Narendra Modi has reshaped the National Political Space
Political Movements at the National Level in India have broadly four schools of origin. The foremost historically was the Indian National Congress and its offshoots which include the present day Congress Party. The Communist movement that owes its origins to the erstwhile USSR and to some extent present day China has practically become irrelevant in India. The Socialist movement that traces its origins to Ram ManoharLohia and Jayprakash Narayan has since splintered into narrow regional or caste based parties with little national weight. Assorted regional parties and recent political upstarts can barely lay claim to any national space. At the national level the political space before India went polls in 2014 was largely dominated by the Congress Party with the BJP mostly looking like a Super Regional Party.
To fully understand the magnitude of the 2014 Lok Sabha results in favor of the Narendra Modi led BJP one needs to recognize how the National picture stands flipped with the BJP occupying the dominant National Political Space stretching all the way across the North and the West while recovering ground down South and making heavy inroads into the East. In stark contrast lies the Congress which is not only down to its all-time historic low tally but has also now been reduced to a super-regional party with practically no presence in the large heartland states.
Congress has been reduced to a super-regional party with no heartland presence
Consider the extent of the Congress wipe-out –
Starting from Jammu & Kashmir it has no representatives in the Lok Sabha in the Northern States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the National Capital Region of Delhi. It has been reduced to single digits in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. To the west it has zero MPs from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa while Maharashtra its erstwhile bastion managing only single digits presence. In the South the Congress has zero MPs from Tamil Nadu and Seemandhra it has been reduced to single digit presence in Karnataka and Telangana. The Congress has no presence in Lok Sabha from Jharkhand, Nagaland, Odisha, Tripura and Sikkim to the east. Even most Union Territories turned their back on the Congress. The Congress today suffers the ignominy of having no state with double digit MPs in the Lok Sabha even as it is being challenged by Jayalalitha’s ADMK and Mamata Banerjee’s TMC for the principal Opposition space in the Lok Sabha.
This is the magnitude of the damage inflicted by Narendra Modi’s campaign on the Congress Party.This however does not even begin to tell the story of how Narendra Modi has reshaped the BJP’s electoral landscape perhaps irreversibly so.
Narendra Modi has stitched a new Social Coalition
With a record 282 Lok Sabha seats out of the 543 Narendra Modi is the first non-Congress leader to have led his party to a simple majority in the Lok Sabha. This is a national feat that has so far been the exclusive preserve of the Nehru-Gandhi family.
If the magnitude of the win tells the story of the BJP’s national spread today it is the demographic complexion of the win that tells the real story of the BJP’s national depth.
The BJP won 40 out of the 84 Lok Sabha seats reserved for the SC community, almost 47% of seats with many dalit Women MPs winning from these seats as well. The BJP also won 27 out of the 47 Lok Sabha seats reserved for the ST community, almost 69%. The NDA alliance between the different parties garnered a staggering 62% of all SC seats and 70% of all ST seats. With 28 women Lok Sabha MPs the BJP also hit a new benchmark of 10% of its tally going to women.
Narendra Modi has not just led the BJP to victory on terms unimagined but has done so riding on the back of wave a demographic wave of aspirations unlike anything the BJP had ever managed in the past. Narendra Modi’s BJP has shattered all previous political stereotypes traditionally associated with the Vajpayee/Advani era BJP of the 1980s-190s and the erstwhile Jan Sangh. The social coalition that Narendra Modi has stitched is unique in its demographic complexion, its geographic spread, its gender mix and its mandate.
This Mandate of Hope and Aspirations must shape Narendra Modi’s Team
This is a mandate for Narendra Modi to realize the neo-aspirations of a large swathe of the population cutting across caste, regional and religious fault-lines. It has empowered him to take India in a new direction without bowing to any kind of parochial pressures, without giving into any kind of petty piques and without indulging anybody’s sense of entitlement to pelf or privilege in the next Government.
This mandate also marks the beginning of a new epoch in the broad political movement that gave birth to the Jan Sangh in the 1950s and the BJP in the 1980s. If its first generation was the Dr. SP Mookerjee, Pt. DeendayalUpadhyay era and its second generation was the Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani era, we now mark its third generation under Narendra Modi. Apart from the national mandate to govern India he now also has the political mandate to remake this movement to reflect his philosophy of Governance.
A billion dreams and aspirations now look up to Narendra Modi. As he goes about the process of forming his government it is these dreams and aspirations that must shape and influence the composition of his team and nothing else.