Just a few days ago, I blogged about my predictions regarding the general election result. I predicted about 240-250 seats for the NDA and that turned out to be absolutely wrong. I underestimated the Modi wave completely. Here are my few quick reflections. Better late than never.
- Local candidates hardly mattered
My prediction regarding Congress holding on to its Mumbai seats went completely out of the window as a BJP new comer such as Poonam Mahajan manages to unseat Congress veteran Priya Dutt. While many of the Congress ministers who lost totally had it coming because of anti incumbency (the negative image of the government), I was really surprised that veteran and well qualified Congress leaders such as Nandan Nilekani, Naveen Jindal, Priya Dutt and Milind Deora also lost their seats. This is seen most clearly from the fact that Jaswant Singh, the former BJP stalwart who contested his old seat of Barmer in Rajasthan as an independent, also lost to the BJP candidate there. People voted for parties rather than the candidates and this maybe the reason why despite the renewed and intense focus on criminalisation of politics during the last couple of years, the people voted into office a Lok Sabha with the most number of “criminal MPs” till date.
- Presidential style election / Rahul Gandhi disaster
Though he was not a part (not a minister) of the corruption ridden UPA government which the electorate rejected, many people can be seen attributing much of the failure of the Congress Party to his leadership. The latest viral internet sensation is whycongresslost.in, a website with Rahul Gandhi’s campaign gaffes called created by Ashish Virmani, (@virmani ) an engineer at twitter.
The reason why Rahul Gandhi’s shortcomings were highlighted and UPA’s achievements (modest or vast) were largely ignored was because, the BJP by its very early selection of a PM candidate, managed to turn the election into a presidential style one. Votes were asked in the name of Narendra Modi rather than the BJP and the people were shown the dreams of a “Modi Sarkar” rather than a “BJP government”. Rahul Gandhi absolutely paled in comparison to Modi when promoted as a visionary leader. Not only were his speeches seen to be boring, but also his television interviews might have worsened his support rather than galvanising it. It is an ominous sign that even in his super safe seat of Amethi, Rahul Gandhi did trail his BJP opponent Smriti Irani for a significant duration on the morning of the counting day (the 16th) before finally edging over her when all the votes were counted.
I think that by now Rahul Gandhi’s reputation is so battered that it may never recover and that a change of leadership might be the most appropriate path for the INC if it has any hopes at all of reviving itself.
- AAP disaster
On result day, AAP seemed to be Aam Aadmi Punjab, for Punjab alone elected into office 4 AAP MPs while all AAP failed to open its account in all the other states including its home turf, Delhi. Though in late 2013 and early 2014 AAP dominated the headlines and focused the spotlight on issues relating to corruption, their resignation from the Delhi Council of Ministers not only almost irretrievable damage their own reputation but also seems to have allowed BJP’s media team to set the agenda and bring the focus away from corruption as a whole to Modi and his own model of development.
I personally believe that though Modi managed to capture the imagination of the nation in 2014, the malaise of corruption is still an issue that is important to the voters. With Modi in Delhi already, corruption might again become important when states go to polls and BJP will find it hard to win Assembly elections simply on Modi’s name. Though AAP is down, it may not yet be out and there is surely a good scope for revival.
- An end (atleast temporarily) of the coalition era
With 282 seats in its kitty, the BJP has won an absolute majority on its own strength! Something, that I had thought will not ever happen in my lifetime. With the rapid proliferation of small and regional parties, it seemed in the recent years that coalition politics was here to stay in India for a really long time.
A stable government is probably the best thing that shall come out of this election. Much too often, the UPA either had to backtrack on its decisions or not take decisions at all because of the threats of withdrawal of support by the allied parties. Also, many of the scams that tarred the UPA, were perpetrated by ministers from the allied parties, rather than Congress itself.
With a majority of its own, the BJP can credibly promise an end to the policy paralysis and the new government will not have excuses or scapegoats to blame if they fail to lead and deliver on their promises.
Just as my election result predictions were totally wrong, I hope my apprehensions regarding the Modi/BJP government are proved wrong as well. The country has reposed its faith in Mr. Modi and in the form of a single party majority, handed a massive opportunity for the BJP to prove itself and give the country the good governance it deserves. I hope the Modi govt manages to take up the mantle to give the country the good governence it deserves. Bring on the achhe din!Tweet