Modi’s grand claims fall short

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Modi’s grand claims fall short

Wednesday, 05 June 2024 | Kumar Chellappan

Modi’s grand claims fall short

Despite Modi's bold predictions of a sweeping majority, the results reveal a different story. The BJP is poised to form the Government with a simple majority alongwith its NDA allies

Even as I write this column, TV news channels are airing the news that the BJP led by Narendra Modi has crossed the halfway mark of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha but is fighting a see-saw battle with the rejuvenated Congress to establish a safe lead. Narendra Modi is likely to form a government with a simple majority with the support of BJP’s other allies in the NDA. But the result indicates that Modi’s claim of 400+ seats for the NDA and 370+ for the BJP has come a cropper.What has happened in the 2024 Lok Sabha election is a political tsunami. The BJP which had hoped to make a clean sweep in Uttar Pradesh fell by the wayside. The Hindutva party’s dream of winning Maharashtra too failed. These are signalling the harsh reality that the electorate in Maharashtra and UP were taken aback by the BJP’s decision to align with the breakaway faction of the NCP and the RLD led by Jayanth Choudhry. The BJP forgot history and how Choudhry Charan Singh topped the Morarji Desai-led Janata Party Government in his bid to become the Prime Minister. Ajit Singh, Choudhry Saheb’s son too stabbed V P Singh, Chandrasekhar and A B Vajpayee from the back.

What made the BJP align with RLD at this juncture remains a mystery.Equally strange is the BJP’s decision to bring on board  Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel, which the former had described as embodiments of corruption. The eagerness of a leader from Maharashtra to occupy the Prime Minister’s chair is being seen as a faux pas by the BJP. The same leader had shocked the nation immediately after the last assembly election by swearing in as chief minister Ajit Pawar, only to submit his resignation in an ignominious manner.

Usually, politicians learn from past failures and correct themselves so that they do not fall into the same abyss again.  What has happened is that the Prime Minister has lost whatever goodwill he had enjoyed with the electorate. Ram Temple alone would not satisfy the mind of the people. The voters had set a benchmark for Narendra Modi and it is his hitherto appreciated integrity, honesty and patriotism. The moment political turncoats like Satyapal Mallik were accommodated in the BJP and were offered important positions like the governorship of Kashmir, the BJP’s fortunes took a beating for the worse.

Similarly, the alliance with the family-controlled JD(S) in Karnataka boomeranged on the BJP.Immediately after his election as the leader of the NDA following the 2014 impressive win, Modi had assured the constituents of his front that he would approach them with a progress card at the end of the five-year tenure. He was given all A+ by the electorate and also elevated the BJP with an absolute majority in the 2019 Lok Saba polls, a rare feat in the last 35 years of India’s electoral history. No party has got an absolute majority of its own since the 1984 election in which Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress scored more than 400 seats on its own.  The 2019-2024 tenure of Modi as Prime Minister outperformed its track record by beating the COVID-19 pandemic and a synchronized attack by the Opposition parties and the media. “A corruption free government” was what Modi gave the country during his two tenures.  But the clueless manner in which they forged alliances with every Tom, Dick and Harry who sang paeans to Modi did the job that the Congress and other Opposition parties could not do for the last decade. Nobody would deny the fact that Modi delivered what he had promised. More than 11 crore toilets and nearly five crore robust houses for the poor coming under the benchmark of BPL, the Ayushman Bharat medical aid which has more than 50 crore beneficiaries, the Mudra Loan scheme for artisans and small and medium entrepreneurs had a direct bearing on common man’s life.

The Prime Minister said in his media interactions that six crore persons found employment in the organized sector which the Opposition belittled as “jumla”. But they did not have any response when he pointed out that the Employees Provident Fund saw an increase of 400 per cent which means that he was not on his version.      The US economy which had been ruined because of the Great Depression (1929-1941) and the Second World War ( 1939-1945) got a new lease of life during the tenure of David Dwight Eisenhower as President (1953-1961). President Eisenhower ordered the construction of the Interstate Highway System, which remains to date the largest construction of roadways. Giant transport aircraft could be landed and taken off from these highways. This is what Modi was doing in India. But one man’s greed for power has cost the BJP a comfortable majority.  The only lesson the Opposition should learn from this exercise is that the “Janata Janardhan” would love the leader who treats them as equals and not as alms seekers. Yet another lesson for the Opposition is that it is time for them to come out of the demolition and destroy Modi at any cost.   A request to the winners and losers would not be out of place at this juncture. “In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill”. These are the words of the person who covered the First World War for The Pioneer, Sir Winston Churchill.

(The writer is a special correspondent with The Pioneer; views are personal)

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