Modi wave makes BJP a giant, shrinks Congress to a midget

Modi wave makes BJP a giant, shrinks Congress to a midget

In a country that saw coalition politics reigning supreme in the last two decades, the BJP’s stunning victory in the Lok Sabha elections is nothing short of a political tsunami.

Also, for a party that won just 115 out of 543 seats in 2009, to secure a mandate that it got and reach the majority mark (272) on its own, is almost a miracle. Narendra Modi who will take over as India’s new prime minister next week, has delivered victory for the party.

With this, the BJP becomes the first single party in three decades to cross the majority mark. Again, for the first time since Independence, it became the first non-Congress party to gain majority on its own. Although the Janata Party won the 1977 polls –following excesses during the Emergency -- it was a coming together of several parties which decided to fight under one banner. The best performance since 1984 till date was of the Congress in 1991 when it secured 244 seats.

The BJP’s best run hitherto was in 1998 and 1999, both times winning 182 seats. If one looks at the recent political history, there is a role reversal here: the Congress which won a massive 415 seats in 1984 riding the sympathy wave in the wake of assassination of Indira Gandhi, got reduced to under 50 in this election while the BJP, which secured a mere two seats then, won a landslide this time! The current win will mean the BJP wrests power for the fourth time at the Centre, the previous occasions being 1996 (13 days), 1998 (17 months) and 1999 when it nearly completed the term in office.

Because of all these reasons, the BJP victory becomes special and also poses it a big challenge of meeting huge expectations of the people. That Modi talked of development and inclusive growth at his victory speech at Vadodara – where he won by a huge margin of  5.7 lakh – is a positive indication in this regard.

The BJP has secured approval of the people from across the country, be it southern region or the east, where the party had done traditionally badly. Save for a few states, the BJP’s victory has come from every corner of the country and the party can now justifiably claim that it is truly a national party, giving a befitting answer to the Congress which had been chiding the right-wing party on this count all these years.

Clearly, in this sterling performance, the ‘Modi wave’ is the most discernible factor. A massive victory in the swing state of Uttar Pradesh, total sweep in Gujarat and Rajasthan as well as in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam, Chhattisgarh and commendable performances in Karnataka, Seemandhra,  besides smaller states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Goa cannot but be attributed to the Modi wave.

Record low

As for the Congress, this is a record low compared to the 114 it won in 1999 which was its worst performance hitherto. The party will take quite a long of time to come to terms with the stunning reversal. From now on, it will be an uphill task to rebuild the party.

That most of the Union ministers and other big names of the party bit the dust, that too by big margins, shows the kind of people’s anger against the century-old organisation. It is a big embarrassment for a party recently taken over by Rahul Gandhi that it cannot even be recognised as the official principal Opposition party, having failed to reach a minimum of 54 seats (10 per cent of total strength) required for such recognition.

As a result, it will have the same status as Trinamool, AIADMK and BJD in the Lok Sabha (the consolation is that it will be recognised as principal Opposition party in the Rajya Sabha.)

However, amidst the massive support for the BJP, some regional parties stood their ground. The AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, Biju Janata Dal in Odisha and Telangana Rashtra Samiti in Telangana did not allow the BJP to make inroads in their states – not that the BJP was strong by any yardstick in these states – and showed that regional parties have not lost their base amid the Modi wave. With around 100 seats, these four parties will have more than double the Congress seats in the Lok Sabha.

There may be trouble for some state governments though. Ruling JD(U) in Bihar, Congress in Uttarakhand and JMM-Congress government in Jharkhand may face uncertain future even if a handful of legislators desert them. Assam may see a new Congress CM as Tarun Gogoi has talked of resigning in the face of shock defeat of his party.

When elections are held this October-November, the Prithviraj Chouhan-led Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, Bhupinder Singh Huda’s Congress government in Haryana and the National Conference-Congress administration led by Omar Abdullah in J&K will face their severest tests.

Among the regional parties to perform poorly include: BSP, DMK and National Conference - all of which received a complete drubbing and as a result will not have a single MP in the Lower House. The Nationalist Congress Party and the Samajwadi Party also been reduced to almost non-entities. Significantly, all these parties had been closely associated with the Congress in the UPA.

The DMK, which was part of almost every government at the Centre since 1996, will not be represented in LS for the first in 20 years while the BSP goes without a single MP in the House after it made its entry in 1989. The SP and BSP provided outside support to UPA but even that proved costly! The Left Front has suffered its worst drubbing in West Bengal and its downward spiral since a high of 2004 has continued unabated.

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