You can’t win anything, forget elections, without the intent of winning it…!!
its almost one month now that NDA emerged victorious in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The results were unprecedented even for hard core BJP supporters so one can imagine the skeptism of Modi detractors. Mr. Modi and his cabinet is settling into the NDA-2, but the murmurs about how BJP managed such an astonishing victory refuse to settle down.
When analysing the results of the General Election 2019, a shot from the Film M S Dhoni by director Neeraj Pandey comes across my mind, where the protagonist while describing the cricket match played between his team and Punjab’s team, asks his friends that “do you know why we lost?” And then describes the why of the loss ‘We lost not because we didn’t played well, we lost because we were awestruck by the flamboyance of the captain of the opposite team (Yuvraj Singh in the film).’
If you can recall that scene, you would be able to correlate it with the unexpected results in elections 2019. Yes, everyone in the opposition was just awestruck by the name ‘Narendra Modi.’ All strategies from the party in power to the Grand Old Party (GoP) of India was revolving around this phenomenon called Modi. Otherwise, you don’t find any reason for a party like Indian National congress, that recently won handsomely in Rajasthan, ending up getting a duck. You talk to any expert in Rajasthan and the least they were giving to INC was 8-10 and come 23rd May the GoP struggled to even reduce the margin of loss. Yes, if one closely sees the margin between the winner and the loser in each of the 25 seats in Rajasthan, apart from Dausa (where the margin is around 78,000), the margin in every single seat goes in lakhs. Even the current CM, Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot lost the hometown seat of his father by a huge margin of 2.74 lacs. That’s the scale of victory in Rajasthan for the BJP which 5 months ago lost the state elections.
So what happened ion ground? Did the present INC government took some drastic decisions which didn’t go well with the electorate? Or did the state organization of BJP did some magic on ground that ended up giving them 100% support in terms of seat share?
Well, to me it’s neither of the above. Just remember the sloganeering in the state elections 5 months back and you would get the actual reason for such thumping win in the state. The most popular slogan in those election was ‘Modi tujhse Bair Nahin, Vasundhara teri Khair Nahin.’ Meaning We don’t have any qualms with Modi, but will not give any respite to Vasundhara. It’s this love with Modi that has swept the electorate. The “election experts” were giving sweeping statements like the narrative of panna pramukhs, the data analytic team of BJP, the lack lustre organization of INC etc .But all this failed against the biggest factor and that is the LOVE of the people for Modi. As they say ‘Pyaar mein aadmi andha ho jaata hai,’ The Love just blindfolds you, and that is exactly what happened everywhere.
You talk to the local sabziwala, the watchmen, the auto driver, the club going youth and even the youth that doesn’t have any job security, 8 out of 10 people will agree that ‘Demonetization’ was disaster, that they dont have a job , inflation has gone up, but let’s give him another chance and see.
There were other reasons also for this love and forgiveness of the electorate for Mr. Modi. The religious polarisation the man evokes in masses, the image of a strong leader, the sweeping speeches, but the one reason I find is the fact that no electorate has any intention to bring down the government just in 5 years, especially if it is a central government and the face seeking another term is a strong one. 5 years, people feel is too less a time. You converse with people for sometime and they would at one point say ‘5 saal bahut kam hota hai bhaiya ji’, ‘5 years are too little time to judge.’ This is as nuanced as it gets when it comes to the electorate.
The role of opposition parties cannot be ignored in handing the victory in BJP’s hands. In fact, when it comes to putting up a fight against the well-oiled election machinery of BJP, Mr. Modi’s statesman image, the opposition failed to show up. And Rajasthan is a classic case of that.
Despite all the blind love or Bhakti for Mr. Modi, it was always clear that Congress will get at least 7-8 seats. Congress, the local leadership and Congress high command is to be blamed for its defeat. The reasons? Mnay!!
The local congress leadership lacked vision and also suffered further from the ongoing tussle between Mr. Gehlot and Mr. Pilot. The party also failed to put up credible candidates on the seats that could have easily won. The classic mistake the party made is of annoying the Hanuman of Rajasthan (Hanuman Beniwal, the broke away leader of BJP who supported the Congress in state elections but got miffed in general elections).
All this could have easily been avoided had the leadership, both the local and the central, thought seriously about winning. There was clearly no serious intent of winning in the congress party when it comes to the general elections in Rajasthan. The whole unit became complacent after the win of state elections thinking that the electorate once again will put faith in them. But sadly, they forgot the five-month old slogan of the state electorate where the love for Mr. Modi was clearly evident. And when they woke out from their slumber, their eyes were completely awestruck by the competitor they were fighting.
People fall in love, not all lovers are good, but we justify their acts out of our love and innocence. Love hurts when it is built on lies, money and deceit. But one emerges out wiser from failures in love .
Indians are emotional people.. Lets just hope that when India’s romance with Modi ends, We as a country also emerge out wiser.
Writer is a Political enthusiast and waste management entrepreneur based in Rajasthan