BJP has suffered a major setback in the recent five-state Indian elections. The loss of 3 of the popular states means BJP has lost its grip in the Indian cow-belt. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has borne defeat with humility, promising to keep serving the people of the constituencies. However, underneath the calm façade of the middle-class anti-elitist Modi, major concern must brew.
Modi’s reign and person has given India, something it longed for. He started from the grassroots and rose to the PM-ship of one of the largest countries of the world. He, however, had promised to up the ante by making India into China, offering millions of jobs, bring accountability and the looted money home, etc.
Things, he couldn’t deliver.
The charismatic leader, who, despite that fact, is scoffed for hugging international peers, is loved at home and abroad for his charm and spellbinding eloquence. Modi had a promised to take the country to a new height. But the recent election results show that Indians have something other on their minds now.
New Delhi’s initiatives have more than rubbed its masses the wrong way.
More than half of the country’s agricultural economy suffered at the hands of the BJP for not coming to their assistance. Rising electricity and fertilizer cost had resulted in high debts for farmers. Consequently, an average 7 farmers committed suicides per day, in the last six months alone. The scheme to regulate economy by abolishing old currency under a strict deadline caused heavy losses to business owners and others whose primary transactions were made in cash. The new tax levied by the government has also caused major distress to the average citizen.
Raking the flames of Hinduvta and the subsequent fires of hate against the Indian Muslim population, banning cow slaughtering and lynching for its suspicion, are too much for Indians to bear. Indians, experts say, do not want to regress to fundamentalist labyrinth of bloodshed over cows or Ram Mandir or the mere difference of faith. They want to peacefully coexist.
The recent election, however shocking, cannot be calculated as the determinant for the national election due in April 2019. It is true that the BJP may be expected to loose more seats, but Modi is nothing if not resilient. Moreover, the rhetoric for national elections is usually different from that in regional states. BJP’s power lies in Modi himself and also in its young and popular politicians for damage control.
At home, the fledgling PTI government has faced setbacks in bringing the Indian peers to the table. With elections well nigh, India cannot afford to offer a generous welcome to her neighbour, let alone engage in peace talks. The fact of the matter is that Modi’s campaign has been doctored around anti-Pakistan narrative. How this sentiment is approved by Indian masses in the parliamentary elections is yet to be seen.
The recent political turn of events have bolstered the morale of the Indian National Congress party (INC). Rahul Gandhi, just completing his year as the head of the party, has much to gain. Surprisingly the BJP badgering of the Congress Party and the Gandhi’s so called elitist lineage and successive governments has backfired. Congress party has persevered up until now. They would have to do more. Rahul Gandhi campaigned by highlighting the plight of the average Indian as the BJP government let them down. What remains to be seen is what counter-narrative INC offers.
One thing is certain that if the BJP loses seats in the national elections, the smaller regional parties could turn to strengthen Indian National Congress for a landslide. A concern Modi shouldn’t let slide by.
Time for PM Modi to sit down on the drawing board.