The Economic Times
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

View: The second coming of Narendra Modi has made many dynasts appear irrelevant

The second coming of Narendra Modi has made many dynasts appear irrelevant.

, TOI Contributor|
Updated: May 25, 2019, 12.35 PM IST
The magnitude of the Modi victory has rendered hitherto caste fiefdoms largely redundant.
The Modi tsunami, where for the first time after 1971 a party has come back to power with an absolute majority larger than what it had before, unveils the beginning of a ‘new politics’. It is crucial for all political players to understand what this connotes, for they can ignore the takeaways only at their own peril.

First, this tsunami has overwhelmed dynastic politics. It has been accepted for too long that progenies of high profile politicians have an ordained right to succeed their parent. But, frankly, there is something abhorrent about the world’s largest democracy considering this par for the course. Until now, there was no real challenge to this distortion. However, the second coming of Narendra Modi has made many dynasts appear irrelevant.

The most dramatic instance is that of the Congress party. Rahul Gandhi, who is where he is solely on the basis of whose son he is, needs to accept responsibility for his party’s debacle, and, in the best traditions of democracy, offer to step down. Congress party is in urgent need of a new leadership, a new message, a new cadre, and a new operational strategy.

Tejashwi Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav need to internalise the same message. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) did not win a single seat in Bihar, and yet Tejashwi remains the leader of the party simply because he is the anointed son of Lalu Prasad. Akhilesh may claim preeminence as the son of Mulayam, but lineage cannot guarantee performance. His wife, Dimple, has lost the election, as have other members of his family.

Second, the magnitude of the Modi victory has rendered hitherto caste fiefdoms largely redundant. Thus far, conventional politics tended to rely on the political arithmetic of caste or community. For instance, in UP, the Samajwadi-Bahujan Samaj Party combine was based on the assumption that Yadav, Jatav, Dalits and Muslim votes would take the alliance past the finishing line. In Bihar, for years now the Muslim-Yadav combine was considered impregnable. The Modi tsunami has swept these caste citadels aside. It is increasingly clear that in the new scenario, caste arithmetic can be finessed by political chemistry.

Third, the ‘new politics’ has inaugurated a new process of leadership evaluation. The voter, rising above primeval loyalties, is aggressively asking who in the political firmament is best suited to provide the leadership the nation needs. Narendra Modi may have his detractors, but his leadership qualities could just not be matched by anybody in the opposition. He combined eloquence, charisma, decisiveness, will, vision, cultural rootedness and indefatigable energy, that won over even his most trenchant critics. Henceforth, the people of India will look at someone at the helm of a party in terms of leadership qualities and not inheritance or entitlement.

Fourth, the 2019 election has shown that the people of India want a credible narrative. In the case of BJP, a clear-cut narrative was crafted. It consisted of development economics, focussing on the welfare benefits that had touched the quality of lives of people, be it through toilets, housing, electricity, direct benefit transfers, gas connections, health schemes and infrastructure projects. To this was added a muscular opposition to appeasement politics, which tapped into the Hindu backlash, starting from the Shah Bano case of 1985, that perceives ‘vote bank’ politics prevailing over an equitable respect for all religions. Nationalism was a third ingredient that, especially after the Balakot attack, resonated with the people.

The narrative was enriched by the slogan of ‘New India’. India is a young, aspirational and impatient country, with 65% of its people below the age of 35. The young are tired of the formulas of the past. Their surge of upward mobility wants to embrace the possibility of the new – new possibilities, new avenues, new vision and new opportunities – for personal advancement that go beyond the dole mongering welfarism of other parties. BJP did not spell out in minute detail what the New India will be, but the slogan and the intent to create one had an appeal by itself.

Fifth, in this era of ‘new politics’, no state bastion is immune. The concept is pan-Indian in scope and will, therefore, continuously seek expansion. This has been demonstrated by the inroads BJP has made in Odisha, the north-east, and even more dramatically in Bengal, which was considered by most political pundits as a fortress reserved for the formidable Didi. There are exceptions to this rule, such as most notably, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. But there is no guarantee that BJP will not make a dent there as well in course of time.

It must be hoped that this ‘new politics’ will function in the true spirit of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. In pursuance of this goal, the legacies of Adi Shankaracharya, and of Chanakya, will be crucial. The Jagad Guru emphasised the importance of sabhya samvad, civilised discourse, where even an opponent was treated with democratic respect. Chanakya, the great strategist, welcomed opposing points of view, but was unsentimentally focussed on the importance of enlightened statecraft, and the basic premise that, ultimately, the strength of a nation lies in the social harmony prevailing within.

(The writer is an author and member of JD(U). Views are personal)

Also Read

PM Narendra Modi greets people on Lohri

Indians are determined to achieve even in the face of adversity: Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi to address 'Mann Ki Baat' on January 26 at 6 pm

Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping discuss future of RCEP

PM Narendra Modi to chair meeting of experts at Niti Aayog on Jan 9

Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.

Other useful Links

Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service