The writing was always on the wall. The Opposition had tried their best to make their supporters understand that the one-sided results predicted by the exit polls were something unreal. The idea was to send across the message that even the electronic voting machines were manipulated by the Narendra Modi administration to defeat the very idea of Indian democracy. Historical fats were dug up to show instances when the exit polls had fallen flat. The optimism was on till May 23 morning when the people of India sent a counter message to the anti-Modi platform: There is no alternative to the man at this point of time and there will not be in the near future.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance – the National Democratic Alliance – stormed to power with an overwhelming majority. Out of 543 seats in the 17thparliament, the NDA were set to win 349 seats with the BJP alone touching 300. It was a show which was better than even the 2014 results even though the Opposition Congress could marginally improve its tally last time (44) to 53. The Congress-led UPA could manage only 91 seats while the third parties came together for 103. The Congress could not win a single seat in as many as 17 states and Union Territories, which made its December show in the Hindi heartland look exceptions.
Mundane political factors do not touch Modi any more
The question is: Has India chosen Modi as its long-time leader or is there no force to test his credibility left in the country? It’s a combination of both actually. Narendra Modi is no more just a leader of a particular political party or ideology in India. That he still was in 2014 when he had emerged as an outside challenger to a decaying establishment. In 2019, Modi is a phenomenon that now lies well beyond the furthest point of the opponents’ radar. The people of India has invested again in the man irrespective of all the debates on Rafale, joblessness, demonetisation, farmers’ crisis and several other mundane factors because they consider none can really do a better service to the nation than him. The situation is more comparable to that before the China war in 1962 or after the Bangladesh war of 1971 when Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, respectively, were seen as infallible leaders.
Modi’s downfall? That’s an impossible word at the moment
History will be curious to know how the Modi story will be folding. Because at the moment, there is no iota of evidence of a way or thought that can derail the man’s marching fortunes. It is not uncommon to see leaders with personality cult ruling nations across the world and the people putting unshakeable trust on them (be it Turkey, US, China, Russia, Hungary and elsewhere) for they assume that a strong face is necessarily related with their countries’ international reputation and security.
But in India, it is not too easy to continue in that dominating position for far too long because of the country’s incredible diversity. There was no single-party majority in the country between 1984 and 2014 and now there are suddenly two back-to-back ones, which confirms the fact that the unstable Opposition is something that the common Indians do not trust anymore as power holders, be it in terms of transparent governance or security or promoting the country’s international ambitions. Incidentally, the Left in India was completely decimated in this election.
The renewed mandate has made Modi the second leader after Indira Gandhi (1967 and 1971) to earn consecutive single-party majority and another win in 2024 will put him at par with Nehru (1947-64) who was arguably India’s best prime minister till date. Modi is yet to turn 69 and God willing, another 10 years of him in power is not unlikely. It will be a completely changed story India will be scripting by then and for those who still aspire to topple Modi from the pedestal of power in the foreseen future, a completely new beginning of thought is what required.