A resounding mandate for stability - GulfToday

A resounding mandate for stability


Narendra Modi

The victory for India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is a crystal-clear manifestation of the fact that people want stability: a stable government, a stable economy, and stable protection for the nation. It is also testimony to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fame as a social champion.

There is no denying the fact that the BJP is a colossus, dwarfing the Opposition might that had apparently been propped up by a section of the media which did not want to see a nation of diverse faiths and cultures polarised on religious grounds.

Official data from the country’s Election Commission showed the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead in over 300 seats, more than the 272 seats needed for a majority in the lower house of parliament.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed victory and promised to build a strong and inclusive nation. “Together we grow,” he said on Twitter. “Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!”

What is surprising is that the BJP was on song even in states where it had previously struggled, including in West Bengal, where it targeted the Trinamool Congress, a powerful regional party in campaigning that often turned violent. The BJP was leading in over a dozen seats in the state, which sends the third largest number of lawmakers to parliament, significantly better than the two it won in 2014, Election Commission data showed.

In short, Modi has knocked the spots off the Opposition, which was perpetually trying to put him in a spot over his policies.

The BJP was being pilloried for a lack of jobs, falling farm prices and rural wages, a tax reform that led to unemployment and a demonetisation exercise that drained liquidity. But the victory mandate has brushed all this criticism under the carpet, putting it in the shade.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley once described Narendra Modi as the “worst victim of ideological intolerance.”

The victory also shows no matter how much one gets mauled by the media, people’s opinion matters. Before the British poll results four years ago, the media had said that former Prime Minister David Cameron had a slim chance of making a comeback. A descendant of King William IV, Cameron stunned the naysayers and poll pundits by winning a sensational second five-year term in office for his Conservative Party.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party had a commanding lead as votes were counted on Thursday after a six-week general election, sending the stock market spiralling in anticipation of another five-year term for the leader.

On the campaign trail, Modi presented himself as a self-made man with the confidence to cut red tape and unleash India’s economic potential, and labelled Congress party president Rahul Gandhi, the scion of a political dynasty that lost power in 2014, as an out-of-touch elite.

The BJP harnessed social media, including Twitter, where Modi has the world’s second-highest number of followers, and WhatsApp to reach out to millions of supporters.

In the world’s largest democratic exercise, voters cast ballots on some 40 million electronic voting machines. Losing candidates and political parties have raised doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the electronic method, however, noting the machines are not used in Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

Critics have said his majority community-first platform risks exacerbating social tensions in the country of 1.3 billion people. It remains to be seen what befalls the minorities, who have reportedly been the target of an oppressive mentality involving party cadres. Fear and insecurity in the minority community could rise.

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