The BJP has won a second consecutive term at the Centre and has increased its vote share to 45 per cent; it was 38 percent in 2014. This achievement is not easy. The party has almost won the vote of every second voter in India. A lot of theories would be written in the coming weeks on how PM Narendra Modi managed to put up such a spectacular show across the country. To put it simply, it is the good intent expressed through welfare schemes, economic reforms and actions on national security by the Modi government and the trust people have on Modi that this man can deliver on almost every issue of the nation, if not in the first term, at least in the second term, made him preferred choice of voters and gave Modi this stupendous victory.
Look at the welfare schemes: gas cylinders for poor women, toilets for underprivileged families, electricity to the last village, Mudra loans for self-employment and small business expansion, LED bulbs at affordable prices, health insurance scheme for poor families, Prime Minister Awas Yojana, etc. Agreed that these schemes have not achieved 100 per cent success, but people understood that the Modi government had the intention to change their lives. Modi thereby gained the trust of the people; Indians hoped another term for Modi would improve the deliverables. With welfare schemes, the BJP, which enjoyed higher support among men than women in 2014, tilted the support base favourably among women across castes, religions and regions in 2019.
Take economic reforms, whether it is GST or digital push after demonetisation, people had to cope with the changes that these huge reforms brought. But, the government, by listening to the people, brought a lot of changes in GST tariff in consultation with state governments and reduced the tariff on most of the regular use items and simplified the procedure as much as possible. The pain due the introduction of GST reduced significantly within one-and-a-half years of its introduction. People understand that demonetisation was not aimed at penalising the common man who uses currency for daily transaction but to track those who have been evading taxes by doing big deals through currency only.
Sections of the media and the opposition complained a lot that India witnessed economic slowdown during Modi’s regime citing either reduced sales of cars or two-wheelers or refrigerators or some other consumption data. If that is the case, why it did not pinch the common man? The economic growth during Modi’s first tenure was 7.25 per cent and inflation was 3.75 per cent. Compare this with Manmohan’s second term: growth of 7.45 per cent and inflation of 9.88 per cent. Voters may not be aware of these statistics, but they know from their experiences that the minimal price rise compensates for the moderate growth during Modi’s regime, which is much better than moderate growth and higher inflation. Hoping for higher growth and lesser inflation in his next term, voters gave thumbs up to Modi.
No one can deny that when food prices are under control, the farmers take the hit. But the same farmers also benefit partially when there is no noticeable price rise as farmers are also consumers of items. The resolve on the part of the government to double farmers’ income by introducing PM Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil health card, e-NAM, Jaivik Kheti, mKisan, PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana, etc and the immediate relief in the form of PM Kisan Yojana (`6,000 per year for small/marginal farmers) made farmers to repose faith in Modi. Farmers are ready to wait till 2022 for their income to double under Modi’s regime.
In India, public governance is synonymous with corruption. People have been witnessing corruption at the governments of union, state and local bodies for many decades. But Modi gave a clean government and no opposition party or media was able to attribute any solid corruption case against the Centre. The trust increases when people witness a corruption-free government.
There were no terror attacks in the major cities unlike what India witnessed during the UPA regime. And there was no retaliation for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. In contrast, the terror attacks that targeted Army and CRPF personnel during the Modi regime were dealt with a befitting reply through surgical strikes. What more can the common man expect from such a decisive prime minister who leaves no stone unturned when it comes to security of the nation? People have said that the country is safe in the hands of Modi through this verdict.
The resounding victory people gave to Modi to rule for another term does not mean that people think all their issues are resolved once for all. But, by looking at his administration, voters took cognizance of his good intention to reach out to the really under privileged across the board and deliver welfare schemes. They saw him pushing economic reforms in the larger interest of the nation, not bothering about the immediate fallout. They saw him not compromising on national security. It is the good intent and hard work of Modi that made people give a massive verdict in his favour. And now they have hopes over his second term.
Public policy analyst