2014, Modi and rise of BJP across India

As we draw the curtains over 2014 and welcome a new year 2015, I take this opportunity to reflect upon the year which passed by. 2014, in many ways, will be remembered as a defining year in Indian politics.

Congress recorded its worst performance in Lok Sabha polls (44 seats). Rudderless leadership and huge anti-incumbency against Maun Mohan Singh Government cost Congress dearly. The party is in deep mess. This year could well be the beginning of demise of Congress or in Modi's terminology 'Congress-mukt Bharat'.

In contrast, the BJP recorded its best performance in Lok Sabha polls (282 seats). It became the only party to get a comfortable majority since 1984 (30 years). In the 4 State Assembly polls which followed, BJP formed Government in 3 States. In the 4th State, J&K, there is a possibility of formation of a BJP Government. Today, BJP-led NDA has Governments in 11 States - 8 BJP CMs and 3 CM of allies (best ever tally since formation of BJP).

Rise of BJP and saffronisation of States has made it the principal party in India, a position held by Congress for the past 6 decades. As a result, the politics of opposition parties (parties not in NDA) is now anti-BJP and not anti-Congress. This is a paradigm shift in Indian politics. This is being increasingly seen in the behaviour of regional parties like Trinamool and in the efforts of erstwhile Janata Parivar to unite.

With the weakening of Congress and BJP wining one State after another, political pundits predict a long run for BJP at the Centre (10-15 years). While BJP is known to have had long innings in States, at the Centre despite India Shining campaign it failed to get re-elected in 2004. If BJP does manage to win in 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well, 2014 will be remembered as the start of second innings for BJP at the Centre after first innings of Vajpayee.

BJP was M odi-fied during 2014. He stamped his authority over the party with his charisma and popularity. Since the formation of BJP, there have been two powerful groups in BJP – Atal and Advani – one group reigned supremacy over the other depending upon the situation and the era. During early 1990s, while Advani was the tallest leader due to Babri movement, when it came to becoming PM, Atalji became the choice of NDA. Today, the party is all about Modi. He is in total control. With his trusted lieutenant Amit Shah as President of BJP and seniors like Advani and MM Joshi not part of the Government. BJP is fully Modi-fied. His stature in many ways is similar to Indira’s during 1970s in Congress party.

Bihar saw the union of two adversaries Lalu and Nitish. The erstwhile Janata Parivar colleagues Mulayam, Lalu, Nitish, Deve Gowda, Chautala and Kamal Morarka have come together to revive the old Janata Party. This is more a result of fear of survival rather than new-found bonhomie. If these parties actually merge, then 2014 would be remembered as the year when the seeds of this grand alliance were sown.

Jammu & Kashmir witnessed the highest voter turnout in its electoral history in recently held State elections. People shunned the separatists’ call for boycott and voted enthusiastically to elect a new Government. This emphasised that the people were fed up of disturbances in the Valley and voted for peace and development. It was victory for India and a slap on the face of separatists.

India voted to uphold its democratic principles and as a result dynasties suffered a big jolt Nehru-Gandhis in Lok Sabha, Abdullahs in J&K, Sorens in Jharkahnd, Chautalas in Haryana, Thackerays/ Pawars in Maharashtra. Younth of the country India voted against people who have made politics their career and who consider States/nation as their kingdom.

This is also the year when a chaiwallah went onto occupy the office of the Prime Minister. This was the true victory of democracy. India showed the world that the right to vote is the most powerful tool granted to citizens in a democracy. Modi’s rise from a humble background to PM reflected positively on the maturity of Indian democracy.

Courtesy Niti Central



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