Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi has won a massive mandate in the 2019 Indian General Elections even surpassing his landslide win in the 2014 polls.
This is a spectacular political feat given the high level of anti-incumbency in Indian politics and the headwinds of a slowing Indian economy and record unemployment.
Here is a list of 27 reasons as to why and how Modi accomplished this feat.
1) After the Pulwama attack Modi bit the bullet with his Balakot air strikes. This reinforced his image in many different ways and particularly as a ‘strong leader’.
2) Modi enjoyed a corruption free image or perception given that there was no major ‘scam’ during his rule.
3) There was a big ‘Hindu vote’ consolidation which defeated the caste based opposition alliances in North India.
4) Modi enjoyed massive and unprecedented media propaganda support that built ‘Brand Namo’ and avoided criticism. This was made possible since most big media houses are owned by major business houses.
5) BJP offered Brand Modi but a disparate opposition had no one. Rahul Gandhi was laughed at and PM candidatures of volatile regional satraps like Mayawati and Mamata provoked fear.
6) Indian voters now seem to have less patience for the messy coalition governments of the past.
7) Yes, Indian people were unhappy with Demonetization and the bungling implementation of GST but they forgave Modi based on his stated intentions of attacking black money and improving tax collection respectively.
8) India has a huge youth voter base and is one of the world’s youngest countries. Modi captured the imagination of this huge youth base.
9) There were less leakages in government schemes due to direct transfer facilities that cut out the middleman.
10) Modi made unprecedented use of foreign trips to build his domestic image. His meetings with world leaders and speeches to non-resident Indians was branded well to show India got more prominence during his rule.
11) BJP was also on top of the game to use social media to send out direct messages, build a loyal base and counter any critical narrative. A lot of fake news created by its online supporters also helped the party.
12) BJP is a huge election machine with the ability to convert sentiments into votes
13) BJP has a dedicated cadre base including its parent organization the RSS.
14) Bad memories of UPA-2 lingered with voters.
15) There is farm distress and anti-incumbency but state BJP governments were blamed.
16) There is a deep fascination for a ‘strong leader’ especially among India’s middle class and youth and Modi best represented this.
17) This was also a part of the global phenomenon of a sharp swing towards the right from Brazil to Philippines.
18) Modi has a lot of charisma and an undeniable ability to connect with the masses coupled with his superior oratory skills.
19) The ‘Rafael’ jets issue brought up by the Congress was always to complicated with no smoking gun like a money trail.
20) As alleged by the opposition and critics there was a co-opting of Institutions and this meant no legal or quasi-legal headaches.
21) There was viable national opposition party. For voters, regional satraps are only Chief Minister material.
22)’It’s not the economy stupid,’ but national security, muscular nationalism, identity, branding and lack of an effective opposition and counter-narrative.
23) People giving Modi a second chance since he seemed to be the only one who wanted it more than the others.
24) Modi represented a ‘new India’ which is a break from its post-independence Nehruvian past or consensus.
25) Nehru and Indira Gandhi adopted the Soviet economic model in 50s and 70s with inefficient state run enterprises. Inability to control corruption, cronyism and failure to deliver services meant that India’s elite failed. This explains the appeal of Modi who branded himself as an opposite of the above.
26) Indians are deeply proud of India but there is also an acknowledgement among them that their country has underperformed domestically and internationally over the decades. This is borne out by foreign observations. For an economic comparison look at neighboring China. Modi used this to his advantage.
27) BJP in 90’s had the temple issue and L.K Advani to put them on the map. It then had Vajpayee for respectability and acceptability among coalition partners. Modi came in with with the Gujarat development model, nationalism, leadership cult, majority polarization, anger against past and the elite and a new vision for India.
By Tenzing Lamang
The writer is the Editor of the paper and the article represents his own views.