People connect with PM the communicator Demanding voters want fast growth, more jobs; banks playing spoilsport
Indian politico-socio system is complex. The recent five state assembly elections make it more obvious. People have voted for a clean polity and fast economic growth.
They have voted for Narendra Modi and they have also voted against those who had driven the states downhill. Yes, the elections have established Modi as a leader-communicator who connects with people. The elections also stated that if they have doubts about any political formation they do not mind voting against it.
It has happened in UP and Uttarakhand, where nobody could fathom the expanse of Modi wave, not even BJP workers. None dreamt win in 325 of 403 seats. It got unexpected support across caste groups. It cut into the caste base of SP and BSP. As in 2014 elections, the voting pattern in UP and Uttarakhand indicates the breaking of the stereotypes. It indicates synthesis in a complex social system. Is it a reflection of an emerging pan-India phenomenon?
Even at least small section of the minorities, particularly women voted for it. The issue of triple talaq, Ujjwala and jandhan had touched them. Possibly, various issues that spoke of social cleansing weakened the hold of the minority clergies. It demolished most minority strongholds.
It breaks the myth that Indian voters are parochial. Minorityism is still not passé. But a different thinking is emerging to the unease of votaries of divisive politics. It needs to be seen how the politics is becoming inclusive. It is a good sign if it is so. It is likely to change the politico-economic dimensions. Parochial regional parties and such national parties who align with them have to learn.
The polls also exemplified, including those in Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Orissa civic bodies, that demonetization despite causing some problems, could not be turned into a political issue though SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi trying to make it. People believed that Modi is cleaning up the economy.
The vote was not only for Modi’s BJP, it was also a rejection of a divided SP fighting an internecine war, the son deriding the father – a phenomenon Indian society abhors. It is also against a party that is family-oriented in a caste set up and had made goondaism the state culture. The party’s caste supporters also worked against the “parivarvad” leading to losing most of central UP bastions. The economic sops or laptops do not buy votes. And “family welfare” drives supporters away.
The phenomenon is no different with Mayawati’s BSP. The people had suffered equally during her regime for her extravagance, supporting a different set of bad elements and narrow vision. Minor dalit castes also shunned her.
The Congress had made a good beginning with “27 saal UP behal” slogan that summed up the poor conditions of UP.
The state has the poorest GDP growth at 5.9 percent during the past five years. By aligning with the SP (though Congress always had tacit understanding), the Congress owned up its sins and was the biggest loser. Had the Congress contested alone, they could have served UP in a different way. Even if they had doubled their strength from 28, they would have further marginalized SP.
Without a churning within, Congress would find the future a mere dream. Some of its leaders like P Chidmabaram are openly praising Modi. It should toll alarm bell.
In Uttarakhand, Congress chief minister Harish Rawat had been demolishing his compatriot. Rawat it was stated was fighting against the Congress since March 2016. The BJP was perceived as the savior for the state despite many Congressmen joining it. The vote was against misrule by an unclean chief minister.
People voted against divided houses. Akali Dal lost Punjab for misrule, nepotism, highhandedness and poor economic performance.
In Goa, the BJP had a problem as the RSS leader Subhash Velingkar launched a separate party to oppose it. It reduced the BJP strength and led to defeat of the incumbent chief minister Subhas Parsekar.
Modi connected as he touched the hearts of the poor through a number of programme. It won seats and a government in Manipur – a first for BJP.
His Holi eve speech summed up that he targeted the poor and now he would target the middle class. He may reduce taxes in the next two years. Modi says he wants all to be with him. So the middle class may have better fortunes before the Lok Sabha polls. He proved to be the tireless crusader and campaigner for the party breaking many traditions and setting new precedents.
The elections endorse the path of the Modi government though inflation at 3.65 percent is making a slow comeback.
Discontent is growing as banks are being becoming usurer. People are apparently being punished for parking their money with them. The proposed charges on withdrawals, minimum balance and transactions, may enrich the banks or not but it may prove to be politically expensive in a society that prefers to keep the money unto itself. If banks do not correct their ways and wave of unethical extortive charges they may end up slowing down the economy.
Since the days of UPA, they are mismanaging the finances. With almost Rs 12 lakh crore NPA, they have put the nation at risk.
The prime minister has to deal sternly with this phenomenon. He must breathe down the necks of PSU bank CEOs for making irresponsible statements like farmers’ loan wavers are expensive. They have virtually waved loans of every big shark. The CEOs should be told to desist from making anti-people statements. The CEOs would go scot free but the government may have to pay a heavy political price. Are the CEOs playing some others game?
The massive victories have laden BJP-led government with heavy responsibilities. They now have to ensure the growth of all these states, particularly UP and Uttarakhand. These would be showpieces for the country. Better they do, it would better for Indian polity.
The states of UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur are laggards. It is now the onerous duty of the new governments to put them on fast growth track, bring Punjab back to health and Goa on its path.
The voters are demanding. Even a small growth in agriculture and industry would earn their gratitude so would increase in jobs, happier law and order situation. People have faith in the prime minister. They believe it would be proved. And that would ensure national growth.