New Delhi: In the next few hours, the curtain will be rung down on elections for this year. Opinion polls predict a hung Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expected to hold the upper hand and a majority government in Jharkhand headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mint’s ground reporting confirms a similar outcome. If indeed this outcome holds, here are five takeaways.
First, and the most obvious, Narendra Modi continues to be a big draw with the electorate and the BJP has emerged as the principal pole of Indian politics. The Congress-led opposition may have given his regime a bloody nose in the first two sessions of the new Parliament by blocking the passage of key legislation. But across the country, the Modi allure is very much alive and the politics of this country is undergoing a structural overhaul.
The Congress should be cognizant of this, even while they happily go about with their negative campaign, both within and outside Parliament. Playing the role of an obstructionist is like being on a razor’s edge. And striking a fine balance has never been the forte of the Congress party.
Politically, the BJP is going to find itself stronger. Its bag would now include seven states, significant given that first Bihar (in late 2016) and then Uttar Pradesh (in 2017) will follow in holding state Assemly elections.
Finally, the big trend in Jharkhand would be the return of stability. It has seen nine governments in 14 years. The electorate of the state, going by initial trends, seems to have had enough of this. And significantly by backing a BJP bereft of a prominent local face, it is once again establishing that elections in the Modi era are glocal.
The Prime Minister, like he did in the general election, is by the sheer weight of his persona been able to override local factors and establish him in the centre of the political debate. To a large extent, his is also a product of the exceptional circumstance—the vacuum created by the exit of the Congress from the national stage.