With the Lok Sabha elections less than six months away, the significance of the results from the four States in Assembly elections are as clear as it could get. Eighty-two Lok Sabha seats were at stake in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) currently occupies 65 of them. The electoral phenomenon of BJP retaining a vast State like Madhya Pradesh and then decisively outwitting Congress in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan makes 2024 as clear as crystal.
Political analysts optimistic about the dethronement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 had started penning razor-sharp analysis whenever political sojourns like Bharat Jodo Yatra appeared. These analysts would like us to believe that fortunes could reverse for BJP in the next six months. Others would tell us that there is no connection between Assembly elections and Lok Sabha and that the I.N.D.I Alliance is ready for a one-on-one with BHARATIYA. But this misplaced optimism should be punctured by stating the obvious.
Agenda-driven Analysts Proved Wrong
Political analysts right from day one of PM Narendra Modi’s incumbency have argued for counting vote percentage and how coalition governments are better for Bharat and not a full majority Government. They have failed to admit one simple fact that Bharatiya Janata Party is a political culture and PM Modi is its chief mascot. It is a political culture which has historically defined itself with uncompromising nationalistic fervour, true secularism of Hindutva, pro-people and social justice ideals like none other. The incumbent is now the Sewak and Chowkidar, and the goals like Panch Pran and Amrit Kaal are now set for the nation as a whole, and not for a family or a dynasty. In this context, let us count just five takeaways from the Assembly election results, and see how there is no fog or smog on the highway to Delhi in 2024.
The Modi Phenomenon
We, the people of Bharat, have placed our trust in the guarantees of Shri Narendra Modi more than any other political leader today. He guarantees and then he delivers. PM Modi himself stated, “At the point where hopes start fading, Modi ki Guarantee begins.” Call it “Double engine ki Sarkar” and whatnot, the point is simple that people in the States think that having a BJP Sarkar in the State ensures that many pro-people development schemes from the Union Government will reach them without any hassle. PM Modi ensures to deliver this message loud in his unstoppable election campaigns. And when he is not on a campaign stage, he is making a strong national case on some other stage. The demos in the biggest democracy are alert, agile, and awake to know which leader is taking the country forward.
Women played a pivotal role in the resurgence of BJP, driven by new welfare measures like Ladli Behna (Beloved Sister) scheme that put money directly in their pockets
The run-up to these Assembly polls was animated by Congress and the Opposition’s call for a nationwide caste census. The Opposition was betting greatly on this gambit as a way of cutting through Hindutva. Parties, which are still breathing the early 1990s air, thought of fracturing the OBC base that has powered the BJP’s post-2014 victories in the Modi era. Obviously, this tactic had limited impact on the ground. For instance, almost one-third of Madhya Pradesh’s 230 Assembly seats were Other Backward Class (OBC)-dominated. BJP won 49 (20 more than last time) of 67 OBC-dominant seats in the State. Congress and its coterie I.N.D.I. Alliance did not realise that erstwhile and ever-expanding Kamandal has done so much for the marginalised and downtrodden—PM Vishwakarma Scheme, Mudra scheme, that any efforts towards creating a social tension by the Opposition would be crushed by the people.
Women Led from Front
These Assembly elections have once again underscored the significant role of the Mahila factor. In Madhya Pradesh, for instance 18.3 lakh women voters cast their ballots, two per cent more than last time. Women labharthees (beneficiaries) clearly played a pivotal role in the resurgence of Bharatiya Janata Party, driven by new welfare measures like the Ladli. Behna (Beloved Sister) scheme that put money directly in their pockets. Not to mention, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) under the Modi Government has surfaced as a 24k guarantee for transparency and effectiveness in governance.
BJP and the Tribals
This takeaway should concern flagbearers of social justice, who keep flagging the issues related to “crony capitalism” and whatnot to suggest how poor and marginalised tribes are suffering under the Modi Government. It became evident that tribal vote was decisively in favour of BJP. In Chhattisgarh, BJP led in 18 of 29 reserved tribal seats, in Madhya Pradesh 27 of 47 seats and in Rajasthan 11 of 25 seats. In all three States, this tribal surge reverses the traditional voting pattern in these reserved seats. The Modi Government has eight members from the community in the council of Ministers. Of the nearly 10 crore beneficiaries of the Mudra scheme, over 50 per cent are from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Class. Some 36,428 villages with ST majority are being developed as “ideal villages” and then there are schemes like Eklavya Model Schools.
No North-South Divide
Since Congress and I.N.D.I. Alliance have already proved to be a lost cause, the North-South divide has been construed as the new wedge in national unity. The divide, if any, is merely political and it was created historically by the previous governments. How many seats did the BJP win in Telangana? The vote share surged from seven per cent in 2018 to 13.88 per cent in the present Assembly polls even as its number of seats has gone up to eight. BJP’s Katipally Venkata Ramana Reddy defeated K Chandrasekhar Rao. For a party that almost never existed in the Assemblies of majority of Southern States except Karnataka, such an opening is called making in-roads.
Yes, BJP will take more time to gain a strong foothold in the South, but that does not mean there is any divide. The nationalistic fervour remains the same!