HISTORIC MANDATE DON AGUIAR
Elections results are out and show that the BJP will be in power riding on Narendra Modi’s popularity. The elections underscored the importance of a party having a driving and powerful message that is forward looking – there was a fundamental shift from an understanding of the voter based on his or her past – where somebody came from – to where somebody wishes to go. BJP had the clarity and a sense of purpose and a clear agenda of development vis a vis the other major party, the Congress with no clear route map on lessening corruption or highlighting their development map but only stressing on communalism.
Modi created an aura of something special and inevitable about him through the use of social media and with his group of very fascinated supporters. And this invites people to be a part of it simply because they feel it is a big movement and it’s going to happen in any case and one of the prime reasons why Modi got such an absolute majority mandate which came not only from the majority but also from part of the minority who got carried away by wanting to be part of this big movement even though they were aware that Modi is linked to the RSS whose ideology is very different from that of the constitution of India. Also the message carried home by migrant workers in Gujarat who are from the Hindi heartland and the eastern states that do not watch prime time TV or interact with politics but have only their sustainable livelihood in mind have acted as independent evaluators and given Modi good marks. The stories of even a few migrants back to their villages in all over north/east India from their workplace in Gujarat seem to carry credibility and seem to spread over a large area in poor backward areas.
Moreover there are too many secular parties/options for the minorities to choose from and all these parties have together garnered support from the minorities and have confused the minority electorate leading to a greater vote share for the BJP although many minority leaders appealed to their community to exercise their franchise tactically – voting to prevent a candidate with a poor record in communal amity from winning and also seeking to bolster the chances of victory of the most winnable secular candidate – this appeal was not taken seriously of by the minority.
India has made an admission that it does not mind authoritarian rule as long as it translates into better quality of life. It has proved that people never wanted a change as badly as now. Everyone was brought up in the belief that democracy means devolution of power from government to people, but we have given up those powers in the hope of getting something more economically tangible than the notional advantage of being able to control the government.
The results reflect a historic mandate – This verdict could well spell an all-time high of Hindu power in the country. It will be an unusual government, one of the rare times in our contemporary history that a party will be in power with an absolute majority – of one party rule which we have not had since 1984/1985 instead of the usual collation governments which are unable to govern as required because of collation politics – Will it be that absolute majority will provide comfort to all stake holders? Will the new BJP’s leader practice true instead of pseudo-secularism by keeping politics and religion strictly apart while ensuring the freedom of all to pursue religion as they wish?
There is also the institutionalization of corruption and the significant role played by the corporate sector in these elections which needs to be taken note of. The irony is that one of the reasons that the Congress and the UPA were voted out of power was because of corruption; but now even greater corruption has brought the BJP into power. It is common knowledge that the corporate sector that supported Modi will now want to have its “pay-back” time and this will have detrimental repercussions on the body polity of the country. The poor and the marginalized will be at the receiving end; with its pro-rich policies, the BJP will clearly side with the ‘haves’ of the country.
What do BJP and the Indian majorities do with this new Hindu power? Do they use it to establish a majority, intolerant state where minorities are ‘put in their place?’ Will they now say ‘India is the land of Hindus?’ And make more laws in line with the Hindu religion? It may even appeal to a section of the population; least in the long run such a thought process will only turn our country into a conservative, regressive, unsafe and poor country. If this rise of Hindu power is not channelized properly we risk turning into one of our neighbors – Pakistan or Bangladesh that have messed it up.
We are at an unprecedented crossroads in Indian history. On one side we have the chance to be one of the best in the world. On the other we could mess it up with brazen abusive power. People’s hopes are exceedingly high and it is not going to be easy for Modi to satisfy citizens who might be looking for quick results, of stability, development and good governance irrespective of the BJP being remote controlled by its mother organization whose ideology differ vastly to that of the constitution of India .
We are confident that with a strong mandate the new government will do well and will implement economic policies that benefit people and industry. The development theme must revolve around job creation, proper stability, sustainable livelihood, fiscal prudence and manufacturing resurgence rather than spreading/promoting their party/organization ideology / Hindu state. This will create an environment conducive for growth and make India a great nation it deserves to be.