Prof. M. K. Bhat
Election 2019 removed many illusions created by political parties in the minds of voters in the last seventy years of independence .It proved that there can be no anti incumbency factor if things are rightly done by ruling party. Those who believed that coalition provides a composite view in decision making were proved wrong by voters. Public preferred a strong and decisive Government over a weak coalition for political opportunism. Now it remains with those in power to prove that absolute power is not misused and the aspirations of people are met.
The recent election not only gave birth to a strong and stable Government at center, but was a green signal for Narendra Modi to go ahead with his policies. The biggest attribute of Modi Government policies has been help to all and appeasement to none. (No policy of Modi Government was designed with specific community in mind). This helped BJP to unite a diverse group of people, contrary to this opposition tried to make sectarian appeal among the majority and tried to appease minorities. It failed to realize that awareness among Muslims and lower caste Hindus has improved a lot since last a few elections. They have same problems like any other group. Secularists as usual tried to use minorities as a fodder for their election victory by propagating threat to their existence if Modi returns. This yielded little as they had experienced BJP rule for five years so positioning as the saviors of minorities got no acceptance, rather the facilities provided by Modi Government to poor people like; direct transfer of subsidy in the bank accounts, insurance benefits, Ayushman Bharat, free toilets, ujwala yojana, finance for housing etc ruled their minds.
The hyper secularism of certain political parties during elections disillusioned minorities and got reaction from the majority. The Muslims did not take them seriously as they had witnessed no major change in their fate in the last sixty years of pseudo secular rule. Their use as election material by certain parties has been a big burden on their conscience ever since independence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly pointed to the newly elected members of his party to win everyone’s confidence and gave a new slogan “Sab Ka Sath Sab Ka Vikas Sab Ka Vishwas” to them. It may rightly be pointed out that the focus should be on education and health of minorities instead of gimmickery like hosting of Iftar party, Haj subsidy etc .This showy secularism is of no use. Iftar parties hosted by Governments to brand themselves as secularists are nothing but wastage of public funds for the enjoyment of a few powerful. The average Muslim does not even get permission to attend such parties but gets label of appeasement for nothing. It is just the elite who enjoy such parties at the cost of tax payers money. It would be prudent for Governments to desist from such activities or else hold such parties for all religions instead of one.
The verdict of people proved that they least bother for the theatrics, they needed a proper alternative for any change of opinion. The opposition produced fragmented view as it failed to raise even a single issue as an alternative to Modi’s policies. It may be worthwhile to mention here that the unnecessary Modi bashing added to the latter’s strength. The weak thought process made them to raise corruption charges against Prime Minister Modi on the one hand by popularizing term Chowkidar Chor Hai and on the other hand they tried to showcase themselves as pro majoritarian. On both these charges BJP countered them easily as opposition’s record in corruption was even worse. In case of being pro Hindu the opposition cannot counter BJP even in 2024 because it has aligned with Hindu interests from its inception.
The elections ridiculed the negative approach adopted by opposition and exposed the hyper active groups like award wapsi gang and tukde tukde gang besides a galaxy of self styled intellectual journalists of India who failed to appreciate the good deeds of Modi. These groups live in the dream world terming themselves as super intelligent and feel the average Indian voter will fail to understand their gimmickry which he did not.
It is no doubt that weak opposition is a curse for any democracy but again it is better to have none rather than an opposition disconnected from people and opposing things for the sake of opposition . The election has proved that democracy requires continuous dialogue with people rather than guest appearances at election time to cultivate the benefits of power. Modi’s oratory skills are much more refined than his opponents and he made a continuous rapport with people through dialogue. The opposition failed to project any viable leader except dynasts.
The opposition’s irrelevant strategy of divide and rule and tested policy of appeasement of certain castes /religion yielded little. There was an utmost need to earn the confidence of everyone in the society which BJP got through Sab Ka Sath, Sab Ka Vikas. This proved heavy on the sectarian approach of opposition. The addition of sab ka vishwas will further blunt pseudo secularism.
Election readily hinted that politics cannot be taken as the family owned business and voters cannot be taken for granted. The voter today is much cautious, he knows; that his vote helps someone to make money and status for himself and does not want to get betrayed after elections. They only want to see their legislators delivering for them. Family based parties can only give birth to mini monarchs and cannot go too far, contrary to this parties which believe in their volunteers have ample scope to survive and provide an amicable Government to people.
The election 2019 was a referendum for strong leadership; India cannot be taken for a ride every time. The operation Balakote was taken very seriously by the voter and the cries for proof went against those who cried unnecessarily. The voter wants to be safe in his home and was ready to support anyone who can take bold decisions. He does not want to see paper tigers rather wants action in times of need. The nationalistic appeal was very well accepted by the voter and BJP was successful in presenting itself as a nationalist party and opposition had to eat the dust because of Sidhu’s unacceptable love for Bajwa and Co. The tempers were already high on this issue and people needed some chance to express their mind. Those who believed that people carry a short memory were put in the dustbin.
Public is well aware about everything. It may be prudent on the part of opposition to rectify its strategies rather than to waste its time in finding fault with others. The holiest than thou approach will lead them nowhere. They have to be constructive opposition, rather than to live in the illusion of Modi bashing. They can get a lesson on constructive opposition from the behavior of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Prof. M. K. Bhat