×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
A reality check for BJP, a boost for the Opposition

A reality check for BJP, a boost for the Opposition

One bows down to the wisdom, foresight and political acumen of Indian voters. They are the true heroes of this election.

Follow Us :

Last Updated : 05 June 2024, 03:44 IST
Last Updated : 05 June 2024, 03:44 IST
Comments

The voters of India have once again asserted their collective voice! They have responded categorically to the promises and assurances made by the political players of different political hues. Major political parties and alliances have both positive takeaways as well as important lessons to reflect upon. 

There are four important takeaways from this historic electoral verdict. Firstly, after two Lok Sabha polls in which the ruling party had enjoyed comfortable majorities, we are back to a Lok Sabha with no party securing a majority. The BJP has emerged as the single-largest party in the new Lok Sabha and its pre-poll alliance has secured a majority. The BJP has secured 80% of the seats within the NDA and is clearly the dominant player in that alliance. The I.N.D.I.A collection of parties is around 60 seats behind the NDA. Here, the Congress accounts for less than half the alliance, with the non-Congress parties in the alliance together having higher numbers than the Congress. The circle of numbers is complete with the ‘others’ shrinking to less than 20 seats. Thus, a mixed mandate from the voter in 2024, reflecting the diversity of opinions and preferences. 

Secondly, this election asserts a point that appeared to have been forgotten for long. This election result witnesses the resurfacing of an earlier phenomenon -- ‘states as the centre of Indian politics’. Look at the five different results in the five states south of the Vindhyas -- the BJP gets a majority of the seats in Karnataka, it shares an equal number with the Congress in Telangana, a three-party alliance sweeps Andhra Pradesh, the DMK-led alliances secured a majority of seats in Tamil Nadu and the Congress-led UDF has the upper hand in Kerala. In each of the five states, the verdict was dictated by distinctly state-level  political factors. The national parties, the BJP and the Congress, had to dovetail their electoral strategies to the local realities. 

The same trend holds good for a cluster of states in North India – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. A distinctly different electoral result in each of the four states is patently visible. This Lok Sabha election has once again placed the states of India at the centre of politics. 

The role of states is also seen when one takes a closer look at the verdict. There are clear indications that key parties made inroads in new territories yet saw states which were earlier their fortresses slipping from their grasp. If the BJP has fallen short of a majority, the verdicts in three states (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra) were largely the principal cause. In Congress’ recovery, its strong performance in Punjab, its building and working a coalition in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala were key factors. State-based parties like the Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam and Trinamool Congress coming up with a creditable performance made them key players in shaping the 2024 verdict. 

Thirdly, this election provides enough proof of the earthly political sense of the Indian voter. In the run up to this election, one heard the point being made that this election evoked very little interest as the result was apparently a foregone conclusion. The assumption was that the ruling party was returning to power. The debate was on the intensity of the mandate. Projections of 370 for the ruling party and 400+ for their alliance were made. As each round of polling ended, and the mood of the voter became more apparent, the slogan was put on the backburner, to be revived again in the end. The Indian voter has brought back the coalition, albeit with more restrained numbers. The voter has also underscored the need for a strong and robust Opposition (we did not have a recognised opposition party in the Lok Sabha for the last decade), through the verdict. A reality check for the ruling party and a boost to the Opposition was conveyed by the Indian electorate. 

Finally, the 2024 verdict would require the BJP to work a very different coalition as compared to the one it nominally maintained over the last decade. While there is a lot of talk of parties moving across alliances, it must also be conceded that any such steps, in the light of voter response to the coalition gymnastics in Maharashtra, could be politically counter-productive. 

There is the 1999 and 2009 precedent of the President inviting a pre-election coalition to form a government without mandating a trial of strength on the floor of the House. The forming of a coalition government after this election could very much see new trends. The BJP’s allies in the NDA would not be satisfied with a notional representation, as they had to make do with in the past. While the BJP is adept at political negotiations, one is likely to see a lot of back and forth before any understanding is reached on the formation of the government. 

Elections are great political levelers. The 2024 elections would be cited as a classic example in this regard. One bows down to the wisdom, foresight and political acumen of Indian voters. They are the true heroes of this election. 


(The writer is a political scientist and Director-Academics, NITTE Education Trust, Bengaluru)

ADVERTISEMENT

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT