The Congress rule of fifty out of sixty seven years since India’s independence is severely hammered by a hardliner and ethnic Hindu leader, Narendra Modi, in recently concluded general elections. According to latest reports, Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 284 seats in Lok Sabha (parliament), surpassing 272 seats to establish government— enabling itself to constitute government solely and if needed with its allies. 100 million new voters changed the game and ruling party went down and under to a massive wave of BJP in nearly all parts of the country. The Congress could only manage 57 in a parliament of 543 seats. Similarly, the Aam Aadmy Party, which gained extensive popularity and compelled mainstream parties to shift focus form bashing Pakistan to interior crisis of corruption, unemployment and inflation, also failed to mark its name and only secured 4 seats.
This was the largest democratic poll on the planet with 500 million voting out of total 814 million registered voters. The turnout remained 66.38 % which also is a record in Indian elections, outnumbering 1984 record of 64%. There were widespread jubilations in streets of Gujrat (Modi’s home state) and all other major cities since the initial counting report unofficially leaked. In a statement Congress President Sonia Gandhi has accepted defeat by saying ‘We humbly respect the verdict of the people’.
Modi’s chances as premier are vivid however; his nomination got relatively mixed responses in the views of Indian analysts and of the world. Though Indians had the choice to select any candidate nevertheless, many believe, even in India, that Modi’s selection will depict ethnic and fragmented face of largest democracy of the world. Mr. Modi became Chief Minister of Gujrat in 2001 and only one year after he assumed power, Gujrat was wrecked with ruthless and brutal Hindu-Muslim riots of its history, leaving thousands dead and injured. Despite allegations of involvement in 2002 riots, Mr. Modi didn’t apologize to Muslims at any level however, he regretted over this issue once. It was a fear before polls that Muslims will turn into a hard nut to crack and therefore could minute BJP’s expected triumph but despite that BJP won all 26 seats of Gujrat and this whitewash broke the earlier Congress record of getting 25 seats from Gujrat. Conversely, many believe that Modi’s government will ease the trade barriers and red tape snags. The state of Gujrat experienced tremendous development under Modi’s leadership mainly due to nonexistence of energy shortage and little meddling in establishing private business or investment, and therefore business class hoping the ‘Gujrat model’ in rest of the country too. Indian stock market also increased 18% this year anticipating BJP’s victory and Modi business friendly manifesto.
Initially during election oratories, Mr. Modi didn’t bashed Pakistan but as the 9 phase polls progressed, his tone turned stiff and devastating. He attributed Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism inside India and came hard at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also. Similarly he criticized Congress government for opting defensive and pathetic national and foreign policy. However, India is the largest buyer of military hardware/arms in the world and it purchased about $ 12.7 billion of arms from 2007 to 2011.
India projects itself secular state and attempts to snub the voices of some ethnic, largely Muslims, and separatists movements. It has distressed relations with Pakistan on several issues including the most significant Kashmir subject and it contemplates China as a regional and strategic threat to its global ambitions. New Delhi is in pursuit of becoming permanent member of United Nations and for this reason it has stretched wings to extra-regional countries, Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics are prime examples where Indian not only provided financial assistance but it has also signed defence agreements. In order to achieve its pervasive and overstretched goals, BJP and Mr. Modi have to alter orthodox strategy of relationship with Pakistan and China. Troubled neighbors, interior constraints in offsetting separatist’s activities and rising inflation could avert Indian ambitions of becoming ‘regional hegemonic’ and global contender.
The writer can be reached at email@example.com