Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Stability a casualty


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The tamed BJP-led NDA is set to form the government for the third consecutive term by virtue of the upper hand it retained in the 2024 General Elections. That strength will be solidified albeit for now by the backing it was offered by the JDU of Bihar’s Nitish Kumar and the Telugu Desam of AP’s Chandrababu Naidu, which returned to the NDA after seasons of alienation. The BJP and its alliance partners have reposed faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought his continued leadership to run the next government. The script so far is fine. But, there is little doubt that the political stability that Prime Minister Modi provided the nation in the past 10 years will now have to face the litmus test. Both Kumar and Chandrababu are undependable allies and had personally targeted Modi in the past. They can be depended on to keep him on his toes if the new government is headed by Modi himself. Modi will be touching 74 in September and he’s one year away from the 75-rule he imposed on other BJP leaders vis-a-vis the handling of public office. While he can continue to be in the driving seat for a little over a year before he crosses this line, there already are several if’s and but’s.
We were so far exposed to a ‘strong’ Modi. Yet, the 10 years he led the nation saw modest achievements. He stated a day ago that the need now is to fight corruption and introduce more reforms; matters he allowed to drag on despite the old promises on these. With the likes of Chandrababu Naidu, or Sharad Pawar giving him security cover now, cleaning the Augean Stables can only be a wishful thinking. An ambitious Nitish Kumar or a scheming Naidu would, in future, be too willing to ditch the NDA if they are promised the PM post in a new realignment of forces. Politics is the art of the possible; more so for unscrupulous leaders. India is sure to wade into a period of instability as the people have given an unclear verdict.
The Congress party with close to 100 seats in Parliament regained its strength to respectable levels. Whether this will reflect in the way that those like Rahul Gandhi conduct themselves is worth a wait and watch. The end of the season of Modi Prabhav is likely to spell more trouble for the BJP. Internal dissension can be anticipated and the organisational strengths of the BJP are questionable. It relied on Modi for votes. That scenario has changed at least for now. Worse, the main battleground state of Uttar Pradesh has changed its colour and the SP-Congress alliance has outwitted the BJP there. This cannot be a time of celebration for India as the future appears ominous.


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