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Elections 2014 : Analysis

The vote in India is notorious for being fragmented and inchoate. But this time,the verdict handed out by the largest electorate in the world is unambiguous - a Narendra Modi Government. For the first time in the past 30 years, a single party has come to majority by itself. It's been a clean sweep for the saffron party- right from Uttar Pradesh to Goa. Its the first time in Indian history that our Grand Old Party has been reduced to such mortifying double digit figures.

These elections have been reduced to a national referendum on Modi
The saffron tally is awe-inspiring. The lotus has bloomed in erstwhile no-go areas like Odisha, West Bengal and Assam. The Congress is utterly decimated, losing even in it's most impenetrable strongholds. But how has Bharatvarsh suddenly become land fertile enough for the lotus to bloom?

The UPA Government at the Center has been perceived to be rudderless. Its accomplishments could not be conveyed to the proletariat. Throughout the campaign, the Congress was strikingly silent about it's achievement. The party should be credited with permitting Narendra Modi to walk away with a halo of good governance around him.

When he repeatedly emphasized on his Gujarat model, the Congress did not ask the opposition to elucidate upon it. Further the party lost backing from all it's core vote banks - the capitalists were frustrated with the relentless rights regime and the plethora of welfare schemes unleashed by it while the rural citizen found the party to be pandering to the upper class and doing nothing for their welfare. The people were thoroughly repulsed by the long and vexatious UPA regimes. Couple this with an singularly insular campaign and the party had cooked up the right recipe for a whitewash.

For his part, Narendra Modi also made optimal utilization of his oratorical skills. With his full-throated attacks on the Gandhi family and his sarcasm-laced comments on the Congress's supposed elitism, successfully managed to create a feeling of utter disgust for the Congress. He campaigned relentlessly and his lavishly funded and catchy advertisements dominated public discourse. He created a widespread perception that Gujarat under his rule was the best-performing state in the nation and the INC did nothing to puncture his balloon. In fact, by trying to repeatedly harp on the secular-communal debate the party sent the message to the electorate that its Government had achieved nothing credible in 10 years of rule.

For the first time, the BJP also enjoyed unquestioned backing from the RSS, with it's extensive network of karyakartas spawning the length and breadth of the country. In fact, the BJP won seats in non-stronghold areas on the back of RSS legwork.

Thus, Modi's machoistic image and the strongly entrenched regional satraps in the states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand made a BJP landslide inevitable. Maharashtra, fatigued with the Congress-NCP which has ruled the state for 15 straight years, saw the ruling coalition eat humble pie even in it's erstwhile bastions. Haryana and Assam saw the INC losing despite popular regional leaders in Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Tarun Gogoi. Disgust with the Congress in the former and the Bangladeshi card played by Modi in the latter saw the BJP make astounding gains.

A fascinating mosaic painted itself in the state of Karnataka where Congress was supposed to be performing decently. The Lingayat strongman Yedyurappa who was re-inducted into the party despite the graph taint seems to have delivered. In Uttarakhand and Himachal, the Congress, riven with factionalism, was unable to even put a challenge to the saffron camp.

In Bihar, the voters have decisively rejected Nitish Kumar's JD(U) though he was projected to be a development man, even more so than Modi. The RJD-Congress alliance was supposed to be gaining ground but they have been washed away by the Modi wave. On the alliance I can make only one comment - Kagaz pe bhari hai bhaiyya, zameen pe nahi!

But the most striking are the results coming from Uttar Pradesh. The tactical move of moving Amit Shah has had the effect of electrifying the election. The party had gone all comatose in the state but this man has put it on steroids. A mind-blowing 73 seats in this state of the Hindi Heartland have gone to the BJP's kitty. Handing out lavish dollops of  Hindutva, hard-selling the development slogan and accurately reading the caste equations, Amit Shah facilitated an unprecedented triumph for the BJP.

All in all, a host of factors - regional and national gave the BJP a landslide. What's should in fact be more worrying for the Congress and the left-wing liberals and intellectuals is the permanent stain on the Congress aura of invincibility. A recalibration of the opposition's strategy is imperative now if the party intends to survive in the long-term.

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