The BJP-led National Democratic Party (NDA) has yet again coloured most of India saffron by winning the 2019 Lok Sabha election by more than 300 seats. Thanks to this massive victory, Narendrabhai Modi – the current Prime Minister of India – has secured his seat as the head of the Indian government for another five years.
The stunning majority with which BJP won the election can be hailed as a historic political achievement for the party’s president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the 2014 election, BJP won 282 seats, which at that point of time was considered to be a high standard. However, by winning 300+ seats in the 2019 election, the NDA broke its own record and gained majority once more.
Here are some of the key factors that helped Modi win the election once again after 2014.
LPG and Toilet:
Prime Minister Modi made sanitation – the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” – a priority for the government soon after taking oath in 2014. He claimed that the lack of hygiene and cleanliness was the root cause of poor health and disease. It now seems that he has indeed succeeded in spreading this message that cleanliness will save money. As a result of this campaign, Modi government claims that they have built more than 9 crore toilets for the poorer sections of the society.
Apart from the toilets, another BJP scheme that seems to have worked its magic on the public is the LPG scheme. Under the Ujjawala scheme, PM Modi promised to provide free LPG connection to the households that had no cooking gas. The government claims that it has distributed more than 7 crores LPG connections and hailed it as a step of women empowerment.
These two schemes, over the last five years, seems to have connected with the public and seems to have influenced indirectly or directly more than 25 crore electorates out of the 90 crore total voters in India.
It seems that Modi benefited immensely from the Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers in February 2019. While the responsibility of the attack was claimed by a Pakistani terrorist outfit, it was essentially carried out by a Kashmiri local.
It has been debated that Modi’s policies in the Kashmir valley and the increasing use of pellet guns, that blinded hundreds and killed at least 14 people, led to the Kashmiri local joining the terrorist group and subsequently carrying out the attack. However, Modi soon turned the situation to his advantage and chose an aggressive course of action by ordering airstrikes against the militants on Pakistani territory itself. The news of the airstrikes was taken up as the central narrative of the 2019 election campaign that the opposition failed to encounter. When the opposition tried to question the authenticity of the Balakot airstrikes, it worked in Modi’s favour as his party wove into their nationalistic narrative and associated it with the pride of the nation.
Booth Level Workers:
Over the last five years, BJP had invested a lot of time in building the human resource that would work on the ground. So, once the narrative of the Lok Sabha election campaign changed, it was the strength of the BJP human resources at the booths on the ground that came to work.
BJPs membership campaign, in spite of the numerous controversies, brought in a huge number of workers all over the country that helped the party immensely during the elections. A huge credit of the party’s win can be credited to the committed cadres who helped the political party gain majority in this election.
Weak Campaign by the Congress:
This was a major factor that helped PM Modi clinch victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The Congress campaign failed due to two major reasons, namely, the message it was trying to convey to the public; secondly, the high-handedness of the Congress when it came to accommodating it alliances into the fold.
Rather than focusing on Modi’s economic failures and his disastrous demonetization campaign that withdrew 86 per cent of India’s currency, Rahul Gandhi and his party choose to attack Modi over allegations of corruption. Rather than going for the obvious the Gandhi chose a message that reminded the electorate of the numerous scam scandals that his own party was accused of being involved with.
Secondly, the high-handedness with which the INC approached its own political alliances might have been a reason for its own downfall. The BJP, on the other hand, had been comparatively accommodating of the other political parties that allied with it in states like Maharashtra and Bihar.
Many political experts believed that the rise of Hindutva that contributed to Modi’s victory in 2014 was a one-time phenomenon. However, BJP winning states the Assam, Haryana, Tripura, Maharashtra, and other places proved that the right-wing ideology was not a fluke and ran more deeply that one would have estimated. It is widely known that BJP made the “appeasement of Muslims by the Congress” one of its major arguing points since its initial days. Opening of more than 45,000 branches of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) too helped in the spreading of the right-wing ideology among the public especially the younger generation.
Minority Concern and Appeasement:
This concerns more the opinion of the voters rather than a strategy that the BJP undertook. For the last two terms, it has been observed that the BJP campaign is a polarizing one that seemed to work on the public effectively. In 2014, India’s National Election Studies conducted a survey where 51 per cent of the respondents said that for them democracy meant that the community who has the majority in the country must rule. This school of thought was a far cry from what was seen in 2009.
This displayed that half of the country was inclined towards the right ideology and was ready to accept the application of Hindutva in national politics. This ideology has gained precedence among the youth, which is a growing demographic and has grown up under an era ruled by the BJP.
The appeal of Narendra Modi:
The last and final factor that worked in Modi’s favour was the nature of his political campaign. PM Modi is a fantastic campaigner who portrayed the whole campaign as Modi vs Rahul, which benefited the former immensely. After retaliating to the Pulwama attack, PM Modi tapped on to the national security narrative by making himself the Chowkidar or watchman of the country, who would protect India and make it great. This logic played very well for his election campaign and helped him gain the majority.
These are the key factors that contributed immensely to PM Modi’s election campaign and helped him win with a vast majority. The people have chosen and now time will tell what PM Modi does in the next five years of his rule.
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