The results of 2019 Lok Sabha elections are unprecedented. It clearly was an election of Narendra Modi against all and that the cult of Narendra Modi will continue to grow. While Congress faltered in building the narrative and understanding the mood of the nation, Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo understood people’s sentiment and worked towards ground realities. Here are key takeaways from 2019 election results:
Congress Party’s faltered Narrative
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the others tried too hard to brand Narendra Mod as a corrupt man by the ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ smear campaign but failed miserably. During his campaigning trail in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi consistently harped on the ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ message. The desperation to brand Narendra Modi as a corrupt leader didn’t go well with people.
While the early trends in 2017 and 2018 were against the incumbent government, the Congress party perceived the result wrong. Riding high on Congress party’s performance in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi’s overconfidence failed him and the narrative to portray Narendra Modi as a dictator, corrupt and a failed leader proved to be out of sync with people’s sentiment.
Unemployment, no safety in the state, unhappy farmers, unhappy small business owners, demonetization, GST and corruption were the key subjects of all Rahul Gandhi’s rallies. While Congress mentioned there were no jobs, it failed to communicate with people how it was going to fix the problems of no jobs.
Rahul Gandhi had quoted different figures on Rafale deal at different places. On one my commutes, the cab driver told me, “it looks like he is trying hard to figure out if there was any corruption in the deal, that’s why he keeps on changing figures.” While Rahul Gandhi insisted that most of Modi’s schemes were a failure the truth is the beneficiaries did go out and vote for him.
In a personal survey that I conducted on Uber cab drivers in Ahmedabad, in my interaction with them, I found 60% of people (sample size 100) received subsidies for a car loan and home loan and LPG. Their discontentment was with the price rise in electricity and fuel. More than 80% cab drivers I interviewed said they felt safe with Narendra Modi at the helm. National interest and safety were of utmost priority for all these people. Jay Patel, a cab driver, “if there’s one leader who can teach Pakistan a lesson it is Narendra Modi. Yes, it is difficult to get a government job but I am able to earn my livelihood and we are able to sail through.”
The cult of Narendra Modi
The potshots by Rahul Gandhi and Congress Party on Narendra Modi only helped Narendra Modi. ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’, ‘Narendra Modi neech aadmi hai’, ‘Narendra Modi anpadh ganwar hai’, coward and the last ‘The Divider in Chief’ label by Time Magazine didn’t echo the sentiment of people.
Security is of the utmost priority for most of the citizens, Congress party left no stone unturned to mock surgical strikes conducted by our defence forces. In a bid to not give credit to Narendra Modi they displayed their own inability to understand the national interest. Narendra Modi, on the other hand, managed to emerge as a strong leader capable of taking a risk and a quick decision which was overall taken positively by people.
Though demonetisation and GST initially troubled small traders but with the tax slabs getting streamlined and online process simplified people decided to move on. BJP’s efforts to connect the North-East with mainland India and provide the necessary infrastructure to the north-east belt, connecting rural India to mainstream banking received more support from people. Narendra Modi in his tenure of five years emerged as a social reformer.
While there are Gandhians, none promoted Swachch Bharat and toilets for all as much as he did. Though leftist mocked ‘Mann Ki Baat’ campaign Modi managed to get his message conveyed to people in the rural belt. He connected with Kids, youth and the old all at a single point with Mann Ki Baat. In five years, he managed to share his journey with people (his ups and downs) through Mann Ki Baat. His consistent efforts to pass ‘Tripple talaq’ bill portrayed BJP as women empowering compared to the liberal stance of Congress party that did everything to stall the bill.
And, the balm to sooth the Middle class
Tax waiver of five lakhs soothed complains of most of the middle-class small traders and employees. GST and demonetisation may have led to some resentment towards Narendra Modi initially but the tax waiver of five lakhs gave youth and traders much-needed confidence in BJP. It conveyed the message that BJP wasn’t trying to toss wet blankets on the aspiration of the middle class.
Narendra Modi wasn’t exaggerating at all when he said ‘I will teach the enemies lesson on their home turf’. The surgical strike that destroyed JeM’s training camps were questioned by most of the leftist media folks and it tried to downplay Narendra Modi’s role as a decisive leader who can act when required instead of seeking validation and support from others. People cheered and stood by his side and appreciated what he did.
Narendra Modi’s aggressive campaigning and Amit Shah’s strategic abilities have given BJP the unprecedented victory. The duo knows the mood of the nation and is aware of ground realities better than Congress party that can’t see beyond its commitment to the Gandhi family.