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Done Deal?

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The extent of the sweeping victories in the Arunachal and Sikkim state assembly elections were unexpected, as there were no reports of waves in any party’s favour. Yet, the incumbent BJP and Sikkim governments retained power with a flourish. This shows that, in cases where much of the electorate has already made up its mind, it does not manifest during election campaigns. People just turn out on voting day and do their duty in a humdrum manner.

The complaint of the INDI Alliance that the sweep being forecast by the exit polls is not visible on the ‘ground’ may be exactly because of this phenomenon. It was probably a done deal even before the elections began. The hectic campaigning by Modi and his team till the very last, using every trick in the book, only ensured there were no gaps left. The rag-tag alliance of the opposition did the best it could with the little it had in hand but, it seems, was chasing a lost cause. There should be no bitterness if the results turn out as forecast.

The narrative of those who provided ideological content for the Congress during the campaign has now shifted to the possibility of India become a one-party state after the one-sided victory. This is in continuation of the earlier attempt to project PM Modi as an autocrat, whose objective is to make India a ‘Hindu State’, change the basic nature of the Constitution, and otherwise serve ‘Manuvadi’ objectives. There are people who would swallow this line owing to reasons of their own, but they are not enough in number. Also, many of them reside abroad.

If PM Modi does get re-elected, it will be only a third term, comprising fifteen years. How many years in Independent India’s history did Congress rule, almost unchallenged? When changes came about, the first challenges were from within – splits continued till it became a Nehru-Gandhi family ‘proprietorship’. The same could happen to the BJP. But it only occurs if those in power lose sight of the primary objective of serving the people, and have no answers to the challenges of governance. The people believe that Modi has the answers today because of his ten-year record. The day they become disillusioned they will look for an alternative. It is for the opposition to prepare and wait for the moment. But they must have the answers. At present, this does not seem to be the case. Don’t blame the EVM!