regional parties have established their salience in Indian politics. The AIADMK, the Trinamool Congress, the Telengana Rashtra Samiti, and the Biju Janata Dal will be the key opposition parties, with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party being bit players.

The following are the key takeouts from the election results:

One, there is no question there has been a Modi wave. While it would be fair to say the Congress' failures set the stage for the BJP to rise, there is little doubt that this scale of victory could not have come without a decisive Modi factors in large parts of the country.

Second, the BJP, with 282 seats of its own, does not need any ally to get its majority. This means it is now free to set the country’s agenda without worrying about destabilisation efforts by various parties.

Third, this vote has little to do with communal polarisation – except in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the principal opposition parties made concerted efforts to grab the Muslim vote. The Muslims were reduced to bailing out discredited parties, but in the end their vote alone could not negate the national vote in favour of development and Modi.

Fourth, this vote transcended caste in almost all states, including the cow belt, and in the south.  The BJP has reduced the BSP to a bit player, and the Samajwadi Party has paid the price for its communal opportunism.

Fifth, this election is the triumph of hope over fear. Modi sold hope about the future, while the Congress and the regional parties sold fear of Modi as their USP. Hope beat fear.

Sixth, the Congress’ drubbing will increase pressures for bringing Priyanka out of the woodwork and lead the party. But this will be the usual sycophancy at work – and will do nothing for reviving the party. If there is real introspection, the party’s regional leaders should put the Gandhi family on the mat and demand that they step down. It is worth recalling that Priyanka’s so-called common touch did not work wonders in her brother’s constituency Amethi.

Seventh, American-style presidential campaigning has come to India. Narendra Modi pioneered it, but in future more regional and national leaders will see benefits in personality-based campaigning, using modern methods of communications, social media, etc.

Eighth, this election marks the separation of national politics from regional politics. Earlier, it was said that the national elections were a bunch of regional elections aggregated together. But in this election, we have largely had national issues coming up in a national election. Narendra Modi  has brought the “national” back to national elections.

Ninth, the scale of the victory will ensure that Modi will be able to focus on “less government, more governance.” The size of the central ministry can be more rational now that there are not too many regional parties to appease with the loaves and fishes of office.

Tenth, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has sprouted wings not in its traditional hunting ground of Delhi, but in Punjab. This is a lesson for Arvind Kejriwal. The party has sprouted exactly where he was not a factor. The party has put up a good showing in Punjab because ordinary party supporters took up the real issues of the people – drug abuse, corruption in the Akali government – without distractions from a loud Kejriwal. This is a lesson Kejriwal ought to learn – he should not become the issue anywhere.

Eleventh, for the first time ever, the BJP is making its presence felt in the east, the north-east, and the south. As it consolidates power in Delhi, it can use the Amit Shahs to set up a truly strong party with regional organizational base. This means, some regional parties will start getting wary of the BJP in the coming months.

The election leaves Modi in control — but he has one major task. The Muslims will be left with a sense of sullen anger and fear. His first task should be to assure then that even if they didn't vote for him, he will bat for them. He will work for all Indians — something he has been saying all the time. Time for him to reach out unambiguously.

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