When the BSP supremo Mayawati expressed suspicions regarding Modi’s stupendous victory in Uttar Pradesh, wondering how the BJP could have won in Muslim majority areas without having a single Muslim candidate in its fold, she was unwittingly confirming the rise of the New Indian – young, aspirational and impatient with traditional faultlines. The fact that Modi’s BJP did not back/nominate a single Muslim candidate and yet won in Muslim majority areas goes to the credit of the rise of the New Indian that comprises the Muslim youth too. While other parties were still pigeon-holing voters into traditional vote-bank slots, Modi recognised the change in the voters’ mood and came up with his ‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’ vision, which is standing him in good stead.
In fact, with landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, BJP can legitimately claim to have finally won the so-called referendum on PM Modi’s policies, programs and performance, although the party leadership had unequivocally refused to look at the five state assembly polls as referendum.
Ever since Narendra Modi’s 2014 General Elections victory, several explanations were put forward by intrigued news analysts, political pundits and seasoned journalists. Some ascribed the victory to his rock-star image that dazzled the youth. Others described him as the darling of the middle classes who had promised them freedom from corruption, inflation and unemployment. Of course, there was no dearth of those who cited his unprecedented media blitzkrieg that overshadowed everything that the opposition parties could muster in terms of resources and rhetoric. Then there was the original image of Modi being the Great Hindu Hope, which he is keen to downplay if not shed altogether. All these factors have propelled him onto a journey of unprecedented and undreamt of political victories.
Modi’s every subsequent success was ascribed to the momentum gained in 2014, to divisive politics, to the purported appropriation of Congress icons like Netaji Bose, Sardar Patel, Shivaji etc., and ‘saffronising’ of the UPA-designed policies and programs. But, most mentioned and believed argument was that the Modi Magic was a creation of our media. Everybody believed that it would be impossible to defeat Modi in elections, until Bihar happened and the mood changed. Opposition parties heaved a sigh of relief. At last, the Modi juggernaut had been halted, the saffron balloon burst. Demonetisation was presented as the beginning of the end of Modi Magic. But that hasn’t happened, as proved by the poll results of 11 March, 2017.
Admittedly, along with its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, BJP has been routed in Punjab. It has also slipped from the seat of power in Goa and has ended up as runner-up in Manipur (it might yet form governments in the two states with the help of ‘others’). Yet the question remains: How has the Modi Magic endured for so long and is apparently becoming stronger? Demonetisation was supposed to boomerang on BJP’s poll prospects in these elections, especially in UP. But, the contrary has happened. In UP it has achieved an unprecedented landslide victory. In Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat seemed to be going strong, but has been unceremoniously unseated by the voters. Obviously something has gone terribly wrong for the rival parties. Currently, both the INC and the Samajwadi Party are under the scanner.
There is a lesson in all this for the BJP and the Sangh Parivar.