Yesterday was a momentous day as we watched with excitement the results of the long drawn out General Elections in India pouring in. The results astounded many supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including me, which fought the campaign under its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. I had expected the BJP to do well predicting that it could get 265 Lok Sabha seats on its own and about 320 seats with its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA.)In the past, I have blogged about the General Elections in India. The first post covered the period from 1951 to 1977, while the second was for the period from 1977 to 2009. I have to admit, this was the most bitter elections ever fought in India. The reason was that many of his opponents could not bear the thought of a man like Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister of this country. The results of the 2014 Elections are here for all to see.
The ruling Indian National Congress has been decimated, getting only 42 seats. In some States like Gujarat and Rajasthan, the BJP won all the Lok Sabha seats! In others they performed incredibly well. Take the huge State of Uttar Pradesh, for example. It has 80 seats, the most for any state in the Indian Union. The BJP won an astonishing 71 of these, the remaining going to the family of the ruling Samajwadi Party supremo, Mulayam Singh Yadav, and the Gandhis through Sonia Gandhi herself winning from Rae Bareli and Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, talked of for decades as the “pocket boroughs” of the Gandhis.
Equally astonishing was that some political parties like the DMK and the BSP which were allied with /supported the ruling UPA in one form or the other didn’t get even one seat to the 16 th Lok Sabha.
To my mind, the ruling UPA lost because they were out of touch with the hopes and aspirations of today’s India, especially the youth. They still believed in vote bank politics of appeasing the minorities to keep them relatively poor and ill educated. In today’s India caste is fast becoming less important as rural youth are getting exposed to modern trends by working in the urban areas. The days of people appreciating a dole are over. They want education, they want jobs and they want to get ahead in their own lives.
There was also an arrogance amongst some senior leaders of the Congress. This infamous comment by Mani Shankar Aiyer a die-hard sycophant of the Gandhis says it all. I was one among very many who felt this arrogance would be paid back by the voters of India- which is exactly what happened.
We stand at the dawn of a new future. I am hopeful that with such a powerful mandate given to him by the people of India, Narendra Modi will, over time, lead the country to greater heights.