Election 2024: Message in the Mandate

The message of the mandate is crystal clear: ignore burning issues at your own peril; and more than that: never dream of making democracy opposition-free. This is what the slogan “abki baar 400 paar” perhaps tried to convey but it has remained just a rhetoric though the party think tank believes that minus the slogan, complacency would have set in to make the mandate even more daunting.  The message is that you can’t take voters for guranteed when there are unresolved issues like unemployment, inflation, Agniveer, farm sector unrest and show of the State might. The biased predictions for exit poll exposed most mainstream media and psephologists, and led to a bloodbath at stock markets while the Rupee saw the largest fall in 15 months. Indeed, the NDA has overcome the shock given by the INDIA block and formed the government at the Centre albeit with the support of regional satraps like N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been catapulted from political obscurity to the pivotal role along with Nitish Kumar, to keep the government intact.  

But some reversals can’t take away the gains as the BJP has done well in Odisha, made major inroads in the South, and swept Delhi, Himachal, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh.  However, the setback in Uttar Pradesh must have left it shell-shocked. The most shocking is the drubbing it received in Faizabad, the home of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya where the Samajwadi Party-Congress combine turned the tables on the BJP with a remarkable performance. The PM’s own depleted victory margin in Varanasi as against over four lakh in 2019 would worry the party.  Maharashtra too had surprises in store.  In West Bengal, the iconic leader, Mamata Banerjee, with her astute political wisdom, further consolidated her standing.  For the BJP, there were losses in Rajasthan and Haryana too while it lost a seat each in Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. Bihar, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh showed support for NDA.

Clearly, the country now is in no danger of becoming opposition-free. Also, the mandate has dispelled doubts over the EVMs and the credibility of an institutions like the Election Commission of India. The mandate is sure to keep the government on its toes not only because of its allies but also because of a strong Opposition. It would be for the first time since he became the Gujarat CM in 2001 that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be running a government without a full majority and his hands would be tied as he would be dependent on its NDA allies. There is also a message in RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s utterances after polls, where he stressed the need for humility and consensus. It shows that Sangh is not on the same page with BJP as far as the ideological path is concerned.  Yet it is too early to say that INDIA is blooming and Lotus is wilting!