Modi Victorious May Cope Better with Challenges Ahead
Changes in foreign policy have become inevitable
These election results provide a sense of stability which the Narendra Modi government requires to cope with the consequences of “our best friend” floundering from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and now Ukraine. The Western media painting Vladimir Putin in lurid colours does not quite disguise Joe Biden’s isolation, an outcome exactly the opposite of what the US President wanted.
Since the US debacle in Afghanistan, there is a certain inevitability about an entente with our neighbours. And something is astir towards that end.
Have you in recent years seen our channels telecast a positive story on India-Pakistan? Last month, for three days continuously, the channels reported that not a bullet had been fired by either side for a year: the ceasefire signed by the armies had held. Back channels are meeting in Muscat and Dubai. There are signs of good sense on the Chinese front too.
Had Modi done badly in the elections, the adjustments made necessary by changes in the region would have been seen as coming from a position of weakness. Given his obstinate nature, the “give” essential for forward movement would have been slow in coming. A buoyant Modi can with confidence roll up his sleeves, pore over the drawing board, and spell out alterations in foreign policy without any change in the key relationship.
The four-upon-five outcome has resulted in India’s 200 million Muslims feeling disheartened. “There is a soul of goodness in all things evil would men observingly distil it out.” Shakespeare is apt for the occasion. Changes in foreign policy have become inevitable. Those changes will be in everyone’s interest.
Could Akhilesh Yadav be your messiah? He has established beyond doubt that he simply does not have the “killer” instinct needed for big sport. He has now led his party to four defeats: two Assembly and two Parliament elections. The uncle he never got along with, Shivpal Yadav, won from Jaswant Nagar by a record 90,000 votes. Little wonder Mualyam Singh is toying with the idea of floating a Nav Samaj Party to cast the net beyond caste and shed the “loser” tag.
That there is a difference between advisers and a coterie neither the Gandhi family nor Akhilesh have understood. Akhilesh was advised to forge an alliance with Chandrashekhar Azad of the Azad Samaj Party. He happens to be an impressive Dalit leader whose spell in Yogi Adityanath’s jail had imparted to him a certain aura.
Akhilesh must rue the day he said no to the proposal. Look how Mayawati is now a cipher because the Dalit vote deserted her and fell for the BJP’s social engineering. And how clever. Field a hundred Dalit candidates to lure Dalit voters, secure in the knowledge that the candidate will win because the Upper castes too will vote for him since he represents the BJP. What a cleverly contrived electoral confluence of castes otherwise opposed to each other.
Without this massive shift of Dalit vote the outcome in UP may well have been different, because the vulgar edge given to the Hindu cause at the street level appears not to have increased the BJP numbers. Compared to 2017 the party is down by 52 seats.
The number of Muslims in the UP assembly is now 9% of the House – 36 seats. This inflates the SP numbers not because a caste party is in good health but because the Muslim vote, scared of the BJP, did not even sniff at the Congress and sought SP’s protection. Just as the Dalit and Upper castes drifted towards the BJP, Muslims and Yadavs made a beeline for the SP.
These new combinations do not entail anything more than 2+2 and so on. But chemistry will develop in due course.
There has been no numerical gain for the BJP by lumpenizing Hinduism. What gave it winning numbers was its secular, economic measures – rations, cash, money for housing. Is this not some kind of welfarism?
Will the experience of recent electoral battles therefore tone down the BJP’s saffron, smoothen its craggy rough edges? Or am I clothing the BJP in my wishful thinking because the image of a moderate BJP is quite incompatible with the Yogi’s habitual excesses?
Of the other dramatis personae in play does the Gandhi family not have an iota of pride and self-respect the way their own partymen call them names, insult them? They stay on, piling defeat upon defeat. How thick can a skin be?
The media, either on official signal or following its own class preference, keeps the Gandhis in play. Will the love-fest last after these results? This is a matter of concern even for the BJP. The Congress had become its pliant B team. Now it cannot be set up even as a scarecrow.
At this precise moment the Aam Aadmi Party has set the cat among the pigeons by rearing its head in Punjab. The BJP, Left parties, Congress on the brink of expiry will speak in one voice rubbishing Kejriwal for different reasons. Congress and the Left nurse a desire to revive, they know not where. The BJP sees in AAP a real threat; not a fake one, the Congress, it has so far cunningly kept in focus.
Remember AAP’s 67 seats out of 70 in 2015? How successive Lt. Governors shackled him, lest he run away with the show. The media was arrayed against him. He was soft-saffron, they said, a professional agitator. What the media did not play up was where he could be pinned down: Kejriwal turned callously away from the Delhi riots of February 2020.
Elsewhere in health, education, water, electricity, his team have been doers. The effort was palpable.
And now that the “doers” have arrived in Punjab, the New Delhi establishment will throw every obstacle in his way. To begin with, abruptly the Delhi Municipal elections have been cancelled for no rhyme or reason. Why? Because Kejriwal may just trounce the BJP, the first face to face combat after Delhi was first conquered in 2015.