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Bharat: Nurturing Nationalism with National Polls
By Nava Thakuria
Special Correspondent
Narendra Modi, India's prime minister

Amidst all criticisms for majority based politics, Hindu-centric propagandas and one man worship, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) triumphed again in the recently concluded national elections of Bharat (officially known as India). With an undercurrent of cautious nationalism, the NDA crossed the tally of winners up to 353 in the 543 member Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament.

BJP alone emerged victorious in 303 Parliamentary seats crossing the magic number (272) to form the federal government in New Delhi, where the prime opposition party Indian National Congress along with its allies remained restricted within hundred seats in House of the People. The rightist political party, led by hardliner Prime Minister Narendra Modi also succeeded in spreading its presence to almost all corners of the vast south-Asian country.

The billion-plus nation witnessed seven-phase polling exercise (April 11 to May 19) through electronic voting machines (EVM) supported by the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) mechanism, where over 700 million voters participated in the process, conducted by the powerful Election Commission of India, to send their representatives for next five years to rule the largest democracy on Earth.

With the ideology and background of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), PM Modi along with the saffron party chief Amit Shah promoted national pride and patriotism. With Islamist-sponsored terrorism continued grabbing the international media headlines affecting India’s neighboring countries, the mainstream Indians perhaps accepted the Hindu-centric nationalism for their safety and security.

PM Modi planned and managed to run the electoral campaigns with the Presidential style of polls where the prime slogan was ‘Once Again Modi Government’ (not NDA or BJP government). Putting exclusive focus on one individual (Modi) simply contradicts to the concept of India’s decades long Parliamentary democracy. But the entire opposition lacked any one to match Modi’s personality, oratory skill and leadership quality.

While the opposition leaders repeatedly termed Modi as a ‘thief and liar’, millions of electorate including a large section of young & educated voters seemingly realized various achievements of Modi government referring to clean India movement, corruption free image, digitalization of financial exercises, skill development initiatives, medical benefits, new bank accounts to poor families irrespective of their religion, caste, creed etc.

The message from national elections was also loud & clear that the electorate would no longer patronage the dynastic politics. Not only the (Indira-Rajiv) Gandhi dynasty that faced wraths from the voters, others belong to the families of Lalu Prasad Yadab, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Bhupinder Hooda, Ashok Gehlot etc also encountered massive rejections in the poll-battles.

Even in the restive Northeast, where separatist elements once run parallel administrations, the Lotus bloomed for the saffron party. The region with 25 Parliamentary seats was swept by the BJP and its allies to elect 18 members to the NDA tally in the 17th Lok Sabha. More importantly, voters of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have opted for BJP and NDA constitute Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) for theirs province government in Itanagar and Gangtok.

In fact, BJP recorded the best ever performance in the region surrounded by Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet (China), Myanmar and Bangladesh. Keeping alive the national trend, where many veteran Congress leaders lost the electoral battles, northeastern voters also rejected many influential Congress candidates. While the grand old party was losing its vote-shares, BJP nominees had won two LS seats of Tripura and one seat in Manipur for the first time.

Unlike many parts of West Bengal, where every phase polling marred with violence, northeastern region witnessed very peaceful, participatory and smooth electoral process that might have helped the residents of various ethnic communities to nurture a new kind of nationalism where the electorate set aside their differences and came forward for a strong, safe and prosperous Bharat.



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Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove, and can be contacted at navathakuria@gmail.com

 

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