Time and again, the largest democracy in the world has surprised political pundits by kicking out incumbent powerful governments, showcasing the highly developed political consciousness of the Indian electorate.
This has happened in the past when popular and powerful Indira Gandhi government was removed by people power due to her authoritarian excesses where she even lost her seat in the parliament, bringing the opposition coalition into power.
However, the Janata Party coalition was removed by the electorate swiftly at the next election due to their poor performance bringing Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party back to power.
At the state elections during more than a decade and at the last general elections, it was the incompetence of the Congress Party combined with the disarray of other political parties that the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi won with a landslide victory and consolidated its electoral base in various other states.
The BJP had invested its electoral success on the basis of divisive politics, appealing to the Hindu majority while targeting minorities especially the Indian Muslim community trying to deny and eradicate their 1000 years old legacy in India.
To everyone’s surprise, BJP was highly successful in the largest state of Uttar Pradesh with a population of Muslim reaching almost 20% where it did not give ticket to a single Muslim candidate and managed to form a Muslim free state government mainly due to the division between two major parties.
This brought the extremist Hindu priest cum politician Yogi Adityanath to power with an anti-Muslim agenda who has created havoc in and outside the state with his hate speeches and anti-Muslim pogroms.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
The political pundits thought that Modi’s BJP juggernaut cannot be stopped and it will sweep to electoral success one after the other at state elections culminating with an ultimate landslide success at national elections due by mid-2019.
However, the miracle of democracy in India yet again repeated itself last month in key state elections. The BJP lost in all three state-level elections, with Congress grabbing clear majorities in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and ousting incumbent BJP governments. In a third race, in Madhya Pradesh, Congress fell just short of an outright majority in the state assembly but nevertheless ended a decade and a half of BJP rule.
Ahead of India’s general election this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been rattled and is starting to look weak. The opposition parties including the Congress Party has gained confidence in taking on BJP and countering its divisive politics head-on.
It’s time that Congress and other major parties join together and unite all Indians irrespective of their religious and cultural affiliation against division and hate and counter the Hindu chauvinist agenda of BJP to bring about peace and prosperity to India.
With another recent democratic miracle occurring in neighbouring Pakistan bringing to power a cricketer turned politician who has already send an olive branch to India, its time for both neighbours to work towards reconciliation for progress and peace in South Asia.