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PM’s rule in UP

His is a great achievement and a generous mandate. The burden of expectations is also on him.

By: Editorial |
Updated: March 13, 2017 12:27:18 am

Election Results 2017, Elections 2017, UP results 2017, BJP UP, Narendra Modi UP, Punjab UP, Akhilesh Yadav UP, BJP election results, India news

The performance of the Narendra Modi-led BJP in the states that went to polls, except in Punjab, and with the clean sweep of Uttar Pradesh its highlight, is a defining political moment. It stamps Modi’s supremacy in the BJP, and establishes the BJP’s dominance as the polity’s primary pole. It forces the BJP’s political opponents back to the drawing board, to rethink and reimagine themselves if they can. But most of all, it casts an enormous responsibility on Modi’s party. At the Centre, and now in India’s most politically crucial state as well, the BJP appears to have no real opposition to keep it on its toes, or call it to account. As exhilarating as this must be for the party, it must also bring on a sobering acknowledgement of the great burden of expectations on it — and the challenges in meeting them that lie ahead.

Despite the quickening in infrastructure building and the multiplying of targeted schemes and programmes in the Akhilesh Yadav regime, UP is seen to be a laggard state. More than other states, UP frames the dead-ends of an identity politics that is exhausted of its radical charge, and more importantly, one that is not linked with the larger political economy of development or integrated with a broader agenda of growth. At the same time, the people of UP, and especially its young, across communities and castes, are increasingly impatient for jobs, a more enabling environment, a better life. It will now be Modi’s task to address these fast rising aspirations — this mandate was won in his name and whoever is appointed as chief minister will inevitably be seen as the prime minister’s nominee. A mandate as rich and generous as this one also sets Modi another task. Having consolidated the BJP’s traditional bases and strongholds, but more than that, having reached out to castes and classes that were not previously seen to belong in its fold — be it the non-Jatav Dalit groups, the non-Yadav OBCs or the poor among all castes — the PM must now prod his party to reach out to the one community it did not give a single ticket to in this election.

The prime minister himself has spoken of how the common enemy for all, Hindus and Muslims, is poverty and illiteracy, joblessness and disease. He has emphasised that both communities have to fight these together rather than fight each other. In his victory speech on Sunday, he spoke not just of “bahumat” (majority) but also of “sarvamat” (unanimity). The BJP’s government, he said, is for all — for those who voted for the party and equally for those who didn’t. The Lucknow mandate, and the enormous political capital it brings, gives the BJP an opportunity — like never before — to set an agenda that can address shared needs and hopes, and that does not exclude any one of the castes and communities of UP.

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First published on: 13-03-2017 at 12:27:01 am
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