Saturday, 17 May 2014

A Momentous Day In The History Of Independent India

Narendra-Modi.  Pic courtesy

May 16, 2014 will go down as a day that could well change the fortunes of modern India forever: for the better. The General Elections have voted the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) under the dynamic leadership of Narendra Modi, to power with a resounding majority.

Whereas the BJP needed 272 seats (out of the Lok Sabha's 543) for a clear majority, it won a stunning 282 on its own! As a pre-poll alliance, NDA (National Democratic Alliance), of which the BJP contributed a lion's share, tallied 334. The Congress suffered the ignominy of not even troubling three digits: it plunged to a historic low of 44 seats.

To put things in a perspective, in Uttar Pradesh alone the BJP beat the Congress' National tally by winning 71! Some of the big names bit the dust in this process.
This comprehensive infographic is a good guide to Ellections2014 Results

The stand outs of this win are:
  • Narendra Modi is set to be the first Prime Minister to have been born in independent India
  • Modi has led his party, the BJP, to its highest ever LS tally.
  • For the first time in 30 years since the 1984 elections, a single party has managed to secure an absolute majority.
  • His charismatic, focused leadership has been the key to the NDA's spectacular victory.
  • Modi cleverly leveraged the power of Social Media and the Internet on a scale unprecedented in the annals of election campaigning in India: this extended his reach to the youth who in turn became willing campaigners on his behalf. The build-up began more than six months before D-Day!
  • The results are a crushing blow to the ruling Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
  • While there were clean sweeps by BJP in Gujarat and Rajasthan, their traditional strongholds, the totally unexpected 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh have been a crucial swing in favour of the BJP.

Stats apart, what do the results signify?

After decades India has a stable government at the helm, unfettered by destructive coalition politics. The outgoing UPA govt. often lamented about how 'compulsions of a coalition' hampered their decision making and stalled progressive reforms.

One can accuse Modi of anything but indecision. His three terms as Chief Minister of Gujarat have been marked by a strong administration that has facilitated rapid growth of infrastructure and industrialisation of the state: a development model that has been the envy of its neighboring states.

Modi's inspiring story of a meteoric rise from a tea vendor to successful CM of Gujarat and now finally, Prime Minister of India is the stuff that could fire the imagination of fiction writers. This has also endeared him to the populace as him being 'one of us'.

Most importantly though, it is his spotless, corruption free image that makes Modi stand apart and has possibly been the single biggest factor in his landslide win (I say 'his' win because without his charismatic leadership, brilliant track record to support his agenda, administrative skills, the BJP stood little chance of scoring this big.) The UPA-2's rule was marked by one corruption scandal after another. The fiasco of the Commonwealth Games, the 2G auctions to 'coal-gate': all of these scams ran into tens of thousands of crores: a colossal drain on National resources.

Added to this, poor governance under the UPA, callousness toward the needs of the country, sky rocketing prices and economic policies (or rather the lack of them) that crippled growth had alienated the electorate to a point of no return. Therefore in addition to being a 'Pro-Modi' mandate, which it undoubtedly is, it is also a resounding 'No' to the Congress led UPA. All the scams and non-performance made the path to New Delhi easier for Modi.

As a people, what should we expect and demand from our to be Prime Minister?

  • Firstly, secularism has been the foundation of India: every effort needs to be made to make the minorities feel secure, give them a reassurance that they are wanted in India.
    The radical elements within the alliance as well as those who lend the NDA critical support from outside it are a concern. 
  • Often in the past, brilliant opportunities have been frittered away by Governments who have abused their majorities in the LS. Under the leadership of a visionary like Modi, India is at the cusp of an incredibly exciting time. His biggest advantage is not having to depend on any coalition partner to get important legislation cleared. Also, his undisputed leadership of his own party is a big plus.
  • Long overdue economics reforms need to be addressed at the earliest:those pertaining to Insurance and Pension sectors, Labour laws, Land reforms, boosts to FDI, Power sector reforms. Transparent, fair and stable policies will stimulate growth.
  • For long, entrepreneurs and industry have been crushed under vexed taxation laws, land acquisition issues and most importantly, poor infrastructure. Massive investments neede in Power, Ports, Roads and Highways and Airport areas.
  • The bugbear of India which has haunted the common man the most at every level has been corruption. Although it is virtually impossible to weed out this malaise from a people who have been brought up on giving and receiving bribes to make things easier, the least that could be done is that the people at the helm are seen to be honest.
After the dust has settled, Modi will first have to ensure that the egos within party are suitably dealt with while forming the cabinet. The next step would be to undertake a massive repair job: undoing the extensive damage wreaked on the country under UPA's misrule.

A challenge of mammoth proportions. If any single person could take India to the next level of progress, leapfrog over the quagmire it finds itself in, Modi is that man.

Mr. Modi, over a billion people's hopes, including mine, are now pinned on you.
As a people, we too have a responsibility~ having given you such a stunning mandate, we need to rise above partisanship and divisive interests and support you in the immense task ahead of you.

This time around, I have a feeling you will rise to the occasion. Looking forward to a resurgent India!

Jai Hind!
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