Updated: March 14, 2022 9:37:43 am
March 10 proved to be a monumental day in the BJP’s journey as a party committed to ushering in a New India where the politics of development overrides the politics of differences of religion, caste and class. The BJP retained power in four states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. All the victories bear testimony to the fact that people, especially women, have unwavering faith in the leadership and vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In political contests, it is legitimate for the opposition to fight the incumbent. It is the demand of a healthy, strong, vibrant democracy. But the nature of the fight also defines the health of the opposition. In fighting the BJP, the Congress adopted a campaign of half-truths and complete lies. Whether it was politicising the concerns of some farmers over the farm laws or compromising the security of a border state, or playing politics over unfortunate rapes in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress stopped short at nothing. In doing so, however, the party lost all its leftover ideological and moral standing in the eyes of the voters. The fact that today the Congress is celebrating that the Aam Aadmi Party, and not the BJP, won Punjab after receiving probably its worst political drubbing, says something about the state of the Congress.
The Congress’ malicious campaign against the BJP stands completely rejected by the final voice in any functioning democracy—the voice of the people. That said, it is important to understand the verdict because some are still trying to downplay the BJP’s win calling it a result of polarisation.
Best of Express Premium
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has won a vote share of nearly 41.6 per cent gaining over the 39.67 per cent it received in 2017, emerging as the first party since 1985 to come to power in two consecutive elections. The rise in vote share shows that this is a pro-incumbency vote for the BJP in India’s most populous state. The AAP in Punjab has won about 42 per cent vote share in an election where people overwhelmingly wanted to throw out the Congress. Yet, the BJP is being given far less credit for its feat. The mandate for the BJP in UP shows that 2014 was no fluke. The state has in the 2017 assembly elections, 2019 Lok Sabha polls and again 2022 state elections unequivocally declared that it wants BJP’s double-engine governance.
Manipur, after the Northeastern state of Assam, has given a pro-incumbency mandate in favour of the BJP. No blockades, bombs and curfews in the state since 2017, showed the people that the BJP was there to keep its promises. Five years of peace and development left no doubts in the minds of the voters of Manipur when they reached the polling booths.
In Goa, the BJP is set to form its government for the third consecutive time. In Uttarakhand, the BJP has broken the jinx of an incumbent never being able to return to power with a clear majority.
There is no doubt that in Punjab, the BJP needs more time and more effort to build itself up.
The message for political parties from the people is clear: New India has no time to waste on the politics of dynasty, caste, religion and opportunistic alliances. New India wants new ideas and a government with the right intent to keep the country firmly on the path of growth and development. When Modi assumed charge as prime minister in 2014, he spelt out the larger agenda of the government, which promised pro-poor policies.
About eight years down the line, beneficiaries of government schemes in every nook and corner of India are speaking up. Even as some sections try to mute their voices, the beneficiaries are speaking through their ballot. TV cameras on the ground this election season reported how people thanked the government for free ration, pucca houses, money received in their accounts under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, social reforms and not compromising on its ideological moorings of cultural nationalism. The BJP, as PM Modi stated, is working towards 100 per cent saturation of all welfare schemes unleashing the full potential of Digital India.
In the 75th year of independence, PM Modi has set the nation on a path to reinvent itself.
The “Amrit Kaal” that he talked about is not a promise set far in the future. It is a work in progress, the benefits of which have started rolling out giving the poor and marginalised a quality and dignity of life that other parties served only as poll-talk tokenism.
The Indian electorate believes that this Amrit Kaal is a reality, which India under PM Modi and the BJP is well on course to achieve. The electorate believes in the honesty of BJP’s efforts and it shows in the results.
This column first appeared in the print edition on March 14, 2022 under the title ‘A Pro-Incumbency Mandate’. The writer is Union Cabinet Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Labour and Employment. He is also the author of The Rise of The BJP
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.