Elections ’24 – Can history repeat itself?

Vipin Pubby

Vipin Pubby

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There are precedents when perceptions have proved false and elections have thrown up unexpected results

The coming Lok Sabha elections are one of the few such elections in which most people believe that the results are a foregone conclusion. The debate appears to be only on the point about how many seats would the BJP or the NDA alliance win.

This perception has been created partly due to the aggressive campaign strategy of the BJP. And partly it is due to the fragmented opposition with the INDIA alliance virtually collapsing and lacking a cohesive strategy to take on the BJP.

The ruling party appears to have diverted attention from serious issues like rising unemployment, inflation, widening of gap between the rich and the poor and the controversial electoral bonds which turned out to be one of the biggest exercise in extortion from industrial houses.

The weaponisation of agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department and the stranglehold over vast sections of mainstream electronic media and various constitutional posts.

At the same time various welfare schemes, including the free ration to 80 crore poor, has been announced. While it is sad that we have not been able to bring half our population above the poverty line since the independence, the announcement that the scheme would continue for the next five years, implies that no effort is intended to make them self sufficient in the near future.

The freezing of the bank accounts of its principle opposition party, the Congress, has crippled the party financially and the latest report of the IT department planning to impose a heavy fine would deal another blow to the party.

kejriwal electionsThe arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in what appears to be an unnecessary move, after the declaration of elections has also caused a setback to the AAP.

Lack of a charismatic leader like Narendra Modi in the opposition is also considered a major disadvantage for the opposition.

There is, therefore, no wonder that the perception that has built up is that the BJP led NDA is now invincible.

However, the party can’t afford to take it easy nor it is doing so. There have been several instances in the past where apple cart of parties confident of winning have been upset and where leaderless parties have trumped parties which were considered stronger.

One only has to go back to 2004 Lok Sabha elections when the then BJP government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee dissolved the Lok Sabha ahead of its tenure in the belief that his party would win by a big margin. Its slogan of “Shining India”, however, didn’t attract the voters and the party lost the elections.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Manmohan Singh 

Congress emerged as the single largest party and staked claim to form the government with the support of its allies.

It is important to note that Dr Manmohan Singh became the prime minister even though he had not even contested the elections and was preparing to retire from active politics. Obviously the Congress had not projected any leader as its prime ministerial candidate.

Prior to that in 1991, PV Narasimha Rao, who had packed his bags to live with his son in Hyderabad, emerged as the prime minister after the elections which witnessed the tragic assassination of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi after the first phase of elections.

VP Singh and Chandrashekhar were among others who were never projected as prime ministerial candidates.

electionsAlthough the Congress has again not declared any one as its prime ministerial candidate, the perception is that Rahul Gandhi might emerge as the choice if by any chance Congress is elected to power. He is obviously no match to Narendra Modi.

Yet given the past experiences, the BJP is not taking any chances and is putting all its resources and efforts to win the elections with means fair and foul. punjab


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ਉੱਲੂ ਨੇਤਾ ਅਤੇ ਭੇਡਮਈ ਵੋਟਰ

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Vipin Pubby

Vipin Pubby

The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.

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