The voter’s new religion

The people want development. And corruption-free governance. That’s the message from Uttar Pradesh

Written by M Venkaiah Naidu | Published:March 16, 2017 12:05 am
BJP, uttar pradesh, uttar pradesh election, assembly election results, bjp victory uttar pradesh, uttar pradesh mandate, venkaiah naidu, venkaiah naidu column, indian express columns C R Sasikumar

The historic mandate in Uttar Pradesh is a watershed moment in India’s electoral history. The poisonous cocktail of caste and communal politics was swept away by the Modi tsunami, with the BJP’s landslide victory stunning political pundits and media commentators alike. Coming within months of the revolutionary decision to ban high-value currency notes, which many sceptics prophesied would lead to an electoral debacle for the BJP, the stupendous victory showed that the people are with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his war against black money and corruption. Demonetisation received a huge thumbs-up, even though it was disruptive in the sense that it caused some temporary inconvenience.

The verdict from Uttarakhand, and more particularly Uttar Pradesh, is a clear negation of the vote bank politics of the BJP’s opponents, and a complete endorsement of the development agenda of the NDA government. By shunting out non-performing governments, the voters sent out a clear message — perform or perish. The BJP’s performance is all the more remarkable in the backdrop of the pronounced caste-ridden politics in Uttar Pradesh, the state’s backwardness and in terms of the sheer number of its constituencies. Because of its geographical and demographic spread, the UP elections were a major test for demonetisation.

The verdict showed that the charisma of Modi, the meticulous political planning and social engineering by BJP president Amit Shah and the slew of pro-poor, pro-farmer and pro-women schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana and Ujjwala Yojana have endeared the BJP to the electorate. People want good governance and development and believe that Modi alone can deliver, especially in the wake of a scam-free, corruption-free administration since the NDA assumed office in 2014.

The mindless opposition to demonetisation by various political parties, the attempts to openly appease minorities by depicting the BJP as a bogeyman, the lack of development, rampant corruption, absence of law and order, discrimination against a section of the people by the administration, the sidelining of SP patriarch, Mulayam Singh, the distasteful personal attacks on the prime minister, the inexperience of leaders of the SP-Congress alliance in contrast to the credibility and experience of PM Modi, are among the major factors that contributed to the BJP’s landslide win in UP.

The attempts by the BJP’s political rivals to create social tensions on university campuses, provoke some groups to launch agitations for reservations or strike fear in the minds of traders in the wake of demonetisation have all boomeranged. This is borne out by the fact that the youth, Jats and the business community clearly voted for the BJP.

The election verdict was a severe indictment of the opportunistic alliance of the SP and Congress, and a total rejection of the unscrupulous tactics of the BSP. The SP was handed one of its worst humiliations and was reduced from 224 seats in 2012 to 44 seats this time. The BSP and Congress are on the verge of extinction with the former securing 19 seats and the latter not able to touch double digits with only seven seats.

After having castigated the SP’s misrule and announcing Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate, the Congress party’s unprincipled embrace of the SP and the claim that “UP ko yeh saath pasand hai” (UP favours this alliance) to checkmate the BJP proved to be a disaster for both parties. People also sent out the message that they want governments that deliver, not governments that work for family dynasties. The opportunistic stand adopted by the Congress, SP and BSP on major issues like triple talaq, surgical strikes and the open support by some of these parties to separatists and ultra-left Maoists seeking the disintegration of India have also contributed to the BJP’s victory. The perception that the SP was indulging in obstructionist politics by not fully cooperating with the NDA government at the Centre was also a factor that led people to support the BJP.

With the negative tactics adopted by the Congress, SP and BSP in blocking progressive legislation, like the GST Bill in Parliament, also not going down well with the people, the verdict will now pave the way for ensuring a smooth passage of PM Modi’s development agenda in the Rajya Sabha in the future. The BJP’s political rivals, rather than gracefully accepting the historic verdict, are stooping to a new low by making baseless allegations that the EVMs were tampered with. The Election Commission, of course, has rebutted these charges. The defeat of the SAD-BJP in Punjab due to anti-incumbency showed how meritless the charge is.

Another remarkable achievement of the BJP in this round of elections was the expansion of its footprint in the Northeast. After making huge inroads in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the vote share of the BJP has increased from 2.12 per cent to 36 per cent in Manipur. In Goa, though the BJP secured less seats than the Congress, the party secured 31.6 per cent votes as against 26 per cent for the Congress. It should be noted that the BJP’s former partner, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, polled 11.6 per cent votes. The vote share went up from 15 per cent to 39.7 per cent in UP and from 33 per cent to 46.5 per cent in Uttarakhand. In all, the BJP secured a higher percentage of votes than its opponents in four states, while the vote share was reduced in Punjab due to anti-incumbency.

The results of these “semi-final” polls show that people want to go with Modi for faster development and corruption-free governance. It is evident that there is a new hunger among the people for development. The BJP has emerged as a common man’s pan-India party, with a nationalist outlook. My final conclusions are that development has emerged as the new religion and real social identity of the people. With this new religion, Prime Minister Modi has unified the country. Dynasty-based politics will soon become passé. The reforms process will receive a huge fillip and the obstructionist tactics of our opponents in the Rajya Sabha will lose steam. The NDA will definitely have a smoother process for the presidential elections. The ultimate message here is that people clearly want Modi for one more term.

 

The writer is Union minister for urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation, and parliamentary affairs

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  1. O
    Onkar Singh
    Mar 16, 2017 at 4:36 am
    Mr. Naidu must remember as long as he lives he will have to live with " corruption" and " inefficient" governance, otherwise he is not living in India ,that is, Bharat Mata.Our Mythology is fool of stories of underhand means,which are ped on the next generation as wisdom of being practical things to take life forward.And those underhand means are a part of our cultural roots.So corruption gets ingrained in our character building.lt;br/gt;Modern democratic norms based on ethical practices are just not a part of our ethos."Sab Chakra hai bhai".The day you (Politicians) stop interfering in the day to day affairs of the administration and you karyakartas stop flaunting their closeness to Politicians,till then "corruption" will have a free run.With "No semblance of any Governance" so to speak of.
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    1. O
      Onkar Singh
      Mar 20, 2017 at 7:22 am
      What about Vyapam? Forgotten?
      Reply
      1. J
        Joseph
        Mar 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm
        Will the BJP control TN one day Naidu?
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        1. K
          Kuldeep
          Mar 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm
          Sir, the simpler. Laws you make with minimum loop s and minimum fines and minimum prosecutions, the corruption shall be minimised. The more stringent laws will increase maximum amount of corruption! Can u understand the psyche of government servants?
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          1. I
            Indian by
            Mar 16, 2017 at 4:33 am
            This is the great example of saffronization of Indian Politics.
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            1. A
              ak dev
              Mar 16, 2017 at 11:10 am
              Opposition whose only strategy has been the caste arithmetic and religious divisions would not understand the aspirations of young Indians. So far opposition has opposed Modi's development agenda that has not gone down well with people. In their zeal to oppose Modi, opposition has put themselves along with the corrupts. It will be a miracle if opposition start working for development and corruption free India.
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                a_D
                Mar 16, 2017 at 7:44 am
                UP elections shows....lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;1) that 60% potion voted against Modilt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;2) that Mayawati has no option but to join with akhilesh and Rahul in the final round of 2019..... the interest of her survival.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;3) that Modi is the Mr. Natwarlal of politics
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                  ashok s
                  Mar 16, 2017 at 12:03 am
                  Now another minister doing blah blah. The non functional govt , broken apps like namo app, jaago Grahak jaago etc . what e sarkar is this .
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Avinash
                    Mar 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm
                    So why BJP lost to congress in Goa and Punjab?
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                    1. D
                      Dr.Damodar Biswal
                      Mar 16, 2017 at 6:58 am
                      Corruption at the higher level has been drastically reduced but corruption at the lower level continues as it was.No scam or any corrupt practice by any minister or BJP functionaries has been reported so far.Mr.Naidu should ensure that corruption at the lower level is removed.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        Antony
                        Mar 17, 2017 at 5:14 pm
                        It is true that people want development that is why people believe modi and vote for bjp.but unfortunately Sanghis has another agenda which is totally different from that of Modi and wants to talibanize the country . Beef laws enacted by various bhp govt is an example of what is going to come! It is high time international community declare Sanghis as a terrorist organisation and united nations put sanction and travel ban on their leaders so that a future genocide can be avoided in India!
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                        1. R
                          rishi
                          Mar 16, 2017 at 11:36 am
                          Good Work, Mr. Naidu. Team BJP earns greater trust and confidence of the people.
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                          1. R
                            rishi
                            Mar 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm
                            why not ?
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                              Ivan
                              Mar 16, 2017 at 2:12 am
                              As you say, that is about the sum of it.
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                              1. I
                                Ivan
                                Mar 16, 2017 at 2:09 am
                                The message from the elections Sir, is that the BJP will resort to cr populism, inducting ambitious former Congress politicians denied tickets for one reason or another, make promises that had the Congress made them will immediately be be tagged as fiscally irresponsible by your sycophants in the press, bring in criminals for street theatre, in short do anything to win. I believe the Congress has got that message. Which is why the Karnataka CM has promised everything in his Budget. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;But I hope very much that your party will finally build the Ram Mandir and spare us further melodrama.
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                                1. S
                                  sunny
                                  Mar 16, 2017 at 12:53 am
                                  Were we can see development. Of course so many promises are in Q and if some of them translated to action then it is OK. Today's news Rs1.9Lakh additional cess got from oil. Many major state were ruled by BJP for decades, survey states that India stood one among the most corrupt country, and these people are going on preaching that as a corruption free
                                  Reply
                                  1. K
                                    Kumar
                                    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm
                                    No body will trust this () hatemonger. BJP rigged the election and won.
                                    Reply
                                    1. M
                                      mra
                                      Mar 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm
                                      I agree with the with the writer that people want development and corruption free governance that's why people of Punjab rooted out BJP backed government in Punjab.
                                      Reply
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                                        norbert
                                        Mar 16, 2017 at 4:06 am
                                        Yes Mr. Naidu the people want development. But then your idea of development only consists of building the Ram Mandir and sending the minorities to stan.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Modi's words talk of development for all (sabka vikas) but his actions are to suppress and punish anyone who critiques his government.
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                                          PS
                                          Mar 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm
                                          Mr Naidu, it is interesting to see a leader like you who once questioned the Vajyapayee s personal pority has now started praising Namo for each and everything. It seems an individual is much larger than a party. U only questioned this somewhere in 2005. lt;br/gt;As far as development model of bjp is concerned, whether it also includes politics of Samshan...can we expect some clarity on this matter.
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                                            Ramesh ahuja
                                            Mar 16, 2017 at 7:00 am
                                            Same is required in Bengal and Kerala.
                                            Reply
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