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Lok Sabha Election Results 2024: Changing Dynamic Of Voting Patterns Cast Shadow On Presumptions And Conjectures

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : Jun 7, 2024, 7:51 PM IST

Updated : Jun 8, 2024, 2:46 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is gearing up for his swearing-in scheduled for Sunday, in the presence of all the NDA allies who have helped him reach the magic mark as a coalition. His third term is expected to be different from the previous two consecutive tenures, where BJP enjoyed a simple majority. PM Modi’s consensus building skills will be put to test by the allies from across the country who are crucial for this coalition government to continue in power, writes ETV Bharat’s Network Editor Bilal Bhat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is gearing up for his swearing-in scheduled for Sunday, in the presence of all the NDA allies who have helped him reach the magic mark as a coalition. His third term is expected to be different from the previous two consecutive tenures, where BJP enjoyed a simple majority. PM Modi’s consensus building skills will be put to test by the allies from across the country who are crucial for this coalition government to continue in power.
Representational Image (ANI Photo)

India’s verdict for secular democracy has broken loose a decade-old single-party rule and paved the way for an inclusive and participatory form of governance where decisions are made using collective wisdom. The longest-ever electoral process in Indian history, spanning eighty days, marked the weakening of the BJP given their overall seat share.

'Consensus Building'

The dream of 400 and above seats (abh ki baar 400 paar) fell flat. The BJP would now have to rely on its NDA partners to form the government, and any decision that is made will need consent from allies. Modi will undoubtedly continue to serve as the prime minister of the country a third time, but he might not be able to run roughshod over his opponents for which he will need a licence from his allies. BJP needs to negotiate hard, and Modi will have to venture into this unknown territory for the first time. The decision to demonetise INR currencies of 500 and 1000 in 2016 was made without the consultation of many in the then finance ministry, and the BJP could afford it as it had the majority. Had it been a coalition, the demonetisation decision would have been difficult as it would need alliance partners' consent.

'BJP's Core Ideology To Take Back Seat'

BJP had galvanised its ideological support base by making statements disparaging the largest minority in the country, sometimes subtle but eventually more overt, since it came into power. PM Modi during a rally called the entire community 'infiltrators.' That might take a backseat, as long as a new coalition continues, and narratives that the party brings will have to resonate well with allies like Chandrababu Naidu, a secular veteran politician. Immediately after sweeping the Andhra Pradesh assembly and Lok Sabha, Naidu made a statement while addressing the media in Vijayawada, “A fundamental right in a democracy should be freedom of speech”. He was reinforcing what he and his party believes in.

'Shift To Inclusive, Secular Policies'

The statement may have given the critical voices of India a reprieve. Of all the coalition partners, TDP (Telugu Desam Party) led by Naidu, holds a decisive position given its numbers and geographical location. After Karnataka and Telangana, Andhra Pradesh is the third state that has opened gates for BJP into the south. Therefore, the BJP will have to tread carefully. People like Chandrababu don’t subscribe to bigotry, majoritarianism, and intolerance. It is hoped that government policies would again be inclusive and secular. The critical voices in the last ten years were reprimanded, and those who played ball were rewarded. People like Praful Patel and Ajit Pawar were cleared of the charges they faced before joining the BJP. Patel had an Air India anti-corruption case against him while Ajit Pawar was allegedly involved in Rs. 25,000 crore scam.

Congress Vs Modi's

The main opposition party, Congress, which emerged as a formidable force, had to face the wrath of having their bank accounts frozen, and having two of their allies and chief ministers jailed. However, their sustained campaign against the BJP worked for them to a large extent. BJP can't go solo, they need allies to form the government as they don’t have numbers. Congress presented stronger narratives that a common man could easily connect with, and benefited them, such as inflation, unemployment, and threats to the constitution, which made Modi's weapons less effective.

  • 24 percent of people showed unhappiness over price rise/inflation, according to a CSDS study
  • 23 percent were unhappy with unemployment

The biggest weapon that Modi believed made him invincible was Ram Mandir which also did not work as BJP had expected. He started his campaign from Ayodhya, in January, when he visited Ram Mandir to keep the memories fresh for voters. In a stunning verdict, people in Ayodhya chose the Samajwadi party, which is perceived as a sympathiser of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, over his nominee.

'BJP Article 370 Abrogation Assertion'

Another significant event that Modi mentioned in most of his speeches, both before and during election rallies, was an abrogation of Article 370. In fact, he brought it up after the results, attributing abrogation to higher voter turnout in Kashmir. People in Baramulla did not vote for Sajad Lone, who served during the PDP-BJP coalition as a BJP minister. Omar Abdullah, the former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, was also passed over by Baramulla. In a stunning rebuke to Abdullah and Lone, voters chose a candidate who is incarcerated in Tihar jail.

  • There was an overall decrease in Hindu Dalit votes who thought changing Constitution might affect their benefits

Congress, on the contrary, without touching sensitive subjects like Article 370, ran a sustained campaign against BJP’s ambition of gaining above 400 seats, creating an impression that it would be a step towards changing the constitution.

'Shifting Strategies'

They also brought up issues that are linked to a common man's day-to-day business. On the contrary, the BJP kept changing its strategy after each phase passed. During the first two phases, they talked about welfare schemes that benefited them. Even after making divisive statements, there are a significant number of Muslims who voted for the BJP.

  • Eight percent of Muslims voted for the BJP because they believed the welfare schemes did not see religion

'Exit Polls Fell Flat'

The exit poll result served as means to carry forward the campaign for the Congress which is now trying to use it to show how institutions were influenced and coerced. All the exit polls showed BJP returned with a sizable majority. TV channels were abuzz with the results, corroborated by psephologists, validating the validity of surveys to be accurate and scientific. Not a single study indicated that the BJP was below the magic number of 272, which is required to form a government.

'Promises To Keep'

Now that the NDA is forming a government for the third time, it would be interesting to see how the situation unfolds when the alliance partners come up with their demands to bargain with the BJP to have their pound of flesh. There will be issues that the alliance partners would like to take up first given their promises made during election rallies. The Agnipath scheme had started to gain traction, and arguments had also surfaced between two alliance partners; JD (U) calling it a priority and LJP (Ram Vilas) saying it was not yet the right time to pursue it. While much remains to be seen, it is obvious that this country's progress would be accelerated by a stronger opposition and a coalition rule.

Last Updated : Jun 8, 2024, 2:46 PM IST
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