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Where Narendra Modi has lost out.

 Modi’s defeat brings into question why Hindus have abandoned the ship of BJP in this 2024 General Election? When Muslims have been tactically voting against Modi, why did Hindus join hands with Muslims to give hitherto the biggest jolt to Narendra Modi who was emerging as a Saviour of Hindu Community, which has been increasingly losing its space in the landscape of Bharatvarsha?

Vivekanand Jha Ranchi: A couple of years ago, I was closeted with the editor of Indian Express. As the conversation progressed, the erudite editor informed me, which was simply a revelation to me: ‘ During Ataljee’s time, Indian Express had conducted a detailed investigation on the allotment of Petrol pumps to the kith and kins of BJP leaders. The outcome of our investigation was severely indicting: the petrol pumps we found, were allotted to BJP leaders’ kiths and kins. Significantly, taking cognizance of our detailed investigation report, Ataljee, the then Prime Minister, had annulled the allotment’. The editor had exhibited happiness at the prime minister’s ethical move which vindicated his vision of raj dharma which saw no discrimination between so- called partisan interest of a political party and those dubbed as outsiders. The lesson of Rajdharma, which the then Prime Minister had preached to the then chief minister of Gujarat, the incumbent prime minister, was based on his own scrupulous practice, the instance of the same was given as aforesaid, had eloquently resonated with the fellow compatriots. Ataljee, even after he left the world, scores of his glorious deeds continue to reverberate across the length and breadth of the landscape of Bharatvarsha. In fact, what Ataljee was seeking to emphasise upon, was the fact that a king should transcend the sense of ‘ otherness’ when he governs the kingdom; neither anyone is his own, nor anyone is otherly: everyone is another man or woman to him.

Narendra Modi during campaigning

In contemporary times, the zeal with which Narendra Modi has pursued the cases of corruption within the polity, is simply exemplary, yet, gradually, as the process of entrapping the opposition leaders on the charges of corruption progressed, the apparent anomalies in the same was highly discernible: The opposition en block was considered as the bunch of corrupt dynasts looting the public exchequer for their personal aggrandizement. Interestingly, the agencies like ED, CBI, Income tax– all were let loose upon the opposition leaders, yet, surprisingly though, none of the BJP leaders were found to be guilty of corruption. Worse still, those facing the charges of corruption, if they joined BJP, overnight such allegations vanished in the thin air. Unequivocally, the sarcastic reference of ‘ Washing Machine’ by way of collective ire of opposition, befittingly sticks with Modi government’s partisanship in slapping such charges on opposition. Notwithstanding, the mountains of cash being recovered from the flats of the tainted leaders–Partha Chatterjee, the former education minister of West Bengal, being one such example–the gravity of the offence simply failed to tangibly impact the people by and large, as it is self- manifest in the outcome of the West Bengal electoral verdict. Also, the scores of opposition leaders of different political parties like Manish Sisodiya, Arvind Kejriwal, Satyaprakash Jain, Hemant Soren, K. Kavitha and others being behind the bars, while none of the BJP leaders, far from being behind the bars, was not even brought within the purview of investigation, and those facing heat of such charges of corruption, in the wake of joining BJP, such charges evaporated in no time, like S.B. Chavan from Maharashtra, stoked a deep resentment within the hearts of the people of India. No wonder the people began suspecting that Modi government had the hidden agenda of destroying Opposition, for the sake of establishing a totalitarian regime in the country. Thus the brewing resentment translated into votes for the opposition in West Bengal and other states

Modi for the third time: Narendra Modi elected as the leader of NDA in Delhi after the General election of 2024.

Ram Mandir, the pet agenda of BJP, which, ironically though, evaporated by the time election approached, was the fail nail in the coffin of BJP ambitious target of winning 370 seats. Regrettably, the people of Ayodhya did not appear to buy the enthusiasm of the prime minister and his party that the liberation of Ram Lala temple, which was the bane for Hindus, for almost five hundred years, deserved a thumbs up for BJP landslide victory. In a shocking reversal of BJP’s high expectations, the inhabitants of Ayodhya nursed grouses of their own: the foisting of Laloo Singh, a candidate they deeply resented, along with the upcoming modernisation of Ayodhya, where they resentfully felt, the locals were ignored in the process of reconstruction of the town. Worse still, the people perceived that Sri Ram temple in Ayodhya, had more to do with politics than with the place of worship. They felt that prime minister was grandstanding on the issue which was not a political one. Moreover, Kasi, the constituency of Prime Minister, where the scale of victory was inordinately thin–Modi won by just 1, 50, 000 votes—the brewing resentment was the invasion of Gujarati contractors and business men in the process of construction, the lack of job opportunities for the youth, the escalating cost of living. Thus the people who could write obituary for Ataljee’s government just for the sake of rise in the price of onion, could have shown the large heartedness in embracing Modi on the same issue, was like anticipating a mirage in the desert.

Modi with Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar, the duo who will play pivotal role in the new government.

Kapil Dev, India’s famous cricketer who had won the World Cup in 1983, had famously said, ‘ There is no short cut to success’. Unfortunately, BJP had ignored its own long term struggles for short term success. Thus the winnability factor which swayed the BJP leaders into banking upon the political turncoats at the expense of their own long term workers, did the party in. Banking upon the imports from the Congress Party, BJP discounted the strength of its own cadres, while overwhelmingly banking upon the charisma of Narendra Modi for giving them an outright victory. Whereas the fact cannot be denied that Modi is a global brand, yet over dependency and over exposure of its global brand, caused humongous damage to BJP when it came to converting the popularity of Modi into winning seats. Worse still, a cold war breaking out within the BJP leadership where factionalism existed in BJP to sabotage the brand Modi from inside, had its pitiable fallouts in the outcomes of the general election of 2024. Worse still, the rumour gaining currency about removing Yogi Adityanath from the chief minister’s chair of Uttar Pradesh, by the Modi- Shah leadership, too gained currency. This had severely alienated the voters of Uttar Pradesh from voting for Modi. Moreover, the crass rejection of candidates of almost 35 candidates –all new in UP, submitted by Yogi Adityanath, lest the latter would become more powerful candidate for the prime ministerial post, amounted to a political hara- kiri. The same yardstick was applied to weaken Shivrajsingh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh. Unequivocally, no alternate power centre was allowed to grow within the BJP, lest it would challenge the dominance of Modi- Shah, engendered many factions within the BJP. Also, the caste consideration was not calibrated the way Akhilesh Yadav could master at his end–his carefully nurtured caste portfolio for candidates worked magic for him, while BJP languished at the periphery. Further, the castes alienation from BJP–especially Rajputs and Jats–significantly contributed towards the BJP’s loss in Uttar Pradesh. Besides, while Modi- Shah- Yogi Adityanath toiled in conducting rallies and roadshows, the BJP cadres remained far less enthused: there was seldom any initiative taken by the BJP workers to communicate about the Party’s achievements during the last ten years. Apparently, RSS’ dormant role, throughout the election campaign, never went unnoticed– if RSS had played an active role, despite all vulnerabilities, BJP could have secured 300 seats.

Ironically, while BJP prized upon its own Modi brand, Rahul Gandhi, buoyed by his Bharat Jodo’ Abhiyan, had an exposure to the grassroots; he knew the situation across the country while the BJP leaders cooled their heels in the cushy A.C. rooms. No wonder the huge improvement of tallies in the Congress Party, owed to Rahul Gandhi’s intimate acquaintance with the grassroots, which enabled him to pitch the issues like unemployment, social and communal divides with greater elan. Besides, the scheme of Agniveer, which has caused deep resentment in several states, was eloquently highlighted by Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh, resonating deeply with the youth. In fact, with the benefits of hindsight, Rahul and Akhilesh, have understood the pulse of UP, Rajasthan and Haryana, more than the B.J.P leaders. This apart, the brewing resentment among tribals in Jharkhand, especially the malicious efforts of BJP to strangle tribal leadership by putting Hemant Soren to jail, strongly resonated with tribals: The defeat of Arjun Munda, Samir Uraon, Sita Soren on this ground, is the vindication of BJP losing its image in the hearts of tribals. All said and done! The verdict of 2024 election is for the NDA, a pre- poll alliance, which surely has its own share of contradiction: both Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar are the vulnerable points of this upcoming new government which is to be formed on Sunday, 9th June 2024. Significantly, Narendra Modi has the rich experience of running the majority government –both in Gujarat as the chief minister, and as a prime minister of India for almost a decade. However, his real political acumen is on test now onward when he will be running the coalition government. Naturally, many of the core agendas of BJP will be relegated to the backburner. The deep commitment of the BJP to secure the future of Hindus, now will have to wait for another five years for BJP to gain majority. As of now, it is only the political expediency which will be the pivot for running a coalition government. Unequivocally, India has once again returned to the era of coalition politics of 1990’s where pulls and pressure, rather than nationalism, will be the underlying objective of governance. Hence against the backdrop, Modi has to don the role of Vajpayee to ensure the continuity of NDA rule for the next five years. However, irrespective of the tenure of this government, one thing is clear: The verdict of 2024 is the mandate for Bharat once again losing to India, the very resurrection of the former, which has hardly begun in 2014, will once again take the back seat in this newly emerging coalition era where BJP has emerged with 240 seats, falling short of 32 seats of simple majority.

Vivekanand Jha, author of Delhi Beckons: RaGa for NaMo, 56 Inches and The Making of Narendra Modi, Unmaking of Jawaharlal.

Vivekanand Jha, Àuthor, Academician and a Public Intellectual.

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