Lessons from Modi’s win
We concluded our editorial of last week themed on our stake in the Indian general elections by remarking that we have no reason to doubt that whatever the result of the Indian general elections, our special relationship with India will ever be maintained. And at the very beginning we had opined that ‘A strong India is good for Indians, the diaspora, and the world too’, for the hope of the global Indian diaspora (now numbering nearly 25 million) was to see an even stronger India emerging out of the general elections.
This is exactly what has happened: the BJP has been voted in with an even stronger mandate than in 2014, having crossed the 300 mark in a Lok Sabha of 542 seats. Which means that the BJP has enough of a majority to rule alone, but with its allies forming the NDA (National Democratic Alliance), it will have even greater legitimacy to rule. The fragmented opposition is already bickering and has started the blame game, accusing the Congress of being responsible for the humiliating defeat they have suffered for the second consecutive time.
In fact the exit polls conducted by six different outfits had already predicted this massive victory of the BJP, already giving it various labels: Modi Tsunami, Tusnamo-2, Modi Wave among others, emphasising thereby the pivotal role of Modi himself in the victory. This is no doubt true, but it was a victory crafted all the way behind the scenes by a mastermind called Amit Shah, who had at his command what even the opposition acknowledges is the formidable electoral machine of the BJP constituted of cadres who reach out to every nook and corner of the country.
What this win has shown is that people have made a clear distinction between what is at stake at national level and issues at state level. And as was pointed out by the more discerning and less biased commentators before the elections, people were looking for a strong leader to take the country forward – and in their view that leader could be none other than Modi, there being no equivalent on the other side. He faced an opposition of 19 parties that had come together as a Mahagathbandhan with a single objective: to oust Modi. But who was their prime ministerial candidate? That would be decided after the elections they had said. As someone remarked, this was the first election in India which was not about electing a prime minister, but about bringing the incumbent one down.
Further, the results have demonstrated that dynastic politics is out, and that anointing family members as party cadre generation after generation was no longer acceptable, the latest addition being Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka whose campaign has been a spectacular failure. And the younger generation of Indians who formed a sizeable segment of new voters have also shown that they have risen above the traditional caste combinations that have formed the backbone of the Mahagathbandhan constituency. They are forward looking, take national issues very seriously, and will not be fooled by those regional satraps who are fighting for their own narrow agendas.
On the other hand, this stunning victory has given the lie to the leftist liberal gang with tentacles in both the local Indian and the foreign press that have systematically demonised Modi and the BJP since 2014, accusing them of practising divisive politics and marginalising minorities. India has given a united response by pitching Modi and the BJP to an even higher level. With so many stalwarts in its midst, the new government will continue on the developmental path that it has begun, and address the burning issues such as farmer distress, job creation, and further consolidate national security.
As we also are in an electoral mode, it will be useful to take note that people are less prepared to accept dynasties propped up by the media and sycophants and that more and more the young in particular are looking for leadership that has come up more by democratic means than by anointment. There are lessons there for Mauritian politicians.
Further, another lesson is that one cannot fabricate a leader by means of propaganda – or any ‘gathbandhan’ (alliance) whether it be ‘maha’ or not ; a leader must arise from the people and have acceptance on the basis of track record and character, and that at the end of the day it is the people’s wisdom that will prevail.
This is the kind of leadership imbued with a holistic vision and commitment to the country’s larger interest that that has given India its dignity, and raised it to be among the greats on the world stage. There is no doubt that India is now entering a new era, and that while congratulating the BJP and its leaders for their spectacular victory, we are also comforted by the fact this represents a continuity in government, giving us added hope to scale up our relationship and work together at unfolding higher opportunities for both our countries.
* Published in print edition on 24 May 2019