Modi is the first leader of BJP to win the Back to back elections. He has been able to increase the total tally of the BJP to 300. BJP can form its own government without even the support of its allies. He made it possible what looked difficult to achieve when BJP lost three key states. But he came back strongly to put up an emphatic show. BJP has won clear majority in the Lok Sabha. Nobody can claim the credit other than Narendra Modi aka Chai wala. He even beat the most optimistic exit polls. The opposition parties failed to stop Modi from gaining majority.
PM Modi has once again proved that he is clever political player and maneuverer than Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders. He mixed his Hindutva ideology with the image of strong leadership and economy. He is a right wing populist who knows how to exploit the sentiments of people. He ran a successful campaign and conveyed his message clearly to the people.
He builds the web of alliances with smaller regional parties in different states. His political strategy worked well. His opposition was divided and failed to forge unity. He even created defections in the opposition parties. There was no towering figure in the opposition parties to challenge the strongman image of Modi.
He is not a traditional style Indian politician praising Nehru and Gandhi as heroes instead he challenged their ideology and principals. He openly opposed the secular traditions. He gives free hand to the hardline extremist Hindu groups to pursue their Hindutva agenda. He divided the Indian society on communal basis. He did everything to rally the support of rightwing Hindu hardline groups and voters. Indian mainstream media and capitalist class also helped him to win the elections. The corporate Indian media has built his image as a strong leader who can protect the Indian national interests.
The Indian media become mouthpiece of Modi and provided uncritical support to him. Similar cacophony blared on social media platforms like Whats App, Facebook, Twitter and others. The Modi army was literally unstoppable in churning out the narrative that Modi is the leader India needs for another term, the country feels safe and secure in his hands.
Till December 2018, when the BJP lost three of its North Indian states, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the party was on a weak wicket. So Modi immediately changed gears and changed the narrative. He immediately took measures in his last budget to lure the rural population and middle class. He passed the bill to reserve the 10% quota for upper cast population. These measures helped him to gain support in the layers of population who were not happy with him.
He was clever to not only harp on the achievements of his government but also resurrect the plank of nationalism. Anti-Muslim rhetoric, Indian nationalism, Pakistan bastion and Hindutva helped him to win the general elections. He added his development rhetoric. No politician before him had experimented with the amalgamation of identity politics with the economic aspirations of the people.
Despite his failure on the economic front, his development rhetoric did not fade. He rubbished all the claims of opposition and experts; he was emphatic in his assertion that India has attained new heights under his leadership and become the fastest-growing economy. He played well with the Pulwama attack on Indian soldiers. At a time when he was looking vulnerable, the Balakot airstrike proved handy. Modi was smart enough to communicate with the masses that India has changed under his leadership, and this India retaliates strongly.
And with Amit Shah’s organizational skills, the BJP worked its cadre and teams into a gigantic, well-oiled machine. The combination of Modi, Machine and Media has completely redefined Indian electoral process. BJP spend six times more than the Congress on social media campaigns. The BJP outshined the Congress in media campaign on both print and TV channels.
The famous Indian journalist and political analyst Ashutosh summarise the situation in these words. “Today, the big question is: has Hindutva placed the BJP in the position which the Congress acquired during Indira and Nehru’s time? A few facts have to be admitted. Hindutva led by Modi is the new hegemonic ideology and it won’t be easy for any political-ideological formation to dislodge it; the old politics of 70s, 80s and 90s is dead”.
The opposition has to dig out new politics. To fight the gigantic electoral machine of BJP, the opposition has to rediscover an equally efficient machine. And above all, leaders have to find the gladiatorial instinct. Modi is successful because he fights to win. The same can’t be said about Rahul Gandhi and others. After winning the battle, Modi does not rest, he immediately moves on to the next. For him, politics is an eternal war and the opposition is an eternal enemy who has to be vanquished at any cost”.
Modi will continue to promote Hindutva and anti-Muslim rhetoric to further his political agenda. Opposition needs a new political strategy to stop the Modi’s march to make India as a Hindu state.
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21 August, 2019