Out of my mind: A new idea of India

The size of the BJP’s victory exceeded all expectations and takes us back to the great days of Congress dominance in UP.

Written by Meghnad Desai | Published:March 12, 2017 1:12 am
election results 2017, elections 2017, election results narendra modi, modi, PM Modi, uttar pradesh elections, UP polls, Uttarakhand polls, Manipur elections, Goa polls, Punjab polls, BJP, Congress, sp, samajwadi party, BSP, Mayawati, AAP, Arvind kejriwal, BJP victory, BJP win, india news, indian express news The Congress has survived elsewhere as a credible party. (Source: PTI photo)

The big story of March 11 is the damage done to local parties across the five states. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP, the two parties which have shared power in Uttar Pradesh for the last two terms, have been humiliated. The BSP has paid a heavy price for playing old-fashioned votebank politics. Akhilesh Yadav took a gamble on combining with the Congress by giving them 105 seats. As I had said here then, the Congress has no base left in UP. It does not have grassroots members, only candidates for seats. It has taken the SP down with itself. The size of the BJP’s victory exceeded all expectations and takes us back to the great days of Congress dominance in UP.

The Congress has survived elsewhere as a credible party. The key is the absence of the family in the campaign. Rahul Gandhi concentrating on UP helped the Congress everywhere else. Local Congress parties could breathe easy and fashion their own strategy. It was not easy. Amarinder Singh had to fight hard to retain his hold over the Punjab Congress. He returned to Punjab from the Lok Sabha and won decisively. Regional devolution may yet save the Congress from the incompetence of the Family. Of course, you never know. Rahul may take credit for Punjab and put Sidhu in charge as chief minister. Let us hope not.

The big loser in Punjab is the AAP. Arvind Kejriwal is a man in a hurry to make his party a national presence. It is premature and the voters have given him thumbs down. Goa was also an adventure for which the AAP was unready. You cannot build a national party in an amateur fashion. It requires patience and a lot of work at the grassroots to build a credible multi-state party. Now the attention will shift to the AAP’s record in Delhi and people will punish it for its juvenile theatrics. In 2019, the AAP will not be a large player.

It is the BJP which is the winner beyond all expectations. I had predicted it as the largest single party in UP but not with such a huge majority. UP being the iconic state in India’s political history, the BJP has now proved itself to be the hegemonic party across India. The baton has decisively passed from the Congress to the BJP and it will not be easy to dislodge the BJP from its perch.

Even so, notice how similar the approach of the BJP is to what the Congress used to do in its heyday. The leadership is centralised and even more personalised. Nehru, Indira Gandhi and even Rajiv Gandhi led from the front. The local leaders had walk-on parts. This is what has happened in the BJP. Goa was lost because Modi was busy in UP. Even Manohar Parrikar could not deliver.

There is now little doubt that 2019 is likely to see a return of Modi. He won in 2014 because the country needed a new Idea of India. The Congress secularism had failed to deliver the social and economic uplift of Muslims as the Sachar Report showed. Modi has brought inclusive growth across jati and religious vote banks. Growth has no jati nor a religion. If the growth rate can keep up for the next seven years, the Idea of India as a Union of all communities will gain recognition.

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  1. Z
    zizek
    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:39 am
    As much as my opinions concur with this writer, I would rather advise him not to write such intellectually shallow piece. Statements like 'had already said that', 'Modi will return in 2019', 'AAP may evaporate in 2019' etc. are things which every politically aware reasonable Indian knows. So, please either write something intellectually stimulating or else give this space to someone else!
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      ak dev
      Mar 12, 2017 at 12:38 am
      AAP can't survive as a political party for long. They will loose Delhi also in next election.
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        Toshi
        Mar 12, 2017 at 5:22 am
        tanu NO MATCH FOR FASCIST DICTATORIAL ANTIWOMAN RIGHTIST ANTILIBERAL BJP WITH SECULAR LIBERAL PROPOOR PROWOMEN N ReAlly working for preserving the consutional integrity THe congress!!! PLZ DONT B PREMATURE TO spread the praise of bjp from england sir!! educated people like me r living in this regime n seeing who is really working n who is only talking!!! there was no intolerance during congress regime n people behaved as true Indians not Hindu or Muslims!! BJP is DAMAGING INDIA n nothing else!!!
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          Toshi
          Mar 12, 2017 at 5:26 am
          tanu WILL NEVER support divisisive politics of bjp n wil work together with like minded Indians to reject this politics of hate n dictatorial atude!! very soon people wil realise wat ber they committed by going for bjp!
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            Anil
            Mar 12, 2017 at 6:49 am
            That does not seem to happening-- UP in 2014 and bigger in 2017! People are realizing their mistake all right---- about supporting the hi family for so long. That won't happen again. The same Amarinder who's done such a good job in Punjab for the Congress had to issue an ultimatum to Rahul last year to be allowed to lead the party. Otherwise it would have been the AAP in Punjab and the Congress would have splintered and died. Now it can limp along for a little more under Rahul and a disaster called Priyanka hi who masterminded the catastrophe in UP.
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              ansuman
              Mar 12, 2017 at 1:03 am
              With family politics on death bed --Modiji can move ahead with nation building.Public has shown no respect to corrupt and inept -still they all will hang around the corner ,cursing Modi, BJP and RSS. Some will change color and their political father ,other will die crying but people will rejoice and move ahead.
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                Mathews
                Mar 12, 2017 at 3:55 am
                BJP and MODI will live long and longer if they work for a PROSPEROUS BHARATH
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                  Babu Gupta
                  Mar 12, 2017 at 11:41 am
                  The first reason for BJP's landslide is Modi's charisma (includes clean image and dynamic work); second reason reason - Demonetisation which deprived corrupt parties of most of black money for election and third reason is that majority of people are fed up with the rhetoric of bogey of secularism (or vote bank politics in its name. Majority Hindus felt that secularism is against them in every respect); other reason - from family enterprise to cadre based party in politics, etc.
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                    Babu Gupta
                    Mar 12, 2017 at 11:47 am
                    With the fulfillment (or working to wards them) of election promises by Modi government and bold moves like Demonetisation and Surgical Strike, it is time to move Modi ji on very vital issues of Building Ram Temple (also in BJP's election promise), abolition of Triple Talaq and going for Uniform Civil Code to unite the country and free it from injustice and vote bank politics for ever.
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                      Antony
                      Mar 12, 2017 at 9:36 am
                      A new idea of india can happen only if Modi pursue the following actions immediatelylt;br/gt;1. Amend sonia hi's ic land aquisition laws so that we can develop our creeky infrastructure quickly.lt;br/gt;2. Amend the british era labour laws so that more companies will invest in india and more jobs can be created.lt;br/gt;3. amend ic the nuclear liability laws which penalize even part suppliers with huge liability! we can start nuclear commerce with rest of the world.lt;br/gt;4. Build up a strong military industrial complex using indian private sector to avoid spending billions in arms and to counter china and s together!
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                        Harish Kumar
                        Mar 12, 2017 at 9:14 am
                        I agree but beg to disagree too. Voters have voted for change. No delivery no vote. The voter is completely unpredictable. Let us wait and watch till next elections.
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                        1. J
                          Jeet
                          Mar 12, 2017 at 3:49 am
                          First Indira was India. Next Modi is India.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Instead of a vibrant democracy where the Prime Minister is merely first among equals we continue to be weighed down by the need for Icons.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;What next after this One Man Show ?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Can we not need to hope for a Rahul mukt Congress so that the nation remains a vibrant democracy with a capable opposition ?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;A democracy without an effective opposition will turn into an autocracy.
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                            ashok
                            Mar 12, 2017 at 6:45 am
                            Cannot understand why people vote for Modi. Either they are not intelligent enough or they do not have information. Since Modi took over as absolute majority the country has been worse off socially and economy terms. Socially we have discriminated against minorities and made india intolerant and polarised. This is not the india we know. In economic terms we have regressed with sharp fall in GDP though the new way to calculate GDP makes it appear good. We will end this year at 6.5-6.9 leaving us at the same pace when Modi took over. Remember Congress delivered 9% for 5 years as per old GDP measure making our GDP to USD2 trillion tripling the GDP since 2004 with solid contribution to ideas. Demontisetation by modi was political tool like tripple talaq which made him win UP. Unemployment is lowest for the last 20 years. Modu is creating only 1lakh jobs in a year. Compare this to MMS who created 9-12 lakhs jobs on an average a year. Modi rejected aadhar and GST which were thought of by Congress. Luckily he now embraces it. Modi is a dictator and a control freak. This is not what india needs
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                              ashok
                              Mar 12, 2017 at 7:32 am
                              Just look at facts of what is happening to our economy. Use your smarts to know that. Or are you to another hoipolloi
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                                Kg
                                Mar 12, 2017 at 10:38 am
                                Although 2019 is 24 months away, and anything can happen, but today it can be said that this election has effectively sealed 2019 election for the BJP. There is confidence out there that BJP will return to power in 2019 and it is going to have positive impact on market and economy as investor will be confident of future policy and direction.It will also propel BJP to bring in tougher reforms after notebandi. It will speed up development in UP opening up a lot of investment opportunity and starting an economic growth cycle in India's biggest state which in turn will have effect all over India.Great days ahead for the country.
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                                  Kg
                                  Mar 12, 2017 at 10:38 am
                                  PM has successfully sold capitalism in the socialism bottle.He is empowering the poor through giving them aid and means to stand up on their own feet unlike Congress and Company who gave them dole which kept them eternally poor and dependent."Give man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will fed himself and his family for life."
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                                    Murthy
                                    Mar 12, 2017 at 11:17 am
                                    Antony Bhai, lt;br/gt;I agree with your suggestions. But, on the labour laws, you will find that the most damaging legislation was ped by the Congress governments from mid-1960s to 1980s.... Not many British era laws still exist....Congress strengthened the Unions so much that in PSUs, like BSNL, employees are mostly busy agitating. They are treating their PSUs as their own patrimony !!! They should get continuous pay increases, more leave, more pension, but their productivity will remain low and haphazard.
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                                      Mahender Goriganti
                                      Mar 12, 2017 at 3:14 am
                                      All of Islamic express journos are imbecilities can't learn or change. Cast and communal politics are so ingrained into their DNA they can't write an article or news with mentioning cast or relation and communal colors.
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                                        Mohammed Yunus
                                        Mar 12, 2017 at 8:51 am
                                        There isn't any minority in India except Parsi Zoroastrians, Bohras and Catholics. With the superfast growth rate of Muslim potion in India, it is incorrect to clify them as minority. Modi is a reformist. An eg. Udwada, Gujarat, the oldest and most ancient historical Fire temple of Parsi Zoroastrians, the location was being invaded by modern buildings and domination from a particular community. BJP helped restore the sanctum sanctorum again. No TDP, AIADMK, AAM, Congress, TMC or RJD bring in UCC and ban on Trippal talaak. Everything in life is not GDP.
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                                          Niladrinath Mohanty
                                          Mar 12, 2017 at 6:08 am
                                          Ideny and vote bank politics on the way out.
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                                            Nityananda
                                            Mar 12, 2017 at 11:05 am
                                            The one point the author ignores is that the BJP lost Goa and Punjab because of misgovernance in both. Modi's presence in the campaign would not have helped. In UP, BJP won because of 20 years of poor governance from all ruling parties. The voter wanted to let BJP have a try. In case they goof up or create a mess, the LS result in UP in 2019 will not be so good.
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