Who Saw 300 Seats Coming? Modi Did

Published: May 17, 2014 10:45 IST
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(Captain GR Gopinath founded Air Deccan and is considered a pioneer in the low-cost airline sector. He joined Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party in January this year.)

The pre-poll surveys and the exit polls got it right largely, though no one predicted such an overwhelming victory for the BJP on its own steam and such a crushing and humiliating defeat for the Congress and its allies. But one political leader repeatedly emphasised in television interviews with calm self-assurance that he was confident that people would give the BJP a convincing majority. That was Narendra Modi himself.

The victory of Modi is the story of the new resurgent and vibrant India, it is the story of possibilities. It is the story of triumph over adversity, of hope over despair. If any proof were needed, that in spite of crushing poverty, insurmountable odds and disadvantages of caste and backwardness and want of education, that with persistence, courage, energy and optimism one can succeed then Modi has provided that amply to the youth of this country - not just with his own victory but by leading his party to cross the magic figure of 272 on its own.

It was in a sense a quasi-presidential election where Modi was projected as the man to lead the country out of its despondency and morass that it had found itself in under the Congress leadership. That vote of the people for a new government under Modi and the BJP must be respected.

Beneath all the rhetoric, fireworks and sometimes vicious attacks from Modi himself, there was essentially three important promises that Modi made to the people when he said ' Give me 300 seats and 60 months ' to change India.

First , communal harmony. He has said he will be fair to all and that the Constitution should be "our only scripture". There will be neither minority appeasement nor imposition of majoritarianism. Next, more governance and less government. Which means that he will help rid the country of corruption, scams, and crony capitalism that plagued the country under UPA.  He has vowed systemic reforms of institutions.

And lastly, his focus will be on development. Sab ke saath , sab ka vikas, which was his favourite slogan. Development for all, regardless of their caste, creed or religion. One speech analyst from The New York Times, who studied Modi's speech along with other political leaders, said Modi used "development" five hundred times in speeches as against one when he used words associated with Hindutva ideology which was also in a context where he couldn't be faulted.

So what can others do?

The political parties who will be in opposition and the people who did not vote for him?

The parties must behave responsibly and with dignity in Parliament and come together and give time to Modi to settle down and hold him accountable to the promises he made in the election manifesto and also in his speeches and be a good watchdog against misdeeds and misrule in an honest and bi-partisan way to build an economically strong India so that there is equitable growth. A good and alert opposition is the bedrock of democracy.

Civil society has now come to play a vital role in holding the government to account after the Anna movement, along with the media, which wields enormous power.

They must help Modi deliver on his promise by being constructive and if he errs and crosses the line, then courageously, dispassionately and objectively expose it so that Modi delivers on his promise of building a corruption-free, prosperous and proud India which joins the comity of a developed economy in the widest sense of the word.

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