The Karnataka elections were supposed to be dead and buried a couple of months ago with the Congress confident of claiming an absolute majority. Not many pundits or pollsters gave the BJP a chance to be able to continue that winning momentum, however, the results have once again proven the naysayers wrong.
I don’t find it hard or hyperbole to proclaim Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the first real mass popular leader post-independence whose appeal can unify a nation. The fact that BJP has fallen short of an absolute majority and may not form the government in Karnataka does not take anything away from this election performance.
There are a couple of reasons which I believe make the emergence of the BJP as the single largest party of Karnataka very pertinent. This victory has not been borne out of poll-bound promises or concessions. In fact, to the surprise of a lot of people, the Indian Prime Minister has been able to stick to the path of fiscal discipline that he set the country on.
The government has so far resisted the temptation to curry favor by offering fuel subsidies or promising reservations or trying to divide the country on religious lines. This mandate of the people shows that the ‘Modi Wave’ is not fleeting but keeps on coming to wash the opposition over.
BJP’s continued success and the faith that people have in the government is something that is omnipresent across castes, religions, generations of people, and across all economic strata of society.
This is why I believe that it is time now for the BJP to be truly visionary and heal some deep wounds of the past. To be considered as someone who understands the dominant religion of the country in its unadulterated sense, the BJP must start to put in measures for the upliftment of the backward castes and improve their position in society.
Only once Hinduism evolves to recognize all members of its faith as equal will it be able to move forward into the modern time with confidence and authority. For too long political parties have used the backward and oppressed castes as vote banks during elections but then forgotten afterward.
Photo-ops for newspapers and social media have become the norm but a little scratching under the surface shows that much remains the same. It may seem difficult or even an insurmountable task for one leader to build bridges between sections of society that have remained at odds for so long but there has never been a leader who has evoked such passion and praise from all sections of the society before either.
Everyone sees something that they like in Prime Minister Modi. The business community sees someone who is able to remove impediments and put in structures for sustainable growth, the voting public sees an incorruptible leader that works tirelessly, while the youth sees a man that believes technology can help India leapfrog generations of progress to the pinnacle of the world.
I also see all of that but in addition, I also see the man who has the potential to bring vast sections of people left behind by countless politicians together and make the nation immeasurably stronger.