Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An unfathomable victory of the Modi led BJP

BJP's victory and ride to power in 2014 is truly unfathomable. As a student of Indian politics since 1998 I always had a firm belief that a non-Congress party will never get a majority on its own. Even when BJP (that claims to be the other pole of Indian politics) rose in numbers from 2 to 189 it was still believed to be difficult to see a day of it getting an absolute majority. The quote - "Every dog has its day" was too difficult to be applied for any non-Congress party in this context. Congress's reach to the remotest parts of the country is unbeatable and the strategy to get rural votes is best known to Congress and hence they have been invincible time and again.It's leftist approach in 70's and rightist approach in mid 90's attracted every section of the society towards it. Every caste and religion found a place in the party. It was a fortress that was impregnable until the rise of regional parties in mid 1990's .With the shocking loss of NDA in 2004, UPA came to power and the first UPA term had some innovative ideas but in the 2nd term it turned leftist when the country was moving towards rightist tendency. It made a gross miscalculation in gauging this public mood.

When Assembly elections were held last year Congress lost all of them and it was too late to make any reversal of its policies. It was a wake up call. The party was over confident that its pro-poor policies will win them every vote. My personal dislike with the way Congress started going to 1970's era intensified with the passage of Food Security Act. The drubbing Congress got need not be elaborated. It is crystal clear.

BJP getting absolute majority on its own has changed the political scene for many years to come. Truly, BJP has now become the other pole in Indian politics. Of all the leaders Modi was the only one who was confident of achieving this feat. Even though exit polls were giving signals of a BJP led government I was sure of NDA getting majority but not BJP on its own. The way Modi campaigned throughout India has set a new benchmark in election campaigning. Modi used one tactic which was a great gamble. This tactic was to change the tone and tenor depending upon the place he campaigned. Here is an article that explains how Modi attracted people in different parts of the country by connecting people's hearts easily. This is an unseen strategy by a politician in India. Indira Gandhi could connect naturally everywhere she went because she projected herself as Nehru's daughter and Nehru had a reach no politician can match till date. For a person with no such background to market himself, and to make both aggression and future vision as the center of campaign was the greatest gamble. Another huge gamble he played was to confidently tell people why he fits the PM post and made it centric to him.

As Modi took this daunting task head on he carefully planned to bust the perception that BJP cannot make a presence in South and Eastern states. He silently made NDA an alliance of 17 parties  from just 4 within a few months after he was announced PM candidate. In addition to all these efforts he crafted a brilliant marketing campaign unseen and unheard in Indian political history. His oratory skills is by far the best we have seen after Vajpayee. Modi spoke exactly that was in tune with the aspirations of the people. His focused speeches with clarity of thought removed several myths and notions people had about him. He traveled 3,00,000 km, addressed 437 big rallies, 5827 public events spread over 25 states. His "Chai Pe Charcha" program and reaching out to the remote villages in UP explaining how development had changed Gujarat opened the eyes of millions of people and raised the hopes of a better future. His slogan "Sab ka vikas, Sab ka saath" catched everyone's attention. The use of the word "development" in all his speeches dominated more than the words "communal" and "secular" used by almost all parties anti to BJP. 

This scale of campaigning and victory is unfathomable to not just politicians of other parties but to many inside BJP itself. The old guard of BJP lost the hope to see a day like this after Vajpayee retired in 2005 from active politics. Over the next few weeks journalists, psephologists, sociologists, thinkers and historians will continue to unravel more stats. Here are just some of the startling stats revealed so far. Of the 31 string Scheduled Tribes constituencies, 21 were won by BJP. Of the 80 seats in UP BJP won 71. Of the 16 seats in UP where Muslims dominated between 20-50% BJP won all of them. This doesn't mean Muslims overwhelmingly supported BJP, but a large number of them definitely did. The party that was known to be a Brahmin party gained almost all of the OBC and Dalit seats in UP and Bihar. It appears that the caste perception barrier was broken when Modi reached to everyone and asked to them to fight poverty than against one another. In 10 states Congress did not open an account. In states where it was strong was proved weak. BJP has 31% of the total vote share and it sprung into majority. This as per many stats is the lowest voteshare that gave absolute majority to a party at the center. The Congress used to have 40-70% vote share that converted to a majority in its glory days. Here's another very interesting article that illustrates a fact that of the 12 largest states (Uttar Pradesh, Maharash­tra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karna­taka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa and Kerala) that account for 440 (81% of seats to Lok Sabha) seats BJP won 61% of seats - something no party has ever been able to achieve including Congress anytime ever.

No matter what one says this victory is purely Modi's, not even BJP's. He worked so tirelessly and campaigned aggressively that many within the party did not even go to even half the distance he traveled. His idea to reach the remotest corners of the country where BJP doesn't even have a presence was something the party had to do in 2004. He did this and he will continue doing this. He is known for taking a task and not relinquishing it until finished to perfection.

Now that the victory celebration is done it is time to serious work. If one has observed his track record he is known to surprise everyone by his sheer hard work and political acumen. After declaring himself Mazdoor Number 1 we have to see to witness this at a national scale. There are many promises Modi made that are feasible and some that are very daunting given the complexity of India. It is often said that the greatest hurdles come in the way of people who have the greatest will power. It is such a moment in India now. Let's hope for the best.

In the days and years to come he will be judged by how he takes the country forward. People,however, must have patience since "Rome was not built in a single day".


sunjam said...

Very true.

Very good article Anjie...

sunjam said...

- Rahul

Unknown said...

truely its a great victory. lot of expectation from people but they should have patience and give him some time to achieve his goals. Everything cannot happen overnight with a magic wand. Hope over a period of time India becomes developed country from developing country.

G D said...

Very good article, would love to read more detailed case analysis in the future.