When Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah came up with the term ‘Modi tsunami’ during the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections, it raised the hackles of opposition leaders. Now, as BJP-led NDA is set to script history by gaining a majority on its own for a second consecutive term, ‘Modi tsunami’ seems to have taken over the country.
In the bitterly fought election campaign—the BJP has won over the electorate with its focus on national security, Balakot air strikes and charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The results appear to be in line with the exit polls of last Sunday— which predicted a landslide victory for the BJP. The Congress and the opposition parties dismissed the exit polls as a sham, but results show the electorate chose to give a second term to Modi.
Riding on a strong Modi wave, the NDA government came to power in 2014, with a decisive mandate. The BJP–led NDA won 336 seats in 2014. The BJP won 282 seats–making it the first party after 1989 to bag majority on its own. In 2019, it looks like the party is going to break that record too.
In 2014, Modi and the BJP focused mainly on the lacklustre performance of the ruling Congress party and its scams, and the party never had to look back since. What sets apart the 2019 election from 2014 is that the Modi government has also increased its footprints in states like West Bengal and Odisha where it had only marginal presence in 2014. Going by the trends, the BJP is set to make gains in West Bengal. Compared to 2014, the BJP has made a stellar performance in Hindi heartland constituencies too. In states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and Gujarat—the BJP has managed to wipe out the Congress.
While some pollsters and ground reports have registered the electorate’s disappointment with Modi government’s policies like demonetisation, GST and the poor implementation of government programmes, it appears the voters have chosen the stability of the government over performance. The BJP and Modi have been consistent in its attack against the opposition for its lack of unity and the inability to project a leader. Some analysts say that the failure of the opposition parties to project a prime ministerial candidate has done the damage.
Analysts say that though many of NDA government programmes like Ujjwala scheme, Jan Dhan, Swachch Bharat- were poorly implemented on the ground, the programmes helped the government to gain the confidence of the rural and the unprivileged section of the society. They also point out that the BJP’s stunning performance in Uttar Pradesh demonstrates the confidence of voters in Modi government. With 80 Lok Sabha seats, Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state, is perceived to reflect the pulse of the nation. Many predicted a close fight as the BJP was pitted against the formidable alliance of SP-BSP-RLD.
Though the opposition raised issues of growing unemployment, falling GDP figures, agrarian distress as the main issues against the NDA government in its campaign, the issues seem to have failed to find resonance with the voters. The trends emerging from across the country demonstrate that the 2019 mandate is more decisive compared to 2014, where the BJP has made impressionable performance in both rural and urban seats.