(Mr Sudesh Verma-BJP NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON)
Whatever adjective you add to the victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it would still fail to capture the mood of the nation that sought to see Mr Modi firmly saddled in the chair with a far greater strength than ever before.The campaign it seems was overtaken by the common people. Everyone was campaigning in the fear that their inaction would prevent the Prime Minister from coming back. It was quite contrary to what happened during 2004 Lok Sabha elections when everyone thought then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was coming back and many did not turn up to vote. The NDA had lost by a slender margin.
This produced a Tsunami of support for Modi the person whom everyone saw as solution to the problems facing the country. The Congress and the Opposition kept on pointing to the problems but they could not present themselves as a solution. If Modi presented a vision about a strong India, he also represented the face of new India that would focus on citizen centric politics and deliverance rather than dividing people on caste and religious lines.This was actually a clash between two ideologies: the one of strong nationalism, strong country and strong leadership, and the other that aligned with Tukde tukde gang that championed balkanisation of India and sought Azaadi for Jammu and Kashmir. One wonders if Rahul Gandhi was aware that this gang’s main belief that India has been a nation of nationalities and hence cannot remain united.When Modi spoke of strong India and waited with bated breath for the success of the two surgical strikes — one after Uri incident in 2016 and the other of Balakot in 2019 that happened after Pulwama incident—the Congress and other opposition parties questioned the strikes and asked for proof. While the BJP celebrated the valour of the Indian army, the Congress tried to demean the same by calling the army chief “sadak ka gunda”.
One should not forget that while the narration of PM Modi and the BJP was sabka sath sabka vikas and spoke of people as citizens and delivery to the last man on the street, the Congress tried to emerge as a champion of certain castes and religious groups to somehow capture power.The Congress did not have the narrative of solution provider. It spoke of problems and the Government’s so called failures but failed to establish the same with facts. In the overall scheme of things, the Congress did not come across as a party that had solutions. None believed that the Congress or motley groups of opposition would be able to give solutions. People believed that Modi would give solutions, if given time. Even the much talked about Nyaya (justice) scheme left a big question mark. Why was the Congress thinking of Nyaya after so many years of being in power. The contrary was have you been doing anyaya (injustice) till now.
As against this the various pro-poor schemes of Modi government had already created a big support base for him and the BJP. The figures of these beneficiaries are astounding. Seven crore beneficiaries of free gas connections under Ujjwala scheme, 34 crore got Jan Dhan accounts opened enabling direct transfer of subsidies into their accounts, 2.5 crore houses constructed for poor people, 10 crore sauchalayas constructed making 5.5 lakh village open defecation free and 17.68 crore loans availed under Mudra Loan scheme. The list is endless including the beneficiaries of health scheme under Ayushman Bharat. Maximum seats to the BJP came from States where these schemes were implemented successfully by the various State Governments.
People proverbially have short memories and politicians often bank on this to create their own agendas. But people who have been fighting against a feudal system and face insults when they demanded equality in real terms could not forget what the Prime Minister did in the last five years. The use of Red beacon light was abolished even for ministers and other important functionaries of the Government, the old laws that were in paper and often misused were taken off the shelf and the need for attestation of certificates by a Gazetted officers was replaced with self attestation. Modi gave a lot of respectability to citizens and encouraged the sense of equality.
The pride of being an Indian was enhanced many fold internationally. I heard many NRIs saying that they get lot of respect when they said they were Indians. Modi’s foreign visits added lot of respect to this Indian identity. His interactions with IT giants globally ensured that India was recognised as a huge supplier of IT brains to the world. The way the entire world gave recognition to yoga and the UN declared 20 June as International Yoga day, the whole of India saluted the efforts of the Prime Minister to make this possible. The way the whole world supports India in its fight against terrorism and the way Pakistan has been isolated globally is recognition of the abilities a committed leader can accomplish.
The main plank was to fight corruption at various levels when the NDA came to power in 2014. Not a single taint on any minister in the Union Government in the last five years is the biggest compliment to the Modi government and his promises. Every ministry was working with specific targets.It is not without reason that people came out on their own on the streets and became campaigners for Modi.
They appreciated the decisive leadership of the Prime Minister and were determined to give him another term. The BJP did not have to argue much since people themselves had become champions of the efforts made by the Prime Minister and the way he has been trying to deliver good governance.
Nothing was wanting in terms of efforts by the party to spread the achievements of the government including the two successful pre-emptive surgical strikes on Pakistan to contain terrorism. All leaders of the party showcased a new India that was not going to take things lying down. The sense of desperation on how to deal with Pakistan’s proxy war was replaced with confidence and satisfaction. If the Prime Minister addressed 144 public meetings, BJP president Amit Shah addressed 161. Other senior leaders also participated whole heartedly.
However, this huge support for Modi would not have translated into votes if there was not an effective party mechanism to take care of people. Modi spoke about this at his first address to party-men on 23 May. Those who were making fun of our panna pramukh must have realised their power, he said. Such a mandate was not possible without the sinews of the organisation that was well oiled by Amit Shah. He has been addressing booth level workers of the BJP and the signs of victory were available at various booths where workers of the BJP far outnumbered those of other parties. At many booths other parties did not even have their representatives on the booths.
Those who say Modi has been voted back to power since there was no alternative are not doing justice to the aspirations of people who voted for him. You don’t get 50 per cent plus votes in most winning seats unless there is huge surge of support for a leader. It was a never before phenomenon. Such a large number of voters came out in support of one leader.
When the mahagathbandhan was being contemplated by opposition parties and the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party came together in Uttar Pradesh to defeat the BJP, Amit Shah had said that the BJP would fight the battle for 50 per cent votes. And people aligned with his thoughts and gave their blessings.
–Sudesh Verma is national spokesperson of BJP and in charge for party’s media relations. He has authored a biography on Narendra Modi called “Narendra Modi: The GameChanger”.