Dr. Asangba Tzudir
Who and what has India voted for?
Be it on social media or on ground, controversies, catfights and camaraderie have been abundant this election season beginning with Modi’s #MainBhiChowkidar” to Rahul Gandhi’s offensive, “Chowkidar chor hai.” On the face of it, however, the results of the elections will only reflect on how Modi has performed, and Rahul Gandhi’s ability to build an alternative narrative. Though, not necessarily, but as has been the trend, the result of the election will do the talking about who has ‘failed.’ Yet, a lot is at stake for congress because a loss would not only be a big blow for the grand old party but would also dent hopes of stitching anti-BJP alliances.
The recently concluded 6th phase of Lok Sabha elections seen as the semi-finals between Modi and Rahul, covered 59 seats across seven states saw a voter turnout of 63.3 percent which was less than 65.67 percent recorded in 2014. The final 7th phase election is scheduled for May 19 and will see 59 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 8 states. Now with only the last phase left, Rahul Gandhi has said something ‘interesting’ after he cast his vote. As reported in India Today, He said, “Love will win” adding that the Lok Sabha election had seen a good fight between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress leader was confident about love winning in a battle between love and hate, where, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi used hatred, we (Congress) love.”
Further, Rahul Gandhi highlighted the issues at the backdrop of the election and which are not theirs but people’s issues which included unemployment, condition of farmers, demonetization, GST, corruption and the Rafale issue. These issues were at the heart of Congress election campaign which were deployed in their hope to revive its fortunes for a party that won only 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In response to Rahul’s “Love will win,” someone commented: “Love will win. Yes, the country’s love for an honest and hard-working PM will bring back Modi.” Then another added that “Rahul started the hatred campaign with ‘Chowkidar chor hain slogan’.”
Barring such comments, the counting day, May 23, will give the real picture about who and what has India voted for, which will also put to rest all the speculations about the result. However, so far this election has been more about the ‘emergence’ of Rahul Gandhi as a National leader than Modi’s re-election. And whichever way the result sway, Rahul’s “Love will win” or Modi getting re-elected, or even if the numbers don’t favor Rahul, it may not necessarily reflect on Rahul as a failed leader but someone who has shed his status of a political novice through his dogged campaigning.
However, within the political and socio-cultural undercurrents, May 23 will reveal who and what India has voted for, and it will go beyond concerns about unemployment, farmer’s security, GST, corruption and the Rafale issue. Rather, it will be about whether India is willing to exist and live as a democratic and secular Nation.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir writes a weekly guest editorial for The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org)