Personal charisma, propaganda rendered obsolete as electorate now demands performance

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Thomas Lim
The December 11, 2018 verdict of five states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram turned out to be a disaster for the Bharatiya Janata Party which lost all the five states even though it had given a hard fight in Madhya Pradesh. The propaganda of Bharat Congress -mukt (Congress Free India) however is seemingly making a mark as the grand old party has lost Mizoram which was the only state in the North East region where it was still in power.
The Indian National Congress this time score 3-0, as they failed to perform in Telangana and Mizoram as did the BJP as both the states went to regional parties. In Mizoram, the Mizo National Front (MNF) which bagged 26 seats in the 40-member House, had not fielded a single woman candidate, also the Mizoram Assembly will not have a single woman legislator as all the 15 female candidates lost in the November 28 election in the state where women outnumber men in the voters’ list.

Of the total 209 candidates, 15 were women, the highest ever to have contested the assembly polls in the state so far.
In Telangana, where the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which went for early elections, crushed the Congress-led combine which included the Telugu Desam Party to steamroll over the elections, winning 85 of the 119 seats. The Congress alliance was way behind at 23, prompting a Congress leader to allege that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) had been the undoing of the party.
The poor performance of the BJP in all the five states, particularly the Hindu belt like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is a clear indication of the sentiments of the masses that the only issues of Ram temple is a big mistake, and the Lord Ram devotees (Ram bhakts), saints and religious gurus resolution of Ram Mandir Wahin Banayenge’ (Ram temple will be there only) turned out to be one of the factors leading to the disaster for the party, as the Ram Temple or the Ayodhya issues should be resolved as the state subject and not as a national issue leveraging on the Hindu vote bank.
The temple visit of year old Congress President, Rahul Gandhi has paid off as the party captured both the Hindu belt like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and this has transformed the INC as the Soft- Hindutva party, while BJP is still looked upon as a hardcore Hindutva party with components like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that is the Sangh Parivar group.
The harsh demonetization is the political move to muscle into Uttar Pradesh, which the BJP managed, while the whole nation was affected. Then comes the Goods and Services Tax India (GST) which was unable to generate employment which was the agenda for the 2014 election but is yet to take its final shape which is yet another factor leading to the downfall of BJP. One needs not mention the arrogant party workers and a few leaders which needs to be introspected if the party wants to retain power in 2019.
According to the Congress party, the anti-incumbency wave and the assurance of Gandhi to waive the farmers’ loan have benefited the party, which will now be the model for the Lok Sabha election 2019.
Whatever the truth may be behind the results in these elections, it does not change the fact that these results are a wakeup call for the BJP in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
According to political pundits, this behavior of the electorate makes it evident that personal charisma; propaganda of the political parties are obsolete, they are no longer emotionally inclined to such factors anymore, like in the case of Mizoram, the Assembly of Rajasthan too where the woman Chief Minister was voted out even here too the women voters have outnumbered the male voters. Cases of abuse of women and girls are high, yet the Ruling BJP could not retain power, neither was the Congress given absolute majority. Also in the case of Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has fallen short of reaching the half way mark.
Interestingly, votes cast in favour of NOTA (none of the above) option were more than the margin of victory in 22 assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, the Election Commission data shows that as many as 5,42,295 voters pressed the NOTA button on Electronic Voting Machines, which was 1.4 per cent of the total number of votes cast.
This only shows that the mindset of the general masses have change, there are demands like No Road, No Vote and No water, No Vote are some of the trends where the electorate is not demanding performance and specific mandate of respective constituency, the money power, personal charisma and political party manifesto are failing to charm the voters, the NOTA of 22 Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh is evidence of this.
In less than five months the nation will once again partake in the world’s largest democratic exercise to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. The aspirants, political parties need to take a lesson or two from the recently concluded election as they do their brainstorming in the drawing board, to make sure they prepare the progress report well if they are seeking reelection. Others who would be first timers in Parliament need to be project and scheme specific as they seek votes because the mood to elect has changed, particularly amongst the young voters.



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