As per counting trends and stable leads, BJP has comfortably won state assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. It is clear that the RSS backed Modi-Shah combo is a winning combination for the BJP across India that will help the party sail through 2019 General Elections with flying colours. With no national leader of the stature and popularity of PM Narendra Modi in sight, the opposition is facing a serious leadership crisis. Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to position of Congress party president doesn’t seem to be doing much for the Congress party.
Once again, the opposition has failed to sense the pulse of the people. There is a grave vacuum of creative ideas and thinking on the part of the opposition. They failed to grip real issues faced by the people. People have once again rejected negativity in political campaign which the opposition has been banking upon right after 2014. People have reiterated that in no way will they relent for politics of hate, casteism, communalism or any other divisive attempts at polarization. The opposition will now have to accept the fact that people have digested and approved PM Modi’s big bang economic reforms like Demonetization and GST despite their early short comings during implementation and come up with positive electoral campaigns.
PM Modi has been successful in striking the right chord with the common man and constant pitch for politics of development has been successful in representing the hopes and aspirations of the masses. This electoral mandate in both states indicates that people are optimistic about the “Young India, New India” story being written by PM Modi with his non-conventional approach at governance, adept administrative skills and bold structural and policy reforms and that they have full faith in his intent, integrity political will, and conviction.
A lesson to both parties from Gujarat
BJP, are you listening ? Gujarat BJP leadership needs to humbly accept this mandate and focus on some serious administration. Infrastructural projects, some of which have slowed down need to be rejuvenated. The local leadership needs to tone down the rhetoric and become more sensitive to the voice of the people. While there is no doubt, that the Modi-Shah duo will get BJP through though times like these, the local leadership needs to keep people in confidence, avoiding issues being blown out of proportion and building up of negative sentiments.
Message to the Congress : The congress party is not only facing a significant leadership crisis both locally and nationally as discussed, but also an existential crisis. Political strategists of the party seem confused with no long term plan or real vision. With too many flip flops and immature non-conventional stands, the party is antagonizing its own traditional core voter base. Election after election in key states, be it Bihar or UP or Gujarat; we have seen the once national party planking on the wave of regional parties and leaders. By its blatant support to the Patidar movement and complete disregard of the socially marginalized sections with Rahul Gandhi projecting himself as a staunch Juneaudhari Brahman in a bid to consolidate Hindu votes, the party performed substantially well in Patidar dominated regions although lost crucial traditional strongholds where Scheduled Tribes, OBC and minority population are in majority. This cost them the election. The party needs to overhaul it’s whole organizational structure and strengthen the core. During my travel to Gujarat, I could clearly notice the lack of booth level ground machinery of the Congress party. Without a committed cadre on ground, the opposition will never be able to match with meticulous planning, calculative strategy of Amit Shah and round the clock ground work of the RSS and party cadres. Congress needs to indict fresh faces in the party to beat the perception of lack of integrity and mistrust people have with the old guard on issue of corruption.
Likely 2019 verdict
The Modi factor : Whilst local issues dominated discourse in Gujarat polls, it is important to analyse one other important point while discussing General Elections. Ever since he took the oath as Prime Minister in 2014, PM Modi has been pushing several people friendly measures. Be it social security schemes like affordable insurance, Mudra Yojna, opening up of Jan Dhan accounts, he has worked towards financial inclusion. In union budgets, there has been a sustained focus on infrastructural expenditure for rural and agrarian development in form of rural electrification, irrigational projects, ensuring road and rail connectivity to remotest areas including the North East, farm loan waivers, ample availability of urea via neem coating and many others. He has tried to uplift the poor and the marginalized by coming up with social schemes like affordable housing, construction of toilets, distribution of gas cylinders, distribution and availability of affordable LED bulbs, direct benefit transfer of subsidies in Aadhar linked bank accounts ensuring conveyance without leakage. Implementation of such projects on the ground is making a huge silent positive impact on the people and a cadre of core Modi supporters is growing. The opposition is completely failing to sense this mood of the masses.
With no national alternative to popular people’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in terms of leadership and real connecting issues and considering all afore mentioned factors including track record, organizational and functional structure of all political parties, it is safe to say that BJP will be successful in getting a comfortable majority in 2019.
About the writer : Dr Kurush Jehangirji is a socio-political activist, analyst and strategist.
Twitter : @DrKurushJ (https://twitter.com/DrKurushJ?s=08)