The breath-taking, anxious moments of the semi-final of Indian politics of this year are over. The results are pretty clear. The winning-spree of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been halted. While its score is 0-5, Congress, its main rival, could snatch away a 3-5 victory. The saffron party’s war-cry of ‘Congress-mukt’ Bharat has boomeranged on it. The five States, which went to the polls, became BJP-mukt, rather than Congress-mukt. The election results have sent out a strong message to the BJP, and also to the Congress, to have ear to the ground. The party which was resting on its oars has got a loud wake-up call that people are not willing to go with its ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’.
The message from the ground is clear. It is an unmistakable missive from the people that they voted Narendra Modi government to power for development; lynching people and building statues are not what they craved for. A vast majority of people from these five States have made it abundantly clear that the hardcore Hindutva being practiced by the BJP is unacceptable to them. People have rejected outright the loud noises made in the name of cow and temple. The following instances prove the point. In Alwar district of Rajasthan, the ground zero of lynching in the name of cow, BJP’s tally has taken a nose-dive from nine seats to a mere two. The only ‘cow-minister’ in the country – a minister holding a portfolio to take care of cows in Rajasthan – bit the dust at the hustings. Majority of seats where Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned, spewing venom against minorities and vowing to build a temple at Ayodhya, elected non-BJP candidates.
The election results have strong message for the Congress party too, which is going to take the reins of governance in three States. It has not been given a comfortable majority, except in Chhattisgarh where the tribals gave vent to their ire with a vengeance. The poor performance in Mizoram, the only State in North-East where the Congress was in power, and Telangana should make the party ponder over its loss. The party should not forget that it could storm to power because of the BJP’s disconnect with people’s agony and misery. The discontent of farmers, joblessness of lakhs of youngsters, lost jobs of ordinary workers, disappointment of traders, atrocities against Dalits and minorities… all these contributed to the defeat of the BJP. The promises made by the Congress leaders, especially Rahul Gandhi, during the campaign seem to have given a ray of hope for the distressed people. For them, the only gratifying thing would be fulfillment of the promises.
The election results have torn into the invincible image of Modi-Shah combine. The halo built around them has been shattered. They have been proved to be persons with feet of clay. Unless the Prime Minister and other leaders of the BJP come out of the saffron frock, there is little the party can expect in the coming general elections. The more they cow down to the Sangh Parivar agenda, the more they stand to lose. Moreover, decisions taken in a huff, ignoring expert advises and people’s misery, will only lead to digging their own grave.(Published on 17th December 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 51)