India has voted for another five-year term for the National Democratic Alliance led by Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At this writing, the numbers indicate a landslide victory for Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
While the signs of victory became clearer as the votes were counted, Modi tweeted, “Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India.”
Meanwhile, the biggest opposition party and the one that has ruled the longest during the country’s history, the Indian National Congress, is once again on the road to a Congress-free India that was paved by Modi during his reign for the preceding five years.
According to political pundits, the main reasons behind this landslide victory are the flagship schemes of the regime that have directly served the poorer sections of society. Also, the politics of caste hatred on which numerous regional parties based their existence has been monopolized by the Hindu nationalist BJP.
The hard line against Muslim-majority Pakistan and a strong foreign policy also appeased Hindu voters. Even though the Modi regime has completely failed to generate new jobs, to create an environment of harmony between Hindus and Muslims, and has suffered from the failure of its demonetization scheme, these factors were not enough to sway voters in rural areas. Thus the party that once had only two lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament is now crossing the barrier of 350 out of 542 seats.
This is completely due to the development done by the government for the poorer section with the flavor of Hindu nationalism, which have prevented the opposition from conveying any winning message to their voters. Moreover, the air strike in Balakot, Pakistan, created a playing field for Modi’s election campaign. The unopposed support of the regime toward the Indian Army spurred voters to reiterate the scene of the 2014 elections, but in even greater numbers.
Modi has also promised to deliver results on the ground by the end of 2022, which indirectly demanded another term for his government. Slogans like “Modi hai to mumkin hai,” which means Modi has the guts to make stubborn decisions, promise policies that could benefit the country in the long run. Five years with no corruption charges have also appealed to the public’s hope for a corruption-free government.
The BJP has also bolstered the Hindu vote bank and trampled the minority-appeasement politics of the opposition. With the influx of nationalism across the globe, India has also voted to give a nationalist party a strong majority in Parliament.
After 70 years of Indian independence, Modi has focused more on reaching the households of the pessimistic class with social schemes like Aayushman Bharat, a health protection scheme, toilets for all, free residences and LPG cylinders for the poor. The regime has been successful in asserting that it is for the people is here to end the nepotism in politics that has affected Congress.
The BJP also spurred its main vote bank, the upper castes, to support Modi by introducing a 10% reservation for the economically poor sections in education and jobs. Farmers are getting 6,000 rupees (US$85) per year from the government to maintain their personal needs.
All these social and economic reforms with the color of saffron Hinduism are the reasons behind Modi’s re-election.