In the course of a two-hour conversation four-and-a-half months ago, Narendra Modi told an editor of TOI, when asked how many seats he thought BJP would get: “This is not about arithmetic, this is about aspiration and passion. Ye toh tsunami aane wala hai (there is an electoral tsunami coming).” On Friday morning, as the sheer force of the Modi gale took the nation by storm, the word that trended to the top of social media was, not surprisingly, ‘tsunamo’. It was a landslide for BJP, and a humiliating rout of Gandhi-led Congress.
This is the biggest-ever win posted by any party after the landslide win Congress achieved on the strength of the “sympathy wave” generated by Indira Gandhi’s assassination. So far, the only non-Congress formation to have got a majority was Janata Party which achieved the feat in 1977. But given that it was a combination of four parties, BJP’s Friday victory marked the first instance where a party other than Congress has got past the majority mark on its own steam.
This is the largest anti-incumbency vote in India’s history. The desire for change was driven by anger against corruption and the sluggish economy, while riding on hope that Modi represented.
Given the social and geographical limitations of the BJP — it doesn’t have a footprint in the south outside Karnataka and is considered almost an untouchable by significant sections of minorities and among a big section of Dalits — its performance showed that it has broken traditional caste barriers by poaching on the OBC and Dalit constituencies of SP and BSP in UP.
As a persona, Modi represents many firsts. He is the first prime minister to be born in independent India. He is also the first “backward” to have sailed into the country’s top political office by making his caste identity an issue in the election. He is the first leader from a state who has captured power at the Centre by dint of his sheer personal appeal. This victory marks the fading of the 2002 riots as a wedge issue.
Modi is an archetypal outsider, never having been part of the Delhi elite. He became PM candidate after overthrowing entrenched leaders in his party.
In contrast to BJP, Congress did not open its score in seven states and three union territories and did not reach double digits in any state. The party’s total – which looks to be 44 seats – puts its claim to the leader of opposition status in doubt. It can still get it, but that will depend on the Speaker and BJP’s generosity.
BJP stamped its dominance by winning a staggering 147 of 168 seats in UP, Bihar and Maharashtra.
The result exposed the limitations of the tactic of “secular” parties to thwart BJP by aiming for Muslim consolidation. The surge in support for BJP in West Bengal and Assam was also being attributed to the emergence of “Hindu” vote which Modi had stoked by raising the issue of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Congress’s losses, on the other hand, can be gauged by the fact that the party did not enter double digits in even a single state. It faced a complete washout in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Delhi, Tripura and Uttarakhand. Besides, the singe-seat Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Dui also went to BJP.
Several top UPA ministers faced defeat, including Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Sushil Shinde, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Pallam Raju, Beni Prasad Verma, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Jaipal Reddy and Praful Petal.
Source: TOI NEWS