Fear of extinction? Decoding the Panic in Congress and the Rest

Posted By: Pathikrit Payne
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New Delhi, Nov 20: It's been nearly six months since Narendra Modi led BJP stormed to power by an unprecedented victory in Lok Sabha. In electoral democracy it is more of a norm than an exception that an incumbent party would be voted out of power and another party would step in to form government. By that standard Narendra Modi's elevation should be looked as a normal process in a democracy.


But...the decimation is beyond just one electoral defeat

Yet going by the severe decimation of Congress, which did not stop merely with Lok Sabha election but continued even beyond that in assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana, given the total rout of Samajwadi Party in the Lok Sabha election , given the desperation of Nitish Kumar to join hands with Lalu Prasad, given the eagerness of Mamata Banerjee to forge ties with Left parties to stop BJP, it seems that the elevation of Modi led BJP is no more a normal affair of a democratic country but one which is bringing about a paradigm shift in Indian politics. Needless to say, most anti- BJP political parties seem to have been gripped with panic.

Modi's international acceptance adds more insult to injury of Congress

As if the phenomenal success of BJP in the Lok Sabha election was not enough of an ache, what has added as an insult to injury for Congress and several other regional parties is the continued ascent in the popularity of Modi in particular. For long, during election campaign, Congress had tried to drill in the argument that when it comes to issues of foreign policy Modi has no experience.

However Modi's increasing acceptance as a global leader and the enthusiasm he has been able to arouse wherever he went, has made Congress even more clueless and rattled.

Be it the ecstatic and emphatic speech of Modi amidst rousing response in Madison Square or the tremendous response from NRI community that Modi got in Australia, be it the centre of attraction that Modi became in the G-20 summit or the key role he played in fructifying the BRICS Bank, be it his extempore speech at the Australian Parliament or the manner in which Modi made US accept the Indian stand on the issue of food subsidy, or the manner in which the Modi Government has been able to secure the release of Indian fishermen sentenced to death in Sri Lanka, in each of the occasion, it is difficult to find another India leader of contemporary times, who has been able to make such waves across the global spectrum.

On home front too..things have gone in favor of Modi...as of now

One cannot deny that a combination of positive global factors including the falling price of crude oil also worked in Modi's favor in terms helping the reduction of fuel price and the resultant decrease in overall inflation rates. But one can also not take away from the Modi Government the credit for instilling a massive sense of hope and rising optimism in addition to policy clarity which is gradually giving shape to more investments and higher economic growth.

Bottomline remains that Modi has the support of people of India and it is on the rise. The anticipation of Congress that Modi's popularity would wane once he is saddled with managing of Government, has not happened. On the contrary, the unprecedented rise of Modified BJP in states like Maharashtra and Haryana is now being followed up by the ambitious foray of BJP in Kashmir valley and for the first time there is a palpable sense of optimism in BJP that it might be within a striking distance of snatching power in J&K.

The desperation is not Just in Congress....but elsewhere as well

In the same league the rising popularity of Modi can be witnessed by the sheer desperation of both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad to forego old acrimonies and come together. The duo have also been trying to rope in Mulayam Singh Yadav to create Janata Dal 2.0 and the Jharkhand assembly election may see them putting in candidates together.

Similar desperation can be witnessed in Bengal where a hapless Mamata already on the backfoot by the massive expose surrounding the Saradha Chit fund case and the Jamaat penetration inside Bengal, has now made her intentions clear that she would not mind forging alliance with Left Parties of Bengal to keep BJP at bay.

Looking at the manner in which Congress has been trying to harp on the same old Nehru- Indira legacy to gain lost ground and the manner in which Mamata, Nitish and company trying to play the communal secular card all over again, it seems the non-BJP parties have not yet learned that India has moved on and those same old games would not make any difference.

Secular Communal politics may no more work for anti-BJP parties

The best exemplification of the same was in the Maharashtra election where hard-line Shiv Sena was rejected by the electorate in favor of BJP and is a perfect vindication of the fact that the electorate is more concerned about development plank and willing to vote for a strong leader. Issues related to secular and communal plank have lost much of their appeal. Further, caste based politics or the secularism plank of the likes of Congress or Trinamul or even Left parties, their one sided approach and tendency to appease in the name of secularism has more or less been rejected by the electorate.

The Desperation of Left Parties and TMC: Modi making old foes join hands for fear of oblivion

If the alliances happen between Left parties and TMC and between the offshoots of the erstwhile Janata family, it would be interesting to see how it impacts BJP. For a long time TMC and Left parties have fought pitched battles and same has been the case between JD(U) and RJD. For the likes of Nitish and Lalu or Mamata, it is easy to change allegiance or forge newer ones for fear of losing the remaining turf, the same is not the case with the foot soldiers and cadres who with their toil and blood make those parties stand ground and who don't easily forgot the bloodied battles in the past against the arch-rivals.

If the likes of JDU, RJD, TMC, CPI(M) and even Congress want to reinvent themselves and prevent their journey to oblivion they need to think beyond mere electoral alliances by presuming that combined vote shares would be good enough to keep Modi at bay. Unless they do so, their decline would continue unabated. India has moved and it seems only Modi right now understands the pulse of new India. The rest are still grappling in the dark rooms or foolishly presuming that glories of history would come to their rescue. Rip Van Winkle never has good company in India.

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