Uttar Pradesh elections victory doesn't mean Modi is winning 2019

With great victory comes great responsibility.

 |  4-minute read |   15-03-2017
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To say that the BJP has registered a massive victory in Uttar Pradesh would be stating the obvious. A complete decimation of the regional parties and the Congress is equally clear. But what is not being talked about, especially by those who have already written the epitaph for these parties, is the possible reasons for the BJP's victory.

Unfortunately, the electronic media for the past two days has been solely fixated on the drubbing that the regional parties have received.

But the BJP's huge victory, contrary to the joyous celebrations, is also one that should make the party deeply anxious and nervous. Because to maintain the same strike rate over the coming years would be an enormously daunting task.

bjp-lotus_031417051544.jpg Despite the landslide victory, one cannot help but point out the numerous issues that should worry the BJP.

If 2014 was touted as a "wave", this one is  being called a "tsunami". The verdict is a clear sign of simmering desperation among the voters, but now the BJP needs to generate tangible results. 

Despite the landslide victory, one cannot help but point out the numerous issues that should worry the BJP.

Sample this: With more than 300 seats, it has managed to secure a vote share of roughly 39 per cent. On the other hand, the SP and the BSP together account for more than 40 per cent vote share with the rest coming from a range of local parties. Out of the total 370 seats contested, the BJP fielded turncoats in around 160 seats. Just like the floating voters, even contestants are willing to negotiate better deals with respective parties before every election.

And despite all those talks of inclusive politics, the BJP didn't field a single Muslim candidate. These facts not just compound the unease but also raises some questions.

What exactly would be the scenario if the SP and the BSP votes are counted together and pitted against the BJP?

How does this picture pan out across the urban-rural divide, especially across class lines?

If one is indeed witnessing a dominance par excellence, what explains the proliferation of small, unheard, yet intriguing parties across the landscape?

And finally, was it a victory of the BJP as a party, or of Narendra Modi, the skilled manipulator?  A few interesting claims have been made by the BJP for this victory. The post-election discourse has suddenly and unanimously shifted towards "development". What hasn't been acknowledged is the divisive politics pursued under the garb of growth and development.

From Ram Mandir, anti-Romeo squads, "Kabristan and shamshaan" issue to even requesting the EC to allow rigorous checking of Burqa-clad women before voting was something that was all pervasive.

To argue otherwise would actually be discrediting the astute micro-level planning of the BJP. Then we had Arun Jaitley making astonishing claims about what the BJP philosophy stands for.  He said that the Congress's over emphasis on redistribution politics was the reason for their downfall and how they have managed to reverse it by coupling growth narrative to the same.

Now without holding any brief for the Congress, everyone knows this for sure that the GDP figures of the first three years of the UPA 1 regime was unequivocally better than that of the NDA. Sure, issues like job creation haunted them throughout.

However, this is true for the BJP as well. In fact, if the growing anxiety, especially among the youth is anything to go by, this factor will never cease to be a pressing concern from now on.

Secondly, Modi was shrewd enough to recognise demonetisation as "politically" advantageous rather than insisting on its "economic benefits". Even then, a shoddy damage-control measure systematically veiled the economic horrors of demonetisation.

For now, the vacuous, ephemeral sense of political power has convincingly postponed the systemic worries that an already fragile economy keeps throwing up every day. How long will Modi manage to transfix the voters with his charisma at the expense of substantial economic churning is the question. 

In modern-day politcs, it is said that identities are fluid. They seldom cling on to a parent party. When mobilisation happens on various parameters, these fuzzy identities boast of an inherent capacity to change even age-old allegiance at will.

If strongly rooted parties like the SP and the BSP could be wiped out in barely five years, the BJP needs to be  highly wary of the sheer volume of expectations at the moment.

Campaign rhetoric has its honeymoon period and comes with its own set of deadlines. Besides, practical reality makes more noise than a gripping oratory.

Also read: Uttar Pradesh Assembly election: Modi now can make BJP win 2019 unless he goofs up

Writer

Suraj Kumar Thube Suraj Kumar Thube

The writer has done his MA in political science with a special interest in Indian democracy and Indian political thought. He also likes listening to Hindustani Classical music and watching football.

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