Yes, it was a big day for the BJP. It romped home in Haryana and emerged the single largest party in Maharashtra, leaving behind estranged ex-partner Shiv Sena behind by a huge margin, also winning an unexpected prospective ally in the NCP which promptly offered its unconditional support (I say the word ‘unconditional’ with due cynicism here). Coming after the debacle at bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, this victory at the state assembly polls may taste sweet; for, it is proved that there is a Narendra Modi wave. Quite fairly, and beyond doubt. BJP rivals did take potshots at the extensive poll campaigning undertaken by the PM, but it worked. But, these are all sub-plots. For a keen watcher of the current state and movement of the Indian polity, a couple of things will become evident:
The Indian voter no longer is – or rather is getting less and less – amenable to divisive politics. BJP, riding on the RSS-fuelled Hindutva agenda of Love Jihad in the states of UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, got its just deserts. Despite the Meerut incident, which has been declared an impostor not long since, people knew how much currency to give this issue. They looked past the middle and lower-middle rung of BJP men in the bypolls. I personally think it a very shrewd move by the PM to not meddle with the Love Jihad issue at the time and let the issue fall flat on its face of its own accord. And it did.
The same strategy in a different form landed BJP the massive gains it has made today. The divisive politics and narrow-minded regionalism (opportunism) of the Shiv Sena and the MNS was rejected at large by the voters in Maharashtra – BJP’s gamble to break a 25-year-old alliance and go it alone had paid off. This outcome is a message to all those political parties still trying to manipulate the citizenry on the basis of a divisive agenda. The Indian voter knows he has his places of worship; he knows he wants a place for work, prospects of making a decent, honourable incomes, and the security of his savings.
I am sure Shiv Sena is a mixed bag of feelings tonight. It has emerged the second-largest party but to grab the power it desires, it will have to go to the BJP, a party it declared its sole enemy in the present election, a party it warned of impending doom, and threatened with scandalous revelations. The BJP has put it in a position where it is in no position to dictate terms.
Finally, the Congress. Yes, I hope you are heeding the signs but I am sure you are the last people to even possibly see the writing on the wall. For your sake, we’ll pretend the elections didn’t happen. Let me just say this, grow up. Stop flogging Mr. Tharoor for his Swachch Bharat initiative.