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Desire for change is leitmotif

Desire for change is leitmotif
Highlights

Periphrasis, or a roundabout way of speaking or writing, is not necessary to describe the outcome of the Assembly elections to the five states in...

This is the essence of it. Those who do not understand and change along with the changing times would easily perish. The voter is changing and changing for the good. He is restless and seeks action. Clichéd campaigns won’t buy his trust. In trusting Modi on the deliverables, the much-maligned UP voter has taught a lesson to the SP-Congress combine as well Mayawati that maintaining law and order does not mean being pro-dalit or pro-Yadav while in power

Periphrasis, or a roundabout way of speaking or writing, is not necessary to describe the outcome of the Assembly elections to the five states in general or to that of the UP in particular. Saffronisation could sound like a pejorative word if used for the BJP's triumph in UP and Uttarakhand, the two key states that went to the polls in the last few weeks.

Because the leitmotif of these Assembly results is 'change.' These results will be discussed and debated and conjectured and paraphrased for quite some time in the near future if not till the next 2019 general elections. The BJP's hold over Northern India is now complete.

It has firmly entrenched in the most populous State of India in such a fashion that an entire old order has changed yielding place to the new.

In the face of her humiliating defeat soon after the results, Mayawati, has tried to reason that the victory of the BJP should be attributed to the EVMs. Her logic is that the BJP has not given a single ticket to any Muslim in the elections and, yet, won in predominantly Muslim constituencies, too. She extended the same to her party strongholds where, if in good numbers, dalits always returned BSP candidates to the Assemblies. Hence, the EVMs should have been tampered with.

Pity that Mayawati still believes in her social engineering. The BJP got twice the votes polled by the BSP and the SP put together. It only goes to show that even Yadavs and Muslims and dalits sailed with the BJP in several segments.

The young and aspirational India does not think on the lines of Mayawati any longer. Even the Muslims have rejected Mayawati comprehensively, despite the fact that she gave about 100 seats to the community and appealed to their samaj to vote for her to defeat the BJP. She could not manage entire dalits, too, to her side in these elections.

Likewise, the 'locals' as they branded themselves, Akhilesh-Rahul duo could not retain their local bases even.

In the midst of the political heat, Priyanka Wadra, pronounced, "why does UP need an adopted son. After all, it has its own two sons fighting together," asking people to vote for Akhilesh-Rahul combo and reject Narendra Modi, who maintained that he was an adopted son of UP having been elected from Varanasi.

Voters rejected her suggestion and embraced an outsider. Of course, the Chief Minister of UP had a different take altogether on the people supporting 'Gujarati asses' but even his supporters too did not digest the same it seems.

Why did the voters of UP behave the way they behaved in these elections? A semi-literate rental car driver of Delhi, Hemraj, hailing from Eastern UP, who just came back to the capital having cast his vote, asks, "Should Modi be rejected because he is not a local. What about us working here? Is Shiv Sena then right in thrashing us on the streets of Mumbai?" Common sense has eluded the SP-Congress leadership. They are not in tune with the ground reality. What the duo campaigned amounted to hate campaign and the common man rejected it.

Even on demonetisation, which had become a major campaign issue here with Akhilesh and Rahul repeatedly asking the voters whether they got Rs 15 lakh in their 'Jan Dhan' accounts because of the cancellation of the legal tenders, these 'UP ke Chore' did not get it right.

Hajarilal, a general merchant of Sahijanikala village of Mirzapur in Eastern UP, was prominently quoted by the national media when he said demonetisation had not affected him at all. He stated: “The system of giving edible oil, spices, salt and soap and other daily needs are always done in exchange of foodgrains in our shops. Even big traders who supply these articles to our shops barter them with foodgrains in the markets of Baburi (Chandauli). We do not have to go to banks to exchange our notes."

The rural economy has not come under any great distress perhaps here. In addition, the poor – be it Yadav, Muslim, Jatav, Jat, Maurya, Pasi, Koeri, Nishad etc – just enjoyed the show. When Modi announced demonetisation, they only recalled all those filmy scenes wherein the hero singlehandedly thrashes dozens of bad guys. The poor sought their own revenge against the rich. Modi did understand their psyche better than his rivals. Hence, the votes piled up in his favour cutting across the caste and the religious lines.

This is the essence of it. Those who do not understand and change along with the changing times would easily perish. The voter is changing and changing for the good. He is restless and seeks action. Clichéd campaigns won’t buy his trust. In trusting Modi on the deliverables, the much-maligned UP voter has taught a lesson to the SP-Congress combine as well Mayawati that maintaining law and order does not mean being pro-dalit or pro-Yadav while in power.

Simply put, the BJP campaign was more people-centric not slogan-centric. Punjab offers no different tale. The state suffered a lot under the misrule of the Akalis and the BJP simply could not ditch its major partner despite its wrong doings. It knew from the beginning that it was ready to sink with the Akalis and got prepared for the same. It did not waste much of its energies too on it.

Voter here did not trust Arvind Kejriwal enough despite the fact that a large number of NRIs campaigned for AAP. Kejriwal's intentions were doubtful. A prominent question making rounds was "is he planning to ditch Delhi and become CM here?" Capt Amarinder Singh tirelessly campaigned against the Akali misrule since 2008 and swung the verdict in favour of the Congress.

Absence of Manohar Parrikar from the Goa scene did affect the BJP to some extent but the gains the party made in Manipur again prove that sustained work in the political arena over the years matters. Uttarakhand Congress distanced itself from the people with its infighting more than any.

It is up to the political parties to realise that they need to transform with the changing societies. No society likes to live as ghettos. Technological changes have broken down many barriers and those are also challenging tried, tested and established practices. The argumentative youth is playing a larger role in transforming the society and it likes to seek the company and guidance of similarly sounding individuals.

If Narendra Modi keeps his word on his poll promises, he will reap the reward once again as in 2014, because, UP would once again be decisive to the overall outcome in 2019 elections.

These elections also give the required room for maneuvers in the upcoming Gujarat elections later this year. With Karnataka looking towards it already for a change, the BJP is the new pan-Indian national party now.

Power and responsibility are strange roommates. They beg to differ more often with each other and quickly desert each other's company. "Sab ke Saath Sab ka Vikas" is OK as a slogan. But becoming 'Sab ka Saathi" is difficult.

Also will be seen whether this performance now goes to embolden certain right wing forces to take on the free voices of the country in a more adroit manner. Decimation of the Opposition is one thing. Decimation of opposing thoughts is another.

Responding to Rahul Gandhi's congratulatory message, Narendra Modi tweeted "Thanks. Long Live Democracy."

Democracy means dissent too. Clash of ideas invigorates democracy. Every idea opposed to that of the ruling class need not be anti-national and no amount of development should come at the cost of freedom. Hope, at this hour of glory, the BJP leadership keeps this in mind.

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