What worked for the BJP on May 16th when they won with a sweeping mandate at the ballot ushering in Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India, is replayed six months down the line. October 15th saw Maharashtra go to polls in a single-phased election process for the 288 Assembly constituencies. October 19th saw Maharashtra rejoice with BJP imprinting its success story with 122 seats in its kitty, in what was once the glorious bastion of Congress and NCP.
The Congress NCP alliance is passé and so is the 25-year-old alliance of the BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. But the Modi wave still swept voters off their feet once again. It is the man of the moment who walks away with the applause. The Shiv Sena held their mettle, the rift with the former ally not withstanding, emerging the second largest party in the State with 63 seats leaving the Congress and NCP far behind.
The mascot of change in Indian politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured the US and shared the stage with US President Barrack Obama in early October. Post the euphoria created amongst the Indian community overseas, it was time to take on responsibility back home sharing the stage with BJP leaders and party workers, addressing 27 rallies in Maharashtra to generate a different euphoria amongst the State’s voters. Narendra Modi switched hats from a representative of India to the face of the BJP in Maharashtra, succeeding in each endeavour with equal elan. It was the same enthusiasm with which he addressed rallies in the State as the rallies he attended being BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate prior to the Lok Sabha elections this year.
Major overhaul in Maharashtra politics
Maharashtra politics is going through a major overhaul. With the victories in Maharashtra and Haryana, BJP is now in control of six States in total with four bastions already in its hold, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh. Is it that BJP’s echo for good governance is resonating among Maharashtra’s voters or is it merely Modi’s confidence building measures which have spelt success for BJP in Maharashtra? If the neighbouring State of Gujarat is an example of exemplary development and governance to go by, Maharashtra’s voters particularly the business fraternity are rejoicing.
The BJP needed to gain its strong foothold in Maharashtra post the demise in June of one of the State’s political icons Gopinath Munde. He also put the State on the National map as Union Minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet. Voters in thousands came to offer their condolences at the funeral of BJP’s face in Beed constituency. Today, it is his daughter Pankaja Munde who dons the hat in Beed constituency in these elections. Union transport Minister Nitin Gadkari who won from Nagpur Parliamentary constituency in May, held more than hundred rallies, the highest number in Maharashtra in the run up to the Assembly elections. Yet all eyes were on Narendra Modi to make his significant contribution.
Modi’s charm on the voters’ mind
The Congress-NCP Government’s tenure in Maharashtra since 2009 was writ with scams, developmental projects were often implemented at a snail slow speed. Juxtapose this with the national scenario where Modi’s charm worked its way into the voter’s mind, post the scams that the Congress led UPA 2 Government was laden with, diminishing the morale of majority of Indians. Now it is time for Maharashtra’s voters who believe in the Modi magic as the wand of the BJP weaves the fabric of avant garde politics. It is time to bid goodbye to the policy makers of the Congress-NCP.
Exit polls paved the way for speculation of a clear majority by the BJP. As the speculation culminates into concrete results at the counting booths, it is the beginning of a new era not just for the BJP in Maharashtra, but for the people of the State. For Mumbai, the country’s financial capital bustling with activity, there is reason enough to celebrate as Narendra Modi’s words of assurance strike a chord of confidence.