By Rajeev Chandrasekhar
On the 23 rd May – people of India reaffirmed their trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an unprecedented mandate – bigger and even more decisive than the landslide in 2014.
The word TRUST has entered the lexicon of Indian politics after several decades and was central in the pro-incumbency campaign that centered around the transformation and progress of India under PM Narendra Modi in the last 5 years – and a desire for most Indians to continue this progress to our eventual tryst with the NewIndia vision of PM – a poverty-free India with prosperity and opportunity to all and an India that is capable of protecting its economy and people during this rise from any threats -internal or external.
The Heat and Dust of Elections have settled – but the tectonic changes in Indian politics and the coming of age of Indians voters is permanent. That the focus amongst millions of Indians is on this NewIndia, on a better future – throwing aside and rejecting the opposition’s hatred and abuse filled campaign of lies and dividing people. The oppositions calumny of lies and abuse was defeated by a simple but powerful idea – people’s trust in Narendra Modi as their Prime Minister and in his leadership!
I have campaigned in earlier elections – but this was my first election campaign as a BJP Karyakarta and so worked with many karyakartas and leaders both in Karnataka and in the center. In almost every interaction with voters in public programs, or road shows or in closed door interactions with smaller groups – the feeling of trust and determination to continue the progress of our country was palpable and obvious. In many roadshows -the spontaneous participation of bystanders in the program was almost a normal. Often the campaign was more by the people and less by the party or the candidate.
That was why through the campaign repeatedly I had predicted a strong response by voters in Karnataka – and despite not being comfortable with predictions normally – had forecast 21-23 seats. In one internal meeting, when asked by my leader Yeddyurappa about Tumkur – I had confidently predicted BJP Candidate Basavaraju would defeat Former PM Deve Gowda. I was also loud and confident about the JD(S) being limited to just 1 seat despite much skepticism.
BJP won 25 out of 28 seats in Karnataka, with one more Sumalatha in Mandya being a BJP backed Independent. This is a record in the electoral history of Karnataka, with the BJP getting the highest ever seats and the Congress the lowest only 1 seat. BJP’s vote share of 51.4% is its highest ever, and the highest for any non-Congress party in the history of the State, and the highest since 1984.
There are real reasons for this – The voters of Karnataka had a unique perspective. In the last 5 years, they were the only voters who experienced NaMo at Center and Rahul Gandhi and Mahamilavat for 5 and 1 year at the state respectively. They could easily see the stark differences between PM Narendra Modi’s corruption-free, people centric Governance and Congress’ and JDS corruption ridden, Family centric governance in the state.
The sight of leaders like Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu Yadav, Akhilesh and Mayavati along with mercurial and violent Mamta Didi was deeply disturbing and disconcerting to even those who weren’t traditional supporters of BJP. Mahamilavat had neither a leader nor vision. It was an opportunistic alliance of dynastic parties and a desperate attempt to save themselves from the existential threat. “Na manjhi na rehbar, na haq mein hawayen, hai kashti bhi jarjar, ye kaisa safar hai” (What sort of a journey is this – without a navigator, or a guide, without favorable winds and with a creaky boat) – PM Modi had said in Parliament. It was clear during these elections that most Indians could never accept this motley crew to lead the nation and this Mahamilavat politics of caste and religion arithmetic was trumped and defeated by voters’ trust in a leader building a strong future for all Indians.
When NDA took over in 2014, India’s challenges were monumental- our economy was in the doldrums, the nation was among the fragile five, pessimism and despair was all-pervasive, and corruption was rampant. There were serious doubts in the minds of many about India’s ability to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of her citizens.
But, if challenges were enormous, so was PM’s resolve to build a stronger, safer and prosperous nation. Powered and inspired by the strength and trust of 130 crore Indians. Obstacles were converted into opportunities and pessimism into positivity.
The nation is no longer helpless against the barbaric forces of terror. Anybody attempting to disturb the the atmosphere of peace and progress will be given a befitting reply. They are being paid back in their own coin in a language understood by them.
Today, India stands tall at the Global level. The world recognizes India’s rise, which is clearly reflected in the numerous congratulatory messages pouring in from leaders across the globe to PM Modi for his thumping victory – recognizing Narendra Modi as a leader with the world’s biggest Democratic mandate.
One false narrative that has been deliberately built by opposition or those just ignorant is that of divisiveness. One of the first things that PM said after the electoral victory was ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas Sabka Vishwas – Vijayi Bharat’ – a message that is completely inclusive and promises development and opportunity to all Indians irrespective of Region, faith, caste, region and Gender. He further reiterated the Constitution as the basis of which India and all Indians would live and thrive.
The BJP manifesto has envisioned the agenda for NDA-3 in its Sankalp Patra. This was built through an unprecedented public consultation and the focus now moves away from the elections to the next five years as the government will work towards fulfilling these promises and building a strong and inclusive India with its priority to create a sustainably High growth Economy with a priority to help the poor to move out from poverty to a life of opportunity and prosperity.
The author is a BJP Leader & Karnataka Elections Management Co-Convener of Lok Sabha Elections 2019. (Views are personal)