NDA returns and how

The BJP is riding back to power in a decisive victory and on a pro-incumbency wave in its favour. The election this time took on the Presidential character with Prime Minister Modi at the centre of it all. Modi has special reasons to cheer as he single-handedly led his party and the NDA to resounding victory. His principal opponents, mainly the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi, have conceded defeat while Andhra Pradesh’s Chandrababu Naidu who set his eyes on New Delhi has lost both his base and balance. He is driven out of power in the state, lock stock and barrel.

Another anti-Modi crusader, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, has been hit hard by the saffron push, but not fully outmaneuvered. Her Trinamool Congress bagged a few more seats than the BJP which made a big entry into the TMC bastion. Here starts the tide of misfortune for her. Notably, the Hindi belt again turned its back on the Congress. Three chief ministers who emerged unassailable are Punjab’s Captain Amarinder Singh, Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik who won power in the assembly polls yet again, and K Chandrasekhar Rao of Telangana whose TRS did reasonably well. The results were a total disaster for Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal.

Needless to say, the Congress as the chief rival of the BJP and with a national spread has to do serious stock-taking. Rahul Gandhi has done his job on the campaign front, but he lost track midway by clinging on to the absurd anti-Modi slogan of “Chowkidar chor hai.” This slogan not only did not resonate with the hoi-polloi but also backfired. His apologies before the Supreme Court and the hit-back he got from PM Modi vis-a-vis the Bofors scam did him in. Worse, the Congress hoped to return to power on a perceived anti-incumbency vote, and not by strengthening its organisational structure in states. In the absence of a mood against Modi overall, the Congress failed to improve its fortunes.

Clearly, the lack of formation of an anti-BJP opposition front at the national level helped Modi outwit his detractors. The ambitions of regional satraps proved to be the undoing to the anti-BJP Opposition. Had there been a united challenge against Modi and the BJP, the scenario might have been different. The disaster for the Congress extended spectacularly to the Nehru family. The parachuting of Priyanka Gandhi to strengthen the image of the Congress and provide able support to Rahul Gandhi was of little help. Even Eastern UP did not warm up to the Congress and to her despite concentrated efforts. The Maya-Akhilesh combine made moderate gains.

PM Modi, taller than ever and the resurgent BJP have reasons to feel enthused and energised. The agencies involved in the exit polls process deserve a pat for their predictions which majorly proved correct. Last but not the least, the fears of a hung parliament have evaporated, to the nation’s great relief.


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