The Strategist

Elections in India prove Modi's political appeal

03/15/2017 - 13:27

India is summarizing outcomes of local elections in five states. In fact, the elections became a referendum on confidence in ruling "Bharatiya Janata Party" led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The voting brought victory to the party of power, and sensationally strengthened its position, despite a number of unpopular measures, one of which was a painful monetary reform. After this victory, Narendra Modi has every chance to retain the prime ministerial chair after the parliamentary elections of 2019 and to realize his program of building a "new India" - an emerging global superpower in the coming years. Narendra Modi's success can be explained by nationalism, appeal to traditional values, transformation of India into a "world factory" and the fight against corruption, which fulfilled demand in a "hand of vengeance" in growing in the country. by Norbert Schiller by Norbert Schiller
The elections to the national assemblies of five states, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur, which lasted from February to March and stretched for several stages, became a high noon for Indian politicians.

The ruling nationalist "Bharatiya Janata Party" of Premier Modi announced their determination to strengthen their positions in key regions. Meanwhile, the opposition, the Indian National Congress Party (INC), promised to give to the authorities a general battle. Opponents accused Narendra Modi of carrying out "anti-popular" socio-economic policies and attacking democratic freedoms under the guise of fighting corruption. The main argument of the leading opposition force was widespread dissatisfaction with the monetary reform carried out by Modi's cabinet last November, during which 500 and 1,000 rupees ($ 7.5 and $ 15) were withdrawn from circulation. The authorities announced the reform as part of a program to combat counterfeiters and corrupt officials, but an acute cash crisis arose on the eve of the New Year.

Meanwhile, results of the past elections ruined the opposition’s hopes. Bharatiya Janata Party (BDP) won 281 seats in a 403-seat legislature in the largest state Uttar Pradesh, populated by 220 million, and called the "heart of India" (Absolute majority of the BDP required 202 seats). No party has achieved such a convincing victory in Uttar Pradesh in the last 40 years since 1977. In addition, the BDP confidently seized leadership in Uttarakhand, according to preliminary estimates, having received 55 seats in the regional parliament (36 are needed to form the majority).

"In the coming days we will see the victory of the BDP in other states, which promises our party even more convincing success in the parliamentary elections of 2019," said BDP chairman Amit Shah in connection with the ongoing counting of votes in Goa and Manipur. The opposition INC only won the state of Punjab. "We may do something wrong, but we will never do anything with wrong intentions," Narendra Modi said to the supporters. "We have five years to build a new India - the land of our dreams - before the 75th anniversary of independence in 2022." 

Times of India writes that the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not disdain to follow Indira Gandhi’s example, whose policy has repeatedly been criticized. He also relied on personal popularity. For three days he walked through streets of the holy city of Varanasi, from where he was elected to parliament; he went to Hindu temples for blessing and persuaded the voters: "I am crusading against corruption, I am for the poor."

The Western press calls the elections ‘one-man show’. Some even said that the referendum contained just only one question: ‘Are you for or against Modi?’ According to Reuters, this victory in the state clears the way for Prime Minister to succeed in the parliamentary elections, which are to be held in two years. Uttar Pradesh send many of its deputies to the upper house of parliament. Hence, influence of the BDP will be strengthened there.


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