May 18, 2014
(Published in Indian Express on 17-05-14)
A historic election has come to an end. The BJP started its journey three decades ago with the slogan of “United India-Strong India”. The challenge came from not just the divisive politics of caste and religion but also a formidable section of the intelligentsia. It is the journey of that idea of India that culminated in the historic victory yesterday, in the process decimating the politics of caste, religion and vote banks. That idea has become pan-Indian, encompassing all regions and sections of society. That is the central message of this election, and therein lies the future of India.
Starting with just two seats in 1984, the BJP rose quickly to become the ruling party by 1996. There was no looking back after that. Thirty years after its first election, the party has registered a thumping victory in 2014. Undoubtedly, the credit goes to Narendra Modi. He turned this election into a quasi-presidential one. He travelled to every nook and corner of the country, addressed thousands of meetings and occupied many hours of airtime. In the process, he set a new benchmark in politics that might be difficult for any future leader to meet.
In Modi and the BJP, the people of this country have seen not only an alternative government to the disastrous one headed by the Congress, but an alternative vision, too. It is that vision that sets Modi apart. He has an economic vision that cares for the last man — the proverbial chaiwala. It is this vision that has brought millions of India’s poor to him, deserting their traditional caste-based parties.
He has a much-discussed social vision. He views India as one, above the differences of caste, religion and region. “Justice for all and appeasement of none” — the traditional conviction of the BJP marks Modi’s social vision, which seems to have attracted large sections of the minorities. Above all, Modi’s clean and efficient governance model, as against the dynastic, corrupt and inefficient one provided by the Congress, appears to be the game-changer.
Modi is driven by the passion to make India strong. India needs a strong economy that caters to the last man by invoking the mantra of development and growth. It should strengthen the hands of the poor by facilitating more employment. It shouldn’t turn them into perpetual beggars, surviving at the mercy of the government-offered doles. For that, our infrastructure has to improve quickly. India’s security, both external and internal, needs greater attention. We have to pay special attention to strengthening our border infrastructure.
Most importantly, we need to address the serious problem of corruption and mal-governance. Corruption is eating into the vitals of our nation, killing our efficiency; it is leading to severe social unrest, violence and breeding insurgencies. There is also a need to strengthen our social fabric. We need a government that treats all people as equals and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of their religion or region. It should be benevolent to all and tyrannical to none. No one, minority or majority, should feel discrimination or apprehension.
This is a tall order. It requires great leadership qualities, like clarity of vision, courage of conviction, will power, selflessness and team spirit. In Modi, the people of India have perhaps seen all those qualities. With great hope and anticipation, they have voted him to power.
The RSS cadres have worked tirelessly with two specific mandates; one, to reach out to the people and inform them of the challenges the country is facing today and the need for a change in government to overcome them; and two, to encourage more people to use their franchise. It gives us immense satisfaction that there has been remarkable success on both counts. People have voted for good government and in the process, polling percentages too have gone up in different parts of the country.
With a sense of contentment we return to our core activity outside the political arena, of character-building and social service. We have complete trust and faith in the present leadership to take appropriate decisions in matters like the formation of the cabinet, setting the agenda for the new government, etc. The RSS doesn’t interfere in those matters.