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ET EDIT -Bang in the Middle of the Narendra Modi Decade With thumping support, NDA-2 must deliver

May 24, 2019 06:11 AM


Bang in the Middle of the Narendra Modi Decade
With thumping support, NDA-2 must deliver
On becoming prime minister in 2014, Narendra Modi had asked India’s electorate to give him at least 10 years to put India on a path of progress and prosperity. Five years later, India’s voters have agreed — resoundingly, unhesitatingly. The results are a rousing victory for the PM, BJP, and party president and organisational meister Amit Shah. Modi is the first PM with a full majority to secure a second consecutive term with a full majority, after the early years of Nehru and Indira Gandhi. In 2020, BJP is expected to secure a majority in the Rajya Sabha as well. This will allow GoI to pass the laws it thinks necessary, without worrying about how to elicit Opposition cooperation. This should make for better policy, decisive implementation and a stronger economy.

Congress’ rout in states where it steers governments tells the story of the power of a national narrative for the voter. While the implementation of schemes to open bank accounts, build toilets, give gas connections in rural areas and the Ayushman Bharat scheme have built the PM’s reputation as a doer, the Opposition’s allegation of corruption found no purchase. The promise to remove poverty through hand-outs lacked credibility. Also found defunct was the mahagathbandhan’s caste-corralling in the guise of ‘arithmetic’. Class trounced caste, with Modi as the grand unifier.

At the same time, swift implementation of the PM-Kisan scheme, under which the first instalment of ₹2,000 was transferred to farmers soon after announcement, made for trust. The metanarrative of nationalism and punitive action against Pakistan probably helped mould appreciation of the work done into celebration of strong leadership. Rahul Gandhi’s defeat against Smriti Irani in Amethi points to the emergence of a new voter who has little time for dynasty. Not only do the results, especially from Bihar and UP, spell the end for purely caste-based parties, they also reiterate the irrelevance of Left politics, as traditionally practised. Regional parties stay relevant, although voters have matured to voting differently at different levels of the federal polity. We hope the new government will focus on tackling some key hurdles to India’s growth accelerating to double digits, such as breathing new life into the debt market, so as to relieve banks, as well as non-banking finance companies that raise short-term money, of the burden of funding long-term infrastructure, and accelerating urbanisation

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