In the end, Narendra Modi stunned opponents and stormed to a massive victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This is the first time since 1984 that a party is being returned to power with a majority of its own. Here are 10 takeaways from the elections.
1. Mandate for Modi, BJP
Running on a development plank, Narendra Modi won a clear majority in 2014 and went on to rule for five years unperturbed by pesky alliance partners. However, various problems plaguing his government, including farm distress, economic slowdown and rising unemployment has not deterred the Indian voters to repose their faith in his leadership for five more years.
2. Markets cheer as Sensex breaches 40,000, Nifty 12,000
When the exit polls tipped the scales in favour of the BJP-led NDA coming to power, the markets rallied and the BSE Sensex gained 1,422 points ultimately closing at 39,352.67 on Monday. Now that counting has backed the pollsters’ verdict, the Sensex touched the 40,000 mark and Nifty breached 12,000 points for the first time.
3. The decimation of Congress
The Congress crumbled to a historic low in 2014, winning just 44 seats. The only way was up, so it seemed. However, five years on the upward movement has been stilted. The party leads in a mere 50 seats and has been an abject failure in the 80-seat Uttar Pradesh. The fact that party president Rahul Gandhi is trailing Smriti Irani in the Congress’ traditional stronghold of Amethi is a damning indictment of the state of the grand old party.
4. Collapse of AAP
At the time of its formation in 2014 the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seemed to bring a fresh alternative to the cluttered political space in the country and their performance in the 2015 Delhi assembly election—when they won an unprecedented 67 of the 70 seats—indicated people’s faith in Arvind Kejriwal’s political startup. But it has been all downhill since. AAP sent four MPs in the Lok Sabha last term, but them going empty-headed five years on is a real possibility. There will be legitimate questions about the party’s future after this debacle.
5. Saffron surge continues in UP
They say the road to Delhi goes through Lucknow. The 2014 verdict proved the maxim correct as the BJP won 71 of the 80 seats on way to a clear majority at the centre. This year, too, the adage is holding strong as the BJP is on course to corner 59 seats in the country’s most populous state.
6. Modi 2.0’s economic agenda
Unlike 2014 poll campaign, development wasn’t BJP’s biggest poll plank this year as national security took centrestage in the aftermath of the ghastly Pulwama terror attack in February. However, the issues of stunted economic growth and regressing jobs data aren’t going to slide away. With another historic mandate under its belt, the Modi government needs to prioritise economic revival.
7. South sides with opposition
While the BJP has swept the Hindi heartland in a landslide verdict, the south has relatively stayed clear of the saffron surge. YSR Congress has swept Andhra Pradesh, the Congress is leading in 75 percent of the seats in Kerala, Biju Janata Dal is the leading party in Odisha, the DMK and Congress are heading for a sweep in Tamil Nadu, and TRS is the biggest party in Telangana. Karnataka is the only southern state to have bucked the trend and given a clear majority to the BJP.
8. Barnstorming BJP performance in West Bengal
West Bengal was one of the most contentious states in this Lok Sabha elections. There were skirmishes between the BJP and TMC party workers and violence on the day of voting last Sunday. There were accusations from TMC of communalising the electorate, but whatever the strategy the BJP used it appeared to have borne fruit. The BJP gave a strong competition to the TMC on their home turf and after a seesaw battle appear to be leading in 17 seats to the TMC’s 24.
9. Mahagathbandhan catapults
To counter the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party formed an alliance with minority partner Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). However, their arithmetic has fallen on its face. The three parties have combined managed a measly 19 of the 80 seats on offer.
Left parties have been on the margins for quite some time in the country, having been decimated from their traditional strongholds West Bengal and Tripura. The only state with a Left government is the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala. However, the 2019 Lok Sabha verdict has thrown the Left parties further to the margins. CPI(M) is leading on a solitary seat in Kerala, while they never looked like opening their account in West Bengal—a state they ruled uninterrupted for 34 years.
10. Left left to the margins