The outcome of the general elections has come as both contrary to expectations and in line with them. Though political pundits expected BJP to not do well enough in the polls, the public discourse in the country tilted in favour of the saffron party. An objective opinion too seemed to favour the pundits. So, what happened in the middle of an election which initially didn’t seem to be going well for the BJP. In hindsight, yes, Balakot strike seems to have played a huge role. This so, even when attack on Pakistan didn’t seem to have gone according to the script, what with Pakistan downing one Indian aircraft and taking its pilot hostage. But the way the BJP spun the narrative, it almost appeared that New Delhi had taught Pakistan a lesson.
Similarly for the tough policy measures like demonitisation and the GST that the BJP took in the past. Despite the demonitization mightily disrupting the lives of people in the country, it ended up appreciating the move as good for the country. But as the election result has demonstrated the demonitization and the GST have redounded to the benefit of the party. Actions like Balakot strike only further set off PMs image as a strong leader who is ready to take decisive measures to take on Pakistan.
Modi has thus once again proved miles ahead of any rival leader in gauging the public mood and take necessary steps and make required noises to pander to it. That said, Balakot strike alone didnt turn the tide in the BJPs favour. The party’s campaign hinged on a slew of tried and tested election time tactics. The BJP’s essential communal politics also came in handy. More so, in critical states like Uttar Pradesh which over the past two and a half decades has been the laboratory for Indias sectarian and communal brand of politics.
As it has turned out, the majority community seems to have voted against the parties which are deemed secular. Or to put it differently, the majority community voted against any party in whose favour Muslims voted. Muslims have thus become the consensus pariah of Indian politics. And this is both disturbing and dangerous and calls for a deep introspection among the Muslims in the country about redeeming their rights. It also calls for introspection for the Congress and the wider opposition. The kind of drubbing they have received at the hands of the BJP should cause a serious rethink about their strategy. The truth is their campaign and the leadership was no match for Modi’s overarching persona and his campaign style.