India Votes For A Strong Government

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has been given a decisive mandate by the 900 million plus Indian voters. For the first time in thirty five years, a single party has won 303* seats in the Lok Sabha, the House of People of the Indian government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has thus won a second consecutive term in office on the twin planks of national security and development.

The seven phase elections for constituting the 17th Lok Sabha, saw the BJP gaining all round support from the Indian voters. The party managed to make headway into states such as West Bengal and Telangana, where it had a minimal presence. The Indian opposition parties led by the Indian National Congress (INC) could not drive their point home. Also, many voters were swayed by the work done by Prime Minister Modi in the past five years.

The NDA was instrumental in launching 133 development projects in the preceding five years. Grass-root issues such as sanitation, cooking gas, proper deliverance of subsidies, opening of bank accounts for a large number of ‘unbanked’ Indians were some of the initiatives which were received positively by the Indian people.

In the area of national security, the NDA government was extremely strong-footed. A clear message was given that terrorism had zero tolerance. The Indian security forces had achieved tremendous success in fighting the menace of terrorism especially cross-border terrorism that has shown its ugly head in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Further, India’s counter strikes on the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) camps in Balakot, Chakoti and Muzaffarabad, in Pakistan occupied Kashmir; post the Pulwama terror attack was a paradigm. The Modi government was also able to secure the release of Indian Air Force Wing Cmdr. Abhinandan Varthaman, whose aircraft had crashed into Pakistani territory.

Prime Minister Modi was successful in giving a new thrust and direction to India’s foreign policy. His ‘Act East’ policy has been instrumental in developing synergies with India’s eastern neighbours. The successful end to the Doklam stand-off; deepening ties with the US, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel had captivated the Indian public.

The 2019 election is an aspirational vote. Voters irrespective of caste, religion, language and gender overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Modi rejecting caste combines. The voters aspire for a better life and believe only a leader of Mr. Modi’s stature can provide it.

Now the Indian Prime Minister has a tougher task. Poor people, having got the basics of food, cash support, house and toilet, would be more aspiring.India is entering the middle income category of countries of around $2,000 per capita income. Newly emerging consuming classes are driven by aspiration rather than feudal style dole-outs. Even less-demanding rural youth would be vying with the urban youth for employment.

Indian economy also needs a boost. The last five years have seen a benign environment where food prices recorded a modest increase. Now, a global economic slowdown seems to be looming. There are incipient signs of stress on the price front while global trade wars, may be even real wars, could break out.

The most important area the next government has to look at is creating jobs. With teeming millions, providing job to everyone is not going to be easy. Schemes like ‘skill India’ and ‘MUDRA’ loan scheme, need to be blostered. The thrust has now to be on education and manufacturing.

The tax system needs reform, as the one nation GST has been rolled out, it yet needs to be simplified still. It is going to be a tough task as people’s purchasing power has to be increased as also the government’s revenue.

The aspirations today are more than it was in 2014. Indians believe Prime Minister Modi has the resolve and the will to solve the problems and make India a leading economy. The Indian voter hopes, the in next five years India would be reaching new pinnacles.

Many world leaders including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan have already congratulated the Prime Minister and expressed their desire to work with him towards a better world order.

Script: Prof. Shivaji Sarkar, Political Commentator