Extremist electioneering

The lack of enthusiasm among once-loyal BJP voters is not just a political trend, but a reflection of deeper concerns

May 23, 2024


While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still expected to win his third term with a comfortable majority, his BJP’s pre-election claims of winning over 400 seats — a supermajority — have proven to be delusionally exaggerated. Although it is illegal to publish opinion poll results between the first and last stages of voting, independent analysts say the mood on the street and the frustration of BJP leaders suggest the party fears it may even lose seats. Even the analysts projecting an increase say the party will not threaten the 362-seat mark required for the two-thirds majority it would require to rewrite the constitution.

This is why the party is now mobilising the RSS to help rally support and keep Modi from being portrayed as the exaggerator in chief. With less than two weeks left, it will take a massive surge to get the BJP comfortably past 300, as many once-loyal BJP voters have not been particularly enthusiastic during the current election cycle.

The lack of enthusiasm among once-loyal BJP voters is not just a political trend, but a reflection of deeper concerns. The Hindutva fervour that propelled Modi into power has waned, and people are more concerned by his failure to address pressing issues. The country is at a crossroads, with policymakers seemingly prioritising the interests of a select few billionaires over the needs of millions of poor farmers and a burgeoning, highly educated youth population. The last five years have seen a worrying shift in the job market, with India losing industrial jobs and gaining agricultural ones. This points to a concerning trend of deindustrialisation that should not be happening in what is still a developing country.

Despite the government and friendly media’s efforts to gaslight voters into thinking of Modi as a miracle worker, the data shows that under Modi, economic growth has consistently been slower than analysts’ estimates — suggesting poor policymaking — and wealth disparities have reached record levels. If Mahatma Gandhi were alive today, the Quit India Movement would target Adani, Ambani and other ultrarich individuals.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2024.

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