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Complacency Complication


A big challenge for the BJP in the coming elections is going to be the lack of motivation to exercise their franchise among the classes that comprise its voters. There is a feeling among them that, given the lack of an alternative, Modi is the most likely to win, so their vote really isn’t necessary. There are also many who consider his return inevitable but will not extend their support so as not to seem too nationalistic or saffron. This complacency could lead to a hung parliament and the creation of unholy of alliances based on a share of the spoils.
Considering the critically transitional phase that India’s economy is in, it would be extremely harmful for the nation to have those in power pulling in all directions for personal and ideological reasons. The hard work done in the past five years would not only be undone, but also create conditions that India might not recover from in globally challenging times. The desperation of the Congress to win, for instance, has led Rahul Gandhi to promise a handout of Rs 72,000 per annum to India’s poor. In purchasing power terms, it is an amount that even the United States cannot afford to give its deprived sections. Even if a token effort is made to deliver on the promise, it will not just put the government out of pocket, but also devastate every reform introduced to energise India’s economy through market oriented policies. It may be noted that the proposed plan has been reduced from that of a universal basic income to one directed at certain sections of society. Even PM Modi’s Rs 15 lakh ‘jumla’ had been premised on the return of India’s wealth locked up in foreign banks!
While the BJP has considerable support among the middle class and a substantial section of urban dwellers, there is no clear indication of what impact its outreach among the rural poor has had. The opposition is confident that these sections will overlook personal preferences and vote according to caste and community, but if the governance of the past five years has made any headway against poverty and hopelessness, there could be large dividends in the offing for the NDA. The opposition is particularly worried because of the lack of a felt anti-incumbency wave, which usually signals coming events. This is why desperate efforts continue to forge alliances irrespective of ideological incompatibilities. It will be interesting to see how things will pan out on counting day – which strategies worked and which didn’t. It will shape the politics and politicians of India’s future.