By S. Sivathasan –
Advance and Retreat
Came April 2019 and Indian elections have entered the fiercest phase. Do or die may be an apt description, as stakes are of the highest import. On the results lie the continuing redemption of the country with an unwavering leadership or a relapse into a paralytic past only five years ago. Arraigned on either side is a disciplined party with a leader of world acclaim and an inchoate group of formations with no acknowledged leader. The latter struts about like headless chicken with only personal aspirations on display. With only a little more space left, victory for Modi and the BJP awaits only confirmation.
In this uneven contest Prime Minister Modi is well ahead and has adequately established his ascendancy. Ever since election fever started, fear is writ on the collective face of Congress and its cohorts. Some sixty years ago Nehru said “Elections bring out the worst in us”. What a tragic irony, Congress leader in Nehru genealogy spearheads in muck racking to bring forth the very worst in Indian politics. As of now as before also, BJP is at 3 digit and 300 plus seats, while Congress has slid to 2 digit and 90 minus.
What are the high stakes? Nehru, the first Prime Minister was a leader of unimpeachable integrity. His intellect of the highest calibre made for the vision to modernize India. He brought forth a generation or two of bureaucrats and technocrats to move the country forward. In Foreign Affairs he had none to match. Leaders who followed were not of his caliber or spotless in character. A leader who steered through long delayed economic reforms in early nineties was Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. He was ably advised by the Finance Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. India saw a sea change and had enabled Vajpaye to build a new India.
The Modi Surge
These highlights apart, the intervening years were lusterless in development and in securing foreign esteem. The most debilitating canker that afflicted the country after Nehru was the spread of corruption consequent to the unfailing loss of personal standards and of patriotism. Corruption clawed its way till it filled every pore of public life. The last five years of the UPA saw policy paralysis followed by comatose in administration, foreign affairs and nation’s growth. The polity lost its vitality and the will to fight the afflictions. A sense of despair and forlornness became all pervasive. Modi ridiculed that sense and questioned when an enemy comes into your house and beats you up, instead of hitting back and sending him away, why do you run to America to weep and to beg of that country to come and do your work?
Modi roadshow on April 25th, 2019 at Varanasi.
At this juncture Modi came as a tonic and a restorative to demoralized India in 2014. He changed the mindset of India and gave to their lives a sense of purpose. The state of vibration that he had in his own remarkable mind, he imparted to the polity. He and his lieutenants built up a cadre of leaders imbued with a fresh dynamism. He became not domineering but primus inter pares, leading not by edicts but by himself being spotless. The first casualty was corruption. High end swindles are shown the exit path. Others of no less consequence is a whole range of development initiatives that are transforming the face of India.
Before the approaching juggernaut, the opposition is in disarray. As the Congress becomes increasingly aware of un-winnability, it takes refuge in fake pronouncements. Its leader lost face when the Chief Justice told him where to stand. A few of the PM aspirants are yet to descend to firm ground. Some take refuge in the supposed failings of EVMs. Yet others refuse to see the direction from the strong gusts.
Changing Allegiance in States
Odisha has begun the rout of Biju Janata Dal (BJD)and welcome the advent of BJP. BJD took 20 of the 21 seats in 2014. Now it stands around 5. So is West Bengal on the verge of putting Trinamool Congress on the back burner. The latter which won 37 seats out of 42 at the last election may get 19 this time. Uttara Pradesh which gave 73 to NDA last time may stop at 60 this time. BJP and the NDA are opening their account in the South at this election. Tamil Nadu having given only 1 seat earlier may lavish the NDA with18 seats. Telugu Desam Party of Chandrababu Naidu is getting routed by YRC in Andhra Pradesh and will join a post poll coalition with NDA. Telengana is fully with the incumbent CM, which means nowhere unless it supports NDA in a post poll alliance. In Karnataka NDA will have the same comfortable alliance with NDA. For once, BJP will establish its toehold with a seat or two in Kerala. Communists, best at piggy backing specialism are dwindling from 3 states to a single state and single digit anonymity with a seat count of 6, only in Kerala. It is clear that the South together with the North-East zone will more than compensate for whatever minor loss in UP brought about by the SOS coalition along with the modicum of deviations that may be seen in the rest of the country.
Most astutely Modi crafted two days ago, a new coinage in political vocabulary – “Pro-Incumbency Wave”. The personage most soaked in information flow on the election is Modi. He has surrounded himself with the best of talent to dispense advice dispassionately. To name a few – Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal, Nithin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and Gurumurthy. Never to forget is the benignly ruthless Amit Shah for organization, who is said to use GPS for monitoring work and progress. The result – confidence about victory is so certain, swearing in details are being mapped out and a 100 day plan for the immediate term, a 3 year plan to mark the 75th anniversary of independence, a 5 year plan for the second term ending in 2024, a 10 year plan for a stunning $ 10 trillion economy by 2030 and a bold vision up to 2040 are all on the anvil, being hammered out coterminously.
There are 20 long days for the surge till April to culminate in a wave in May, 2019.