The silent voters of India have given the most decisive mandate in the General Elections 2014. For the first time in 30 years, a party has been given simple majority by the Indian electorate. As conventional wisdoms of caste, class and religion fell by wayside, Indians young and old, rich and poor were united by the collective will of seeking “ache din” for themselves and the future generations. Result was astounding, as “TsuNamo” virtually swept the opposition parties away, reducing Congress to a historic low. The aspirational Indian has spoken the last word; a chaiwallah from Vadnagar by virtue of his own grit has stirred the pot of the cosy club of Delhi elites and proponents of dynastic politics.
From the morning itself, the stark trend was evident. Thanks to fantastic arrangements of the Election Commission the leads poured in thick and fast. In state after state BJP and its allies soon marched way ahead of their opponents. While NDA was widely touted to win, few even in BJP was probably expecting the party to do so well. The saffron brigade engineered a clean sweep in the states of Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Modi won by a mammoth margin of 5lakh 70 thousand votes in Vadodara. Senior patriarch Lal Krishna Advani also won in Gandhinagar.
But the story of this election was sealed in Uttar Pradesh. Narendra Modi had deputed his closest aide Amit Shah to oversee elections in this politically crucial state. Shah has delivered spectacularly with BJP and its allies getting 73 out of the 80 seats. BSP has been blanked out and only Sonia and Rahul Gandhi won in Congress ticket from Uttar Pradesh.
In neighbouring Bihar too, BJP ruled the roost in expense of JDU and Congress- RJD alliance. Lalu who still recently proudly proclaimed that he will stop Narendra Modi’s juggernaut was left dumbstruck when he found that both his wife and daughter has lost the election. Nitish too was left high and dry after severing ties with BJP.
In 2009, UPA2 won on the back of glowing endorsement of Manmohan Singh by the urban middle class. The aspirational middle class with often fickle political loyalties seems to have voted almost enmasse for “Modi Sarkar” in many parts of the country. Even in states like Maharashtra and Karnataka, where Congress party has decent organisation party, it failed to stem the rot. In Karnataka, merely a year after Congress won the Assembly elections, the party has just won 9 seats to BJP’s 17. Nandan Nilekani lost to Ananth Kumar in Bangalore South. In Maharashtra, where there is an Assembly election in few months’ time the party merely won a single seat. Its ally NCP has only won 5. Congress- NCP lost all the four seats in Mumbai with bigwigs like Priya Dutt, Milind Deora etc biting the dust.
BJP has also done well in places it is not traditionally strong. In Tamil Nadu, in alliance with some smaller parties it has won couple of seats. In Bengal, for the first time party has won a seat in its own strength, with Babul Supriyo emerging victorious. It also won the seat of Darjeeling there.
Some of the regional satraps have emerged strongly in this election. TMC has won 34 seats in Bengal. AIADMK in Tamil Nadu has virtually blanked out all opponents winning 37 seats. In Odisha, BJD has done exceptionally well winning 19 out of the 21 seats. Naveen Patnaik is on course to become C.M of the backward state for the 4th time.
Meanwhile, TDP-BJP alliance has worked wonders in Seemandhra both in Assembly and LokSabha. Chandrababu Naidu is all set to become the C.M of Seemandhra whereas KCR’s TRS has emerged as the dominant party in Telengana leaving Congress far behind.
In a sense that has been the sad saga from Congress’s point of view where the backlash of public outrage has hit them hard. 13 out of the 16 Union Ministers who stood for elections have lost. P Chidambaram’s son Karti lost from Shivaganga. Sashi Tharoor barely managed to scrape through. Speaker of LokSabha, Meira Kumar got humbled in Bihar. On last count, Congress was merely ahead in 48 seats 6 less than what is needed for Rahul Gandhi to get official status of leader of Opposition. Vote share difference between the BJP-Congress is staggering 12%.
Congress though refused to blame Gandhi family for this defeat categorically ruling out any change in the central leadership. The predominant spin given was that the party failed to communicate the good deeds of the UPA 2 government. Later in the day Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi emerged to give a very brief statement taking the blame and congratulating BJP. But the broader picture of how the grand old party will emerge out of this abysmal low is pretty unclear. Many believe at a time when leaders like Tarun Gogoi are offering to resign taking blame for poor performance in Assam, the central leadership has to act beyond mere lip services.
The new kid in the block, Aam Aadmi Party has had a mixed performance. Many believe that for a first time entrant 4 seats is a pretty decent accomplishment. Party increased its vote share in Delhi but couldn’t pick up any seat. In Punjab though, they even surprised themselves winning 4 seats. Surprisingly amidst the bloom of orange, BJP’s chief strategist Arun Jaitley lost from Amritsar to Captain Amarinder Singh. Kejriwal himself got a bitter taste of defeat in Varanasi where he lost his deposit and Modi won by over 3 lakh votes.
The man of the moment though was extremely calm in the greatest day of his life. Like his entire campaign, today was also a day of well-orchestrated photo ops with Modi seeking the blessings of his mother post results in presence of media. Just when the trends became clear, Modi tweeted, “India has won, ache din aane wala hain”. This message of hope became the recurrent theme of his speech late in the evening at Vadodra.
He said that their responsibility has increased after getting such a resounding mandate .BJP in its own has won 285 seats with NDA leading or winning in close to 340 seats. Modi after a bitter campaign attempted to strike a conciliatory tone saying support of every party is needed to run a smooth government and for building the nation. The soon to be PM hinted that he is looking at a long stint in the office.
Modi being the wily politician knows Indian electorate can’t be taken for granted. The expectations from the government both from the aam admi and the khas admi’s i.e the business community will be huge and somewhat unrealistic. He has to try to live up to that expectation. His another great challenge will be to keep in leash the Giriraj Singh’s within his party many of whom may be tempted to pursue a communal agenda. Opposition may have been cleaned up but there is still dissent within his own party. The eternal bridesmaid of Indian politics, Advani even today refused to give full credit to Modi for this stunning victory.
Congratulatory messages came pouring from world leaders thick and fast today with even Obama calling up Namo. However, the pracharak for 40 years Narendra Damodardas Modi must be well aware of the challenges in front of him. The electoral battle may have been won but the arduous war of defeating the doubting toms to embark upon the path of “Sresth Bharat” is about to begin now. The world will be watching and so shall we….