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3-min read

India is a Lotus Garden as Modi Repeats Indira Feat to Gift 5 More Years of Acche Din to BJP

The Indian voter has opted for stability and continuity and most of all, for Modi. It's TsuNaMo 2.0. The invisible, silent, all-pervasive Modi wave engulfed the Hindi heartland, the West, East and South.

Bhavdeep Kang |

Updated:May 23, 2019, 7:01 PM IST
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Narendra Modi's Olympian victory is deserving of the headline 'citius, altius, fortius' (faster, higher, stronger). He is the first Indian Prime Minister since Indira Gandhi to carry an election entirely on his own and win a second consecutive majority.

The Indian voter has opted for stability and continuity and most of all, for Modi. It's TsuNaMo 2.0. The invisible, silent, all-pervasive Modi wave engulfed the Hindi heartland, the West, East and South.

The verdict renders him virtually challenge-proof and alters, irrevocably, the terms of engagement between the Indian political right and the world.

The impact of this election will be far-reaching, in geopolitical, cultural and economic terms; it will be felt across academia, media and the corporate world; domestically, it will impact the entire political spectrum, from left to right.

That Modi was supremely confident of the outcome was evident even before the first round of polling, when he mooted a “first 100 days” plan with his advisers and greenlighted a schedule of foreign tours.

There are rocky shoals ahead in terms of geostrategic relations, the agrarian crisis and an impending global economic slowdown and he knows it. But he also knows that now 'the hurly-burly's done and the battle (decisively) won', he has a free hand to address them.

In the honeymoon period of the new government, NDA III, sweeping policy decisions are on the anvil, to free up core sectors and hopefully power the economy to double-digit growth. A severely weakened Opposition has no option but to go with the flow.

The verdict vindicates the decision of the RSS to back him whole-heartedly and accede to a “360-degrees of Modi” campaign. Internet-savvy bhakts could be pardoned for a meme of RSS icons Shyama Prasad Mookerji and Deendayal Upadhyay showering flower petals on Modi. He has done them proud.

The RSS now has the opportunity to carry forward its plan of 'intellectual decolonisation' - that is, freeing Indian academia from what it sees as Leftist dogma. At the same time, Modi-centricism means prioritising checks and balances through close coordination with the BJP and the government.

BJP president Amit Shah, saarthi to Modi's maharathi, gets his share of laurels. He had promised to conquer new territories in the East and he has done so, proving himself a man for all electoral seasons. Shah's formidable electoral machinery targeted 120 borderline seats and 'converted' them into goals.

For the man behind NDA's Mission 350, his thumping win in Gandhinagar is the icing on the cake. It qualifies him for one of the four juicy portfolios in the Union Cabinet, however much his critics in the BJP and RSS may prefer to see him packed off to Gujarat as Chief Minister.

'Shock and woe' best describes the impact of the verdict on regional parties. Even the rambunctious BSP-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh was not proof against the Modi factor. Mamata Bannerjee's TMC and Naveen Patnaik's BJD kept their heads above water in the Modi wave, but barely.

What mysterious forces were in play on the ground? “Don't look at the arithmetic, look at the chemistry,” a BJP general secretary had said. His contention, that Modi's chemistry with the common man would subsume identity politics, appears prima facie correct.

The Pulwama push, the promise of stability, the failure of the Opposition to get its act together, the Congress insistence on clinging to failed strategies – none of this explains how the Modi factor trumped visible and vocal anti-incumbency in the run-up to the general elections.

If at all the Congress had a hero, it was Captain Amarinder Singh, who carried Punjab effortlessly.

The Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the three states which returned Congress governments in 2018, proved a shattering disappointment. Now, the hairline majority governments in Karnataka and MP may fall.

Jawaharlal Nehru had famously threatened the Jan Sangh founder: “I will crush you”, to which Mookerji had retorted: “I will crush this crushing mentality”. The Congress' hopes of a comeback have certainly been crushed.

After months of crying “the Bogeyman cometh”, the moment of truth confronts them all. Like the rest of the country, they must now repose faith in the institutions of democracy, notably the judiciary, to ensure effective checks and balances in the coming years.

The author is a senior journalist. Views expressed are personal.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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