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Indian polls and lessons for world leaders

Published : Tuesday, 11 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 421

Indian polls and lessons for world leaders

Indian polls and lessons for world leaders

We, the people of Bangladesh, one of Indias biggest regional allies and neighbors, would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his election to a third term in office on Sunday. The well-liked but divisive leader may face greater difficulties after this victory than during his previous decade in office. With a large reliance on erratic allies this time, he may require the energy as he prepares to begin an unusual third consecutive term. However, imperative lessons have been learnt by Indian politicians as well as others throughout the region from this Indian general election.

The 18th general election in India, the biggest electoral process globally, is seen as a significant turning point in the history of democracy. India, home to more than 1.4 billion people, is the largest democracy in the world. 969 million individuals were eligible to vote in this election, which makes up more than 10% of the worlds population and includes 18 million first-time voters. The Election Commission of India reports that a total of 65.79% of voters participated in the just concluded Lok Sabha election. In all, 64.2 crore voters-31.2 crore of them were women-had cast ballots in this election. This Indian election was very important to the democratic world because all these figures are unprecedented in any democracy in the world. The significance of this election results is increased by Indias standing as a significant power in South Asia and its expanding influence internationally.

Polls in India showed a resounding victory for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP leaders had made it clear time and again that their objective was to secure 370 seats (400 with their alliance) in the 543-seat Lok Sabha. However, their vote did not go as planned. The BJP lost 63 seats from the 2019 elections and only managed to gain 240 seats this time. They managed to create the government for a third straight term with the help of their partners, but it is evident that the Indian people have not given it the absolute approval that it opted.

The outcome is an adverse event for Narendra Modi, who has dominated Indian politics for the past decade and consistently won large majorities in elections while even serving as the chief minister of Gujarat State. Contrary to earlier expectations, the verdict represents a startling recovery for the Congress Party-led INDIA opposition alliance, deviating significantly from pre-election surveys as well as exit polls. With the BJP continuing to hold the most seats in India, and Modi and his allies winning a third term, the prime minister has now equaled Jawaharlal Nehrus record as the countrys first premier. However, the substantial loss of over 50 seats for his party lessens the appeal of a third term. This has caused some hopelessness in BJP quarters and celebration in the opposition camp.

The BJPs sharp decline in seats may be attributed, among other things, to unemployment, growing prices, increasing inequality, and a contentious overhaul of the army recruiting process, notwithstanding Indias emergence under Narendra Modi as an economic powerhouse and worldwide political influence. Voters in some areas may have become enraged with Narendra Modis harsh and polarizing campaign, which specifically targeted Muslims. His ambitious slogan, "Ab ki baar, 400 paar," which aimed for more than 400 seats for his NDA alliance, may also have backfired.

Despite the BJP governments attempts to use Indias growing international prominence and its reputation as a Hindu nationalism in the election campaign, voters ultimately decided on local livelihood issues. Large portions of the nation, especially those with a more cosmopolitan and secular mindset, as well as the south and Indias religious minorities, found little resonance with the BJPs frequently controversial Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) rhetoric. The saffron party failed to achieve its target, despite bringing up the Ayodhya Ram temple issue with an eye towards the poll. Even though the BJP heavily emphasized the Ram Mandir card, it was severely humiliated in the Ayodhya-centered Faizabad constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Modi has proven repeatedly that he is capable of reinventing himself. He outshined everyone else during the intensely hot campaign thanks to his thinning white hair, well-groomed white beard, and flawless Indian dress. With a personal "Modi guarantee" to transform their lives, he courted Indias voters. He has grown to be larger than the party. By 2047, "Viksit Bharat," or developed India, was to be achieved, according to the BJPs election manifesto. Making India a reliable global manufacturing base and improving the investment climate for foreign companies would thus be top priorities for the new government though advancement of different negotiations is probably going to be slowed down by New Delhis weaker coalition administration.

The Modi government in the past has promoted India as a civilizational state through an aggressive and ideologically motivated foreign policy. There had been real attempts to position India as a bridging power between the West and the Global South, particularly during Indias G20 presidency when it assisted in facilitating the membership of the African Union, even though some of his rhetoric has been pompous, such as calling the nation as Bharat and referring to it as a Vishwaguru (teacher of the world) and Vishwamitra (friend of the world).

Beyond all else, the outcome of the most recent election has demonstrated the tenacity and robustness of Indias democracy and may have reinforced its secular credentials.
With greater overseas involvement and participation in regional platforms, India has been elevated to a position of honor during the last two terms of Narendra Modi and his government. India is developing economically and technologically despite obstacles. Similar to the enormous progress made by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her fourth term in office, Narendra Modi made good use of his first two terms in office to significantly advance India in a number of sectors. Under Modis direction, India has traveled to the dark side of the moon. He is well-liked by other leaders in the region and has established himself as a major player in the world stage. However, he might not have done enough to address local issues, which nearly lost him a third term.

The election results made clear that Indian voters wanted secularism to be preserved, minorities rights to be upheld, and a pluralistic society to be maintained. It is an order supporting the principles of justice, fraternity, equality, and liberty. It is to be hoped that the Indian constitutional institutions will grasp its meaning and summon the guts to carry out their constitutional duties.

Following the outcome of the election, Modi announced that a new chapter of significant decisions would be made during his third term. Modi is trying to turn India into a global manufacturing hub at a time when Western corporations are interested in moving productions away from China with his pro-growth and pro-market agenda. As a result, increased government spending on infrastructure, manufacturing, and human capital-especially education and training-is expected during his new term. It will obviously require strong focus on foreign relations and maintaining power balance while the world is moving towards bipolarity. As New Delhi is a firm believer in friendship without reliance, Indias autonomous stance on international issues is unlikely to alter.

From Bangladeshs perspective, Narendra Modi and his government always remained a great regional ally. Our government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, should enhance this friendship as having a great economic power as a trusted regional ally and neighbor can support Bangladeshs venture towards new heights of development and progress. Moreover, a friendly and mutually-beneficiary relationship between India and Bangladesh will remain vital for regional stability and security.

India today is an ascendant global player, and Modis focus in the third term will likely be on enabling India to play a bigger role on the world stage. Most importantly, being the worlds largest democracy, Indian has obligations to address the voice raised by people. Hence, while India will continue its journey towards global supremacy, it must ensure internal stability and express people-oriented attitude in a secular manner. The latest Indian election outcome calls for people-oriented, non-divisive culture and practices irrespective of rigorous focus of development and growth. This will remain a vital lesson for the democratic countries all around the world as well as the region.

The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA) and Editor at Kishore Bangla

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