The leads began trickling in some time after 8 am today, and the trend didn’t change at any point during the last 5 hours. The incumbent NDA (National Democratic Alliance
, comprising the BJP and its allies) are ahead, and there is no way it will now change.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
is back in the Prime Minister’s chair, leading an aggressive campaign of the BJP
(Bharatiya Janata Party or Indian people’s party). Their focus areas were corruption-free governance, taking India ahead, the security of the nation, stability of the government, etc.
The BJP faced a spirited fight put up by a galaxy of opposition parties, over 20 of them, all regional parties, except the Congress
, the only national party, whose stock had plummeted to a historic low in the previous election. The major opposition alliance was the UPA
or the United Progressive Alliance.
THE ONLY SURPRISE
It was generally acknowledged that the BJP will be back in power, but considering the intensity and ferocity of the opposition campaign, there were doubts about whether the BJP would get a good majority or not.
The surprise, if at all there is any, is the big lead the NDA has gained over the opposition. Clearly, a good majority of Indians are happy with the way Narendra Modi government has ruled over the past five years, and they want status quo; and they don’t find any reason to give the opposition a chance.
WHY OPPOSITION LOST
Here are a few reasons why the election results have gone the way it has:
1. No corruption allegations:
That was what the BJP promised five years ago when they took on the Congress-led government which faced a spate of corruption charges. The BJP clearly delivered on that promise.
There were allegations of crony capitalism though, which the opposition highlighted very vociferously. Either people didn’t believe in them or they didn’t care.
2. Stability factor:
If we look back at the previous elections, Indians don’t like unstable coalition governments at the federal level. There have been a few, and the people have voted them out as quickly as possible and they stayed with stable governments.
In the absence of a strong national opposition party (the Congress today is a pale shadow of what it was once), the opposition is a combination of over 20 parties. It doesn’t look like the people wanted to risk giving them a chance.
3. Strong leadership:
India doesn’t elect a prime minister. It elects a party, which then elects a leader who is appointed as the prime minister. But for all practical purposes, the prime ministerial face matters a lot. Modi comes across as a strong leader, who takes bold decisions.
There was no prime ministerial face in the opposition to take on Modi. If the opposition were voted in, there was a risk of at least half a dozen opposition leaders squabbling to become the prime minister. Not worth it.
4. Poor opposition strategy:
Their main focus was the removal of Modi as the prime minister. But they didn’t project who could replace him.
Congress party president Rahul Gandhi
kept harping on the theme that the “prime minister is a thief”. I think that went against him because he had nothing substantial to back his claim. No money trail or any illegal transaction of funds could be showcased.
It must be said that the BJP was very smart to convert major attacks against them into an advantage.
5. National vision and policy:
The incumbent NDA government had enacted a slew of new policies and rolled out many welfare schemes for different sections of people, both in the urban and rural areas. It is all there on the government website https://www.mygov.in/
The opposition slammed them as mere misleading claims and numbers but they didn’t have anything concrete as an alternative. I guess people have either been benefited by these government policies or, if they have not been, they have given the government the benefit of doubt.