Gloating over his triumph in the 2019 General Election and winning 303 seats in the Lok Sabha for the BJP alone and 353 for the National Democratic Alliance, Modi is set to start his second term as India’s supreme leader.
THE Narendra Modi juggernaut has swept most of India and he promises new commitments of people’s all-round welfare. Gloating over his triumph in the 2019 general election and winning 303 seats in the Lok Sabha for the BJP alone and 353 for the National Democratic Alliance, he is set to start his second term as India’s supreme leader.
The 16th Lok Sabha has been dissolved and the President has invited Mr. Modi to form his new Government by May 30, to be sworn in at Rashtrapati Bhawan and not in the forecourt, as in 2014 in the presence of South Asian leaders and a very large gathering. Exit polls had indeed given him a thumbs-up sign, but the landslide victory turned out to be larger than his expectations. What is it that worked for the BJP? Was it the promises kept or promises reiterated in this year’s election manifesto of the party? He proposes to start his second term with a 1,000-day agenda, reaching the 75th Independence Day in 2022 by creating a new India and hope of sending an Indian into the space. A strong emphasis on meeting the aspirations of the poor through “Antodya” (uplift) is proposed to be continued as the Government claims to have benefited 220 million people in the past five years. The larger issues of clean Government are bound to come up in the minds of the voters.
Has the Lokpal, appointed recently and sworn in, start working effectively? His august office as Ombudsman with eight judicial and executive members and their staff would have been allotted about 100 vacant rooms in the prestigious in Ashoka Hotel of New Delhi with much unused accommodation for working space. Will the Lokpal be the top forum to promote honesty and probity at the highest levels of Government and administration at the Centre? Will it be answerable to Parliament or will it be a completely independent structure?
Some offices of the Lokayukta, as in Karnataka, had been able to probe iron ore mining scams and send a couple of Ministers to jail through courts some years ago. Will all or most States set up their own Lokayuktas and try to clean up their administration? The Prime Minister has spoken that it is difficult to punish the corrupt through the existing set-up, but as new officials with open minds take over the administration, he hopes to clean up the process of governance. The functioning of national institutions at the highest level like Parliament, Executive, Judiciary and the media ~ four pillars of democracy ~ it is believed, have been under a cloud. Will the Prime Minister try to ensure that they empower the people and other institutions like the Right to Information Commission?
What will be the role that the Law Commission will play? Will its suggestions and reports be heeded? Will the Election Commission, Central Vigilance Commission and the Central Bureau of Investigation have a free hand? The Prime Minister is promising effective administration and governance. Now is the time for him to live up to his promises. Did the Congress form a pre-election coalition with the DMK as part of the United Progressive Alliance to qualify to become the recognised Opposition in the Lok Sabha with 90 seats? Or is the Congress on its own with 52 seats, three short of 10 per cent of the strength of the House? Has the BJP wave or the Modi wave swept large parts of the country, with a new footprint even in West Bengal and Odisha? Has the Hindutva card won the vote banks? Has the agenda for the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya become a step nearer?
Will the Supreme Court hear the temple demand yet again or leave it to negotiation and mediation between representatives of the two communities? Is it just a case of land ownership, as claimed by the Muslim litigants, or is it a larger issue with the UP Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath? Have the surgical strikes on the Balakot terrorist camp in Pakistan and its blowing up by the Indian Air Force been a morale booster for the Prime Minister personally as well as the BJP, besides the killing of more than 50 odd terrorists since the Pulwama attacks in Kashmir been morale boosters in winning the hearts of the voters? There is unprecedented euphoria in the BJP camp over the election victories in large parts of the country while the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance are licking their wounds and planning to come up with their response about their rout in course of time.
This is the time for congratulating Mr. Modi, though Rahul Gandhi has hinted at differing ideologies of the two sides. Rahul Gandhi has blamed his party leaders’ defeats on senior leaders seeking and getting the party ticket for their sons. He has been persuaded not to resign as party President for the rout in elections. Even the UP and Bihar Mahagadbhandan or Opposition alliance of Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi with RJD has fallen far below their expectations, but Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav have received a reprieve from the prosecutors giving a clearance to them on their disproportionate assets cases.
There is no such relief for Mayawati, who has been very vocal against the rulers. Is it the recapture of the three Hindi heartland States, which were lost late last year by the BJP to the Congress ~ Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh~ and reassertion of primacy in UP, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, besides several other States boosted the BJP Brigade’s morale? The losses in Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Kerala appear to have been taken in their stride, but the NDA allies’ victories in Bihar and Maharashtra are expected to be rewarded with their representatives’ inclusion in the new Union Cabinet, which will be sworn in on May 30. The NDA Parliamentary Party has re-elected Mr. Modi as its leader and has been invited by the President to form the new Government.
Mr. Modi had and is still promising housing for all Indians and a few million units have already been handed over to the poor in the country. Toilets have been built for several million and poor women have been given cooking gas cylinders. Farmers’ distress, water shortages, drying up of reservoirs, loss of jobs and creation of new ones are promises that are being kept by BJP in its manifesto. Government needs to fulfill all these promises that had brought votes for the party. Demonetisation and GST imposition have not affected the morale of the voters. So, let’s hope for the best.