Modi-Shah Gathbandhan | ‘New India’ Engulfs Opposition

The BJP juggernaut is simply unstoppable. It’s ‘Phir ek baar Modi sarkar’ and ‘Ab ki baar 300 paar’ campaign slogans slaughtered Congress’ Chowkidar chor hai’, making the Lotus bloom like it never had. Yes, BJP under the Modi-Amit Shah team has undeniably had a historic victory. The biggest festival of democracy witnessed one man, Narendra Modi, taking on the 22-party Mahagatbandhan and demolishing it. The voter across the country, barring southern States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, gave a resounding endorsement to one, BJP’s Hindutuva, national security (Balakot strike) and nationalism, two, Modi’s popularity, three differentiated between national and State politics, four discarded misguided alliances and last but not the least was at a loss as there was no other alternate! Thus the Modi magic not only swept through the Hindi heartland rubbishing among others the absurd BSP-SP tie-up in Uttar Pradesh, which was a cause for worry given the 80 seats, but also made huge inroads into Odisha, West Bengal, and the North East.

Worse, the BJP’s spectacular victory has put a big question mark on the Congress leadership of Rahul Gandhi. His Chowkidar slogan clearly backfired, couldn’t gain confidence of the voter on his ‘leadership’ and got trapped in the rules of the game as set out by the BJP. Issues such as unemployment, farmers’ distress, poor state of economy etc didn’t get highlighted enough. Therefore, what he ended up was a pathetic increase in party’s tally– from 44 to just 55 and he needs to thank his allies to have helped put the UPA at above 100 seats. Indeed, the saffron brigade hit him back hard and real hard. The Grand old party drew a big zero in 19 States and Union Territories, including Rajasthan, Harayana, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The acrimonious campaign and bitter tu-tu-mein-mein at the end made the public cringe and send a message across board of ‘not done’. In fact, for Rahul the defeat cannot be but humiliating as he lost his family stronghold seat of Amethi, where sister Priyanka factor failed miserably. Worse, the States which the Congress gained in December last—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka my witness a turmoil. With the BJP winning majority of the Lok Sabha seats, the non-BJP Chief Ministers are in a tizzy over their government’s stability. The million dollar question is whether Modi, the Prime Minister, will have a conciliatory approach, as assured in his victory acceptance speech to the nation, or will he go for a further mauling spree?

West Bengal Stormed

Orange rashogullas (sweets) being distributed in West Bengal by BJP cadres must leave a ghastly bitter taste among ruling TMC leadership. Indeed, the saffron flutter in Mamata’s bastion is a phenomenal victory for BJP President Amit Shah. Clearly, Didi’s hold is crumbling as not only did the BJP withstand the unprecedented violence and bullying, but sent a firm message that Hindutava vote can’t be ignored. Of the 42 seats BJP won a huge chunk of 18, cutting down TMC’s tally to just 22. An analysis suggests one, the restrictions on Durga Puja or chanting of Jai Sri Ram or the perennial wooing of the minority vote bank by the TMC was a factor with the aam janata and two that the Left vote seems to have gone the BJP way (not the Congress). Mamata, who has her next big challenge in 2021 with Assembly polls, will need not just to analyse but introspect how she can avoid the next big hit. Likewise, the Communists, who have been wiped out completely for the first time, will need to prepare a survival plan.

Andhra’s Young CM

It was now or never, for YS Jaganmohan Reddy. He not only bounced back but did so with a loud thump, getting his YRSCP to win 153 of the 175 Assembly seats across all 13 districts and grabbing all but three of the 25 Lok Sabha seats. The 46-year-old’s walkathon of over 3648 km now takes him to the Chief Minister’s chair, unseating TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu, who has resigned since. Indeed, it’s a big opportunity not only to revive his father, YS Rajashekhar Reddy’s era, but also ensure there is no looking back from now on. Naidu had to bite the dust with just 21 seats in Assembly, plus neither Congress, which had deserted Jagan, nor BJP could open an account. While Naidu could blame it on anti-incumbency, the big game changer is his failure to get Special Status for the State despite his being with the NDA long enough. His walking out of it was too little, too late. Now Jagan has to strategise how he achieves his goal. His answer is he would try to prevail on PM Modi. Whether Delhi will oblige and if so by when only time will tell.


TN Out of Shadows

The other southern State which saw the ‘son’ rising was Tamil Nadu. It sees a glimmer of M K Stalin finally growing out of the shadow of his father M Karunanidhi. No doubt it will take Thalapathi, (commander) time to step into his shoes, but this victory for the party, after 2011, gives hope, as it has made rival AIADMK bite the dust, by winning 34 of the 38 seats with its Congress and Communist allies. What is critical is that this State too kept out the saffron surge. In fact AIADMK’s tie-up with the BJP at the Centre was a major factor for DMK’s spectacular win, given the Dravidian politics. While this is the first major victory Stalin has tasted, he may just be eyeing more. But he will need to wait for the Chief Minister’s post as even though the State had polling for 22 of the 234 seats too, Stalin couldn’t upset the apple cart. Palaniswami-led AIADMK government is safe, at least for the time being.


Wait For Delhi Home

Newly-elected MPs now need to find their right place in the heart of the Capital—a new home. The Lok Sabha secretariat is on the job of preparing accommodation, but sans past luxuries. The new members will no longer be put up in Five-star hotels as stop-gap arrangement. Instead, they better book themselves in their respective State guest houses or the spruced up Western Court. The directive is to cut costs for Urban Development Ministry’s Estate Dept, which in 2014 had to host 315 new MPs (highest since 1980) for a period ranging 15 days to 3 months. However, this time round the number of new entrants would be far less, and the challenge would be to get old timers to vacate their houses. A tough task, indeed! — INFA


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