Analysis: “Modi Government Wins Another Term in India” -Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’
If you have been living in the dungeon of cable and network crap, you, probably, don’t know that the people of India elected a new parliament on May 23, 2019 for the seventeenth time since India became a democratic republic on January 26, 1950 (not to be confused with Indian independence on August 15, 1947). Narendra Modi’s party, BJP (India’s People’s Party) won the majority for a second consecutive term for another five years. Thus Narendra Modi will retain his position as the prime minister of India since he is the undisputed leader of his party.
Held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May, 2019 Lok Sabha (lower house) elections saw a galaxy of opposition leaders shed their personal differences to take on Modi. It was probably for the first time that an entire election was fought either in support of or against one man – Narendra Damodardas Modi.
The election was a referendum on Mr. Modi’s policy of strong India. BJP (Mr. Modi’s party) will attempt to fulfil everything it promised in the party manifesto, including the contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC). Though the opposition, especially West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has been most vocal against the implementation of the NRC in the states, the BJP will remain undaunted in its goal of identifying illegal immigrants from Bangladesh across the country.
The referendum bears bad news for the Congress Party (liberal and socialist) of India led by Rahul Gandhi, the great grandson of India’s first prime minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Rahul Gandhi’s Italian mother, Sonia Gandhi. The Congress party ruled India for 49 years directly or by proxy. The Congress Party favors illegal immigrants and wants to treat them as Indian citizens with the right to vote as they (illegal immigrants) constitute Congress Party’s vote bank.
The Modi government has achieved tremendous success to curb terrorism in the last five years. Thus, there will be no change in the security policy with regard to Kashmir and Left Wing Extremism. On the other hand, the government might come down even more heavily on terrorists. With 2016 surgical strikes and the 2019 Balakot air strike against terrorist camps in Pakistan, PM Modi proved that he was not averse to taking tough decisions when it came to national security.
Mr. Modi and his BJP party will do everything within their power to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution and Article 35A, which give the state of Jammu and Kashmir (the only Muslim majority state of India) an autonomous status and prohibits citizens from other parts of India to settle there while there is no accountability for murdering and snatching properties of their Hindu citizens who have moved to another parts of India as refugees in their own country.
Under BJP-led government military buildup will continue to ensure that India’s military strength keeps increasing. New defense deals will be struck as India is still looking to meet the fast depleting numbers of fighter squadrons in the Air Force. Modern and more effective assault rifles for the Army and other equipment needed to guard the borders with Pakistan and China will be procured during Modi’s second term.
Hindu hardliners who support the BJP have the Ram Mandir as their demand. The BJP might do everything possible to make the temple a reality by 2024. Lord Rama was Hindu’s equivalent of Jesus. The Muslim rulers destroyed his temple and made a mosque in its place. The Hindus want their holy place back but previous governments and the Supreme Court of India have always deferred the decision due to the fear of Muslim retaliation.
A full majority might help the government implement the BJP’s push to make triple talaq by the Muslim men a criminal offence. Though passed in the Lok Sabha on multiple occasions, the Bill got stalled in the upper house due to the opposition. Many Muslim women have been sympathetic to the BJP for this very reason and have indicated a favorable inclination towards the BJP. The BJP will, therefore, try to maintain its goal of getting the Bill turned into a law.
Modi will learn from some failed moves such as demonetization and hefty promises of creating smart cities and eradicating all the ills of interstate trade through GST tax reform. The government this time will most likely, will try to steer clear from such policies.
Though India’s economy is the fastest growing in the world, the mounting unemployment and poverty in villages is a blemish on India. Mr. Modi will have to solve this dual problem otherwise people may get disillusioned with him.
How does this impact Indo-US relationship? Indo-American bilateral ties will be stronger. The objectives of both countries today are challenged primarily by China. Beijing threatens US hegemony both regionally within Asia and globally, and it threatens India’s security and influence along their common borders, in India’s near and extended neighborhood, and across Asia at large
Trump’s administration has always favored India over Pakistan and worked hard to declare Masood Azhar a terrorist. They will work more intensely against a common enemy, radical Islam.