Sunday, July 14, 2024

Of exit polls


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The exit poll results indicate that the BJP-led NDA would have a consecutive third term in power at the Centre. The luxury of political stability for India as a nation could be a matter for celebration especially as this is a noisy democracy with a history of political disruptions. The two terms of the Narendra Modi-led government principally earned its spurs for the political stability that it provided to the nation with a reasonably satisfactory management of the economy as well. While the nation moved forward in these years, the momentum was not all-encompassing. Several sectors other than infrastructure continued to ail, as for instance the all-important industrial/manufacturing sector. Systems kept weakening as is evident in the growing corruption in bureaucracy and regional politics, while the judiciary continued its drag in matters of effective and speedy disposal of cases. The growing spectre of joblessness, as a result of the weakening of the industrial sector, was also cited as a serious issue that was feared to undercut Modi’s attempt to win a third term. But, it would appear that in the absence of a cohesive, dependable and self-assertive opposition, the people were left with no other choice.
If according to the exit polls the BJP-led NDA would win the peoples’ mandate on June 4, the way forward for it is obviously to form the next ministry. In all probability, Narendra Modi could return as Prime Minister. Ideally, as in the American system, the PM’s post in India too should be limited to two terms so that the nation refreshes itself with a new leadership. This is not to under-rate the strengths of Modi as an administrator. Modi would soon be 74 and close to the 75-year age-bar he appreciably introduced for leadership since 2014. This may have a bearing on the swearing in of the new Prime Minister, even as Modi remains as the undisputed and most-powerful name in the saffron edifice today. A search for his successor would likely begin sooner or later. Within the government itself, there’s a strong second line. Outside, there are those like Yogi Adityanath who has proven his mettle as an efficient regional administrator. Or, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, for that matter.
For the Congress, however, its Nehru-family fixation would continue. Again as per the exit polls the INDIA alliance appears to have done better so it can rightly assert its claims for the Leader of Opposition post this time. Even in the face of a hat-trick victory, the BJP and Modi might feel a sense of embarrassment if the party’s numbers in Parliament come down this time. Some opinion polls project a better performance for the party this time, which, if it happens, would be a huge credit for the BJP and Modi himself.

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