Modi sarkar's gearshift point: How UP Assembly election win changes Indian polity

Abhijit Majumder
Abhijit MajumderMar 11, 2017 | 12:28

Modi sarkar's gearshift point: How UP Assembly election win changes Indian polity

With Saturday’s (March 11) Uttar Pradesh results, Narendra Modi’s 2,000cc BMW 3-series mandate of 2014 has been replaced and fitted with a 4,500cc Ferrari-Maserati engine.

It will growl differently. It will begin to run very differently.

India’s biggest and most-influential state in the hands of a patient and determined man is a potent thing. He already has unassailable majority in Lok Sabha. The scales have started tilting in his favour in Rajya Sabha as well.

This massive mandate will also see the beginnings of a much more profound change.

That gives BJP the last word in matters like the presidential election. It also gives the government numbers needed to push economic reforms through Parliament without them being heavily sandpapered by the demands of consensus, as we saw with the Land Acquisition Bill or the GST.

And this massive mandate will also see the beginnings of a much more profound change. The BJP will now begin to emerge a lot more as itself and resemble less and less a soft-saffron Congress. It will steadily gain the capacity to take up its core ideological agenda, eventually touch untouchables like the Uniform Civil Code, or Section 35A and Article 370 in Kashmir. It will also get the confidence to roll out the National Education Policy and the National Curriculum Framework, which it has so far tucked away in the garage, putting education of a course very different from the Nehruvian one we know. 

The March 2017 verdict is phenomenal in many more ways. Its performance in Manipur shows Assam was not a fluke. The party is making inroads into the Northeast faster than its ambitious road projects for the region.

The Uttarakhand sweep and getting a firmer grip on the once-shaky Goa speedboat add to the UP momentum and make things easier in the forthcoming elections in crucial BJP-ruled states Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.


A win in Karnataka next year, which looks extremely possible now, will give it a fuelling station in the south, with a friendly NDA highway diner at Andhra Pradesh, tyre marks increasing in Kerala, and an open stretch to speed on in what party insiders call “already poll-bound” Tamil Nadu.

If Nitish Kumar, apparently upset with his Mahagathbandhan partner RJD’s younger lot, drifts back towards NDA, east will shine again. If local by-poll percentages are an indication, the BJP is already the second-biggest force in Bengal and growing, thanks to the Hindu right-wing space that Mamata Banerjee unconcealed wooing of hardline Muslims is rapidly creating.

Finally, the BJP will draw strength from the fact that the AAP has not come even close to power in Punjab or elsewhere. A victory would have given it control over a police force, power to be more disruptive, and Arvind Kejriwal the status of Modi’s main challenger in 2019. 

The BJP would prefer Rahul Gandhi as opponent any day.

A rusting, halting train is less dangerous than a flying moped.

Last updated: March 13, 2017 | 20:23
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