ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unbearable Burden of Expectations

Having raised hopes to unrealistic levels, Modi has to re-emphasise the Sangh’s majoritarian agenda.

The spectacular electoral victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh (UP) has been perceived as a personal triumph for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has raised the expectations of the poor for a better future. Given the direction of this government’s economic policies, the creation of new employment opportunities will pose huge challenges. Modi will thus have no choice but to fall back on the hyper-nationalist Hindu majoritarian agenda traditionally espoused by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). His confidence that the 2019 general elections will see him emerge as an even stronger “supreme leader” of the “second republic of India” is predicated on the disarray in the ranks of his political opponents who would find it difficult to unite and put one’s ­finger on sites of resistance to his hegemonistic influence.

BJP candidates won in over 80% of the assembly constituencies in the country’s most populous state where one out of six Indians reside. For many of UP’s voters, Modi represented “hope” of a better future. His image as an energetic and incorruptible leader with no family to favour clearly struck a chord among a large number of the poor. Never since 1971, when Indira Gandhi was at the peak of her popularity after the creation of Bangladesh, has a single individual so totally dominated the Indian polity as Modi. Never has a prime minister so actively and energetically campaigned in state elections as Modi did on this occasion. Never has a political party in UP so completely and so blatantly excluded from its scheme of things the Muslims who comprise almost a fifth of the state’s population. The message to the Muslims was clear: since you are not going to vote for the BJP in any case, why should we even contemplate putting up a single Muslim candidate?

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Updated On : 28th Aug, 2017
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