Thursday July 18, 2024

After the election

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
June 03, 2019

This year after my visit to India, I predicted a win by more than 300 seats by the Narendra Modi led BJP alliance in India’s Lok Sabha elections. The historic landslide victory of Modi proved my estimate was realistic on the basis of ground realities and public opinion.

The Congress-led opposition coalition has faced a bad defeat, with even Rahul Gandhi being defeated by former TV actress Smriti Irani. The Indian elections have been declared the world‘s biggest election because of the 90 crore eligible voters. However, it is very unfortunate that, like previous elections, anti-Pakistan narrative was used by some political elements during their election campaigns.

Modi is supported by not only the majority of the Indian people but the international community too has warmed to him. In this regard, Modi’s political advisers and media managers used brilliant tactics to pave the way towards his victory. For example, in previous elections, Modi was introduced as ‘chai wala” (tea boy) to win the support of the poor people. This time, his political image was projected as a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) who is always ready and alert to protect his motherland from “corrupt, criminals and anti-social” elements. Following Narendra Modi, various BJP leaders including Sushman Swaraj also added the word ‘chowkidar’ to their names on their official Twitter accounts.

One aspect worth mentioning is the acceptance of the polls results by all parties without raising any issue of rigging. Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi, while accepting his defeat, congratulated Modi on his victory. Rahul also congratulated his opponent Smriti Irani on her success.

Although Rahul Gandhi had taunted that the watchman is actually a thief, this couldn’t help the Congress to win. Modi’s record on minorities is known to the world. Yet, he has now apparently expressed the resolve to win the trust of everyone including minorities. During his victory speech, he announced that the country will now have only two castes – the poor and those who want to alleviate poverty. He dedicated the victory to the people who, according to him, are desperate for honesty in the system.

Despite our differences with some of Modi’s policies, we have to agree that as compared to previous elections, the recent polls in India were conducted peacefully. Another noticeable aspect, in my view, is the success of a large number of female politicians in the Lok Sabha elections; Indian Muslims too cast their valuable votes.

Today, when Narendra Modi is talking about transforming his country into a New India, he must know that across the border the PTI is also committed to establish a New Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. I am happy that Modi has also positively responded to the congratulatory message sent to him by Imran Khan. However, Modi’s decision for not inviting Pakistani counterpart in his oath-taking ceremony resulted in hurting peace-loving citizens of both sides.

Modi must not hesitate to cooperate with Prime Minister Imran Khan for resolving the long-standing bilateral conflicts in order to achieve regional peace, stability and poverty alleviation. Similarly, Pakistan must also adopt a realistic approach in this regard. Let’s hope that peace will prevail in both countries.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani