17th Lok Sabha Polls- The Aftermath

Unlike the UPA the NDA campaign was personality based and converged a lot to one man – Narendra Modi. The campaign almost took the presidential form when the man himself said that to press the lotus on the EVM means a vote for ME.


Ironically Narendra Modi failed miserably on various counts, be it the agrarian distress that he failed to address, implementation of demonetization that saw the downfall of the informal sector in a big way which in turn had a cascading effect on unemployment that caused further accrual to its strength!!

The above in addition to the decamping of several noted business magnates to foreign shores could mark the beginning of the deterioration of the Indian economy!! As diagnosed by Dr Rathin Roy, Director NIPFP, we are heading into a middle-income trap and could easily move deeper but not away from it.

The nation also witnessed an exalted sense of divisiveness in its diversity and pluralistic coexistence. The increase in the frequency of lynching by the cow vigilantes and excessive cases of assault on the Dalits and lower castes bore evidence to the high handedness of the majoritarian community.

The vote count, however, failed to allay such fear in the mind of the voters. The ruling NDA swept clean by winning 353 of the 542 seats. While the quality of campaigning did lower the bar of electioneering, the seven phases voting schedule offered ample time to extensively campaign even in remote locales.

Unlike the UPA the NDA campaign was personality based and converged a lot to one man – Narendra Modi. The campaign almost took the presidential form when the man himself said that to press the lotus on the EVM means a vote for ME. Apprehensive of the might of the Modi / Shah combine, the candidates endorsed the dictum.

As the excitement died down and the results were made public, the true essence lies in the aftermath!!!

While the likes of Menaka Gandhi, the only Gandhi in the BJP, was candid about helping Muslims only if they voted for her, and Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah were castigated for expressing their apprehension about their minority status, Mr. Modi in his maiden address after the humungous victory said that “the minorities are made to live in fear, we must end this”. He even added that “those voting against us are also part of us”.


Will our PM walk the talk?

A resounding victory to his second consecutive term is commendable and worth accolades, however, it is to be seen whether the Modi administration lays down a theocratic grip on his subjects or ushers in an era of development and growth or a combination of both.

The Hindutva concept may add flavour to his cadre which is predominantly represented by the RSS but could cause a deep dent in the process of economic development and growth. Religious inclination comes only in the aftermath of economic growth. Religion is practised more by the haves than the have nots as the latter sits mostly outside the temple or the mosque, wherever he is rewarded more while pleading for alms!!

The treatment meted out to the minorities was indeed contemptible and due measures to placate them is in order.

In order that Narendra Modi ushers in economic growth, it is vital for him to focus on the growth of the middle-income group who is confounded by unemployment and more mouths to feed.

Modi also needs to recapitalize funds to feed the loss-making banks and penalize the rich and powerful defaulters who are currently holed up in safe havens and planning further escape routes.

Modi needs to encourage more Indian investments as well into the marketplace, leverage exports, stimulate/restore FDI (foreign direct investment) at the same time list all shell companies of Indian origin and act upon all NPAs to turn them around.

Trade with Iran has become a major bone of contention for India as the same will hurt the American interest. All oil trade with Iran will stand annulled after 4th May failing for which sanctions would be imposed. This would block the preferential treatment extended to India and thus the duty-free exports of goods worth $5.6 billion will be at stake!!

Indian economy is in peril and it certainly needs revitalization that could not be done for the past five years.

It is essentially the southern states comprised of Kerala and TN that could possibly earn his ire!! Kerala could not offer him a single seat while TN could offer Modi’s ally the AIDMK just 3 of the 38 Lok Sabha seats. AIDMK, now orphaned following the death of its star campaigner Ms Jayalalitha stands lonely and forlorn, deserted by the voters who remained detached to the Modi wave.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana too refused to jump into the bandwagon and preferred to vote for internal parties. BJP was left gasping for breath even here.


“Those voting against us are also part of us”!!

Following Menaka Gandhi’s threat to the Muslims, the above appears as mere rhetoric and could have to undergo the test of time for the reality to emerge. BJP is striving hard to make inroads into these states with Kerala as its last resort. South India being the major driver of the Indian economy, which adds up to 40% of our GDP and poised to make several gains in the years to follow, the Modi administration needs to focus vividly on the four states to avoid any conflict of interest.

The burgeoning win has definitely added numerous feathers on to Modi’s cap, however, he would be well advised to tread cautiously avoiding rivalry as much as possible while dealing with people who did not vote for him. The regional parties are equally equipped with able men and machinery to combat any wordy duel with the central leadership. It is hence in the interest of the government to avoid conflicts as much as is possible!!


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