General Elections are around the corner in India and much has been written already on all the achievements of the incumbent Modi government. A lot has also been written about all that Mr. Narendra Modi has not been able to complete in his first five-year term.
The average Indian voter is primarily interested in getting:
- A clean administration since we have been angered and frustrated with the incredible amount of corruption that has been seen over the last 70 years in various non-BJP governments.
- Strong economic growth of the country which will lead to wealth creation and job creation.
- A secure environment without constantly having to look for potential threats that could physically harm us and our families. We do not want to keep looking over our shoulders. Nor do we want to keep looking under tables and chairs for unidentified bags.
- A clean environment with all the necessities of life so that we can live normal lives with our families.
Let us explore and examine the reasons why I believe not only why Mr Narendra Modi should be voted back to power but why I believe he will be voted back to power.
- Positive Report card: During the last elections in 2014 Mr Modi had promised that he would come back to the electorate in 2019 with his report card. A lot has been written about the significant achievements in the first five-year term. In overall terms, the electorate is satisfied with Mr Modi’s governance and the direction he has set for India. No one, barring some of the opposition leaders, expected miracles within one term.
- Economy: India is now the sixth largest economy in the world and the second largest in terms of purchasing power parity. The more important fact is that Mr Modi has put India on the track for quick growth in the next decade. Here is a leader who has not hesitated to take the strongest possible decisions whether they relate to the economy or to make fundamental course corrections such as the bankruptcy code.
- Clean Government: Mr Modi has clearly established even in the minds of his deterrents that he is squeaky clean. He has made every possible effort to make sure that there is no corruption in his government. There has been no major or minor scam in the past five years. Most of us have been used to paying for what is normally our right. These are simple necessities like getting our driving licence or getting a new passport where we used to look for touts. This has stopped completely.
- Indian Passport: The Indian passport is clearly far more respected today than it was 30 years ago. I say this with considerable personal experience having travelled around the World over the last four decades. Never before, has the Indian passport been received so willingly and without so many questions by immigration officials around the world.
- Foreign policy: India now stands tall in the comity of nations. India has managed to develop extremely good relationships with all neighbouring states barring Pakistan. At the same time India has managed to keep strong independent relationships with USA and Russia, Iran and Israel as well as a grudging economic relationship with China. While putting an embargo on Iran, the United States agreed to let India continue buying oil from them. Air India can now fly over Saudi Arabia to Israel and when Mr Modi flew from Jordan to Palestine, Israeli aircraft provided him security.
- Mahagathbandhan: The mahagathbandhan clearly is not working. Certainly not in the manner that Rahul Gandhi had envisaged with him being crowned as the leader by one and all. None of the constituents of this motley group of regional leaders have any common minimum programme nor do they represent a similar set of values that they can present to the electorate. The warring mahagathbandhan leaders are showing their true colours as they keep talking with forked tongues. Criticising and praising their alliance partners in the same breath. All that they have is a single point agenda of removing Mr Modi. Opposition leaders openly state that an alliance maybe possible for the Lok Sabha elections but not for the State elections. The Indian electorate is much smarter than what these political parties would like to believe. Do they really think that we voters are so stupid?
- Rahul Gandhi: Mr Gandhi has not been able to deliver anything of consequence and though he would like to believe that his victory in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was only on account of him, if one looks at the electoral votes cast the numbers tell a different story. Mr Gandhi has not announced any clear vision or path for India. He has nothing positive to say except harp on the achievements of his predecessors. He simply raves and rants on the Rafale deal hoping that some corruption charges will stick to Mr Modi. No one believes him. He is becoming a laughing stock for not only the electorate but most of his party members as well.
- Hindi Heartland: The Hindi heartland clearly still has its heart with Mr Modi. Yes, they voted the BJP out in three states but when it comes to national elections, they will go out and vote in very large numbers for Mr Modi who is clearly the tallest leader in the country today. The Ayodhya Ram Mandir is a big issue in the minds of a significant number of voters which is why Mr Gandhi’s loyal spokespersons have started to chant the slogan that only the Congress can build the temple. When it comes to the temple, everyone knows that only the BJP can see this through to its logical conclusion.
- Infrastructure: There is visible improvement in India’s infrastructure. From building new roads to airports and from significantly improved power supply to super-fast trains, the path towards improved infrastructure is there for everyone to see. Prior to 2014, we had taken “load shedding” as a part of our daily lives. This has now stopped. The voter believes that much more needs to be done and is willing to give time to Mr Modi to complete what he started.
- Tough on Terror: The Election Commission has estimated that there are over 80 million new voters who will exercise their franchise for the first time in 2019. They have no links to Ayodhya or the Ram Temple but in Mr Modi, these millennials see a leader who has the courage to hit back fast and hit back hard. They see an overall improvement in their lifestyle, and they can see the visible change in global attitude towards India. This is what will guide them to the “lotus” on election day.
- Pulwama and Balakot: While no one should use National Security and the Armed Forces for meeting political ends, the reality of the Pulwama terrorist attack and the subsequent Balakot air strikes are there for everyone to see. If the opposition had not put their foot in their mouth talking of Mr Modi’s 56 inch chest after the Pulwama attack, they would not have had to grind their nose in dust after the air strikes. This will clearly be in the minds of the voter on polling day.
- Rural Economy: Though the opposition parties would like us to believe otherwise, the figures of the fast-moving consumer goods companies and the automobile companies show a significant improvement in their sales in rural India. This could not have been possible if there was acute stress. If anything, Mr Modi has focussed his attention on the poor. Yes, more needs to be done for rural India and it is being done.
Over the past few months there is a new wind that is filling the big sails of the Bhartiya Janata Party and it is forging ahead with renewed confidence. Allies are coming back to the party and leaders from opposition parties are joining the BJP.
Even the most hardened opposition supporters know that the alternatives being presented by the multiple opposition parties are frightening, to say the least. They cannot visualize a musical-chairs like situation for the position of the Prime Minister with a new incumbent every few months when the music stops!
The voters, who will take the final decision when they press the button of the Electronic Voting Machine know that they cannot let Mr Modi lose the election.
The best is yet to come.