As the curtains fall upon the intense drama during the
Competition Back Again:
First, three Hindi heartland states have voted out the ruling BJP and brought in the main opposition party Congress albeit with a close fight in two, while the remaining two voted out or restrained Congress and upheld the main regional forces. So, the nation is neither Congress-
Chastened Ruling Party:
Second, the defeat of BJP in three Hindi heartlands and earlier in Karnataka to form government and in Gujarat forming a labor government are very strong warnings for the ruling party, its Modi-Shah leadership and the cadre at the grassroots that victory is not a given in 2019 and Brand Modi has its weaknesses, albeit with the strengths of a decisive leader. Working hard on the ground, putting the organization on a strong footing, greater coordination with the RSS and its mass fronts and a democratic multi-leader face of the party shall be some aspects in BJP ahead. No wonder talks have started on projecting Nitin Gadkari as the alternative leader shouldBJP fall short of 200 seats in Lok Sabha in 2019, as a Plan B.
Congress Progressed, but Yet Weak:
Third, while this is the best moment for Congress, more sofor its president Rahul Gandhi exactly one year after he took over the reins ofthe party, there is also the humbling factor of a weak victory in MP (lowervotes, higher seats) and Rajasthan (in spite of an extremely unpopularincumbent state government), and the fact that the electorate still is not asdisenchanted with the Central as they were with the state governments,especially in Rajasthan (as proven by the Outlook-Lokniti-CSDS post electionpoll in these states). So, Congress, which managed to put up a joint fight, hasa long way to go at the grassroots connecting every family, mindful of the factthat the three states have surely voted against BJP and not necessarily for Congress. That’s good news for a competitive democracy.
Aggressive Hindutva on Backfoot:
People’s Issues at the Forefront:
Fifth, and the best
Minorities Back in the Reckoning:
Sixth, there is the return of the largest minority, the Muslims, in the political narrative of the nation, which is the home to the second largest number of Muslims in the world. The BJP ignored them politically in the last half a decade, and Congress avoided them lest they are dubbed pro-minority, though used them electorally behind the back. With regional forces holding
Seventh, BJP has gone all out to consolidate Dalits and tribal electorate across the country and had reaped huge same in the last general elections of 2014. The MP loss and the implosion of BJP in Chattisgarh show that this is not a given anymore. Hindi heartland slow shift of SC and ST voters towards the opposition was seen in all the bye-polls in UP lost by BJP, and the state assembly polls in Gujarat, MP, Chattisgarh
Allies in Alliances Stronger:
Eighth, a return to strong alliances rather than strong leaders’ run governments is the reality of the moment. Modi led NDA has lost 12 allies over the last 50 months, and gained just one officially (JDU) and have a few
Populism & Relief Measures:
Ninth, we can see a spate of populist budgets, both by the Centre and the state governments, in early 2019 in this election year. Populism in the form of loan waivers, unemployment stipends, free amenities in health
Institutions & Media Neutrality:
Tenth, and finally, in a situation of keen contest with chances being even on both the sides, the media, the Police, the election machinery usually go by the books, maintaining neutrality and balance as they are not too sure as to who comes to power. Power always corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But the power dynamics in 2019 elections will have some equilibrium of sorts, which in fact will work towards a fairer elections.