Why Indian Voters Voted for Change
The results of the 2014 elections are out. BJP and NDA were expected to do good and come out as claimants to form the next government. However the results have been highly favourable to them. BJP has on its own has crossed the 272 seats halfway mark and along with its allies the NDA has got 337 seats. The Congress and some regional parties have been decimated to historical lows.
Even the pollsters could not gauge this consolidated mood of the voters across the country. What are the issues on which the voters took their voting decision and the conclusions that can be drawn from the people's verdict. Some of them are as follows :
1. India is not up for grabs by the scions of a few dynasties:
A good number of sons and daughters of dynasty driven politicians have lost the elections this time. Most prominent is Dr Farooq Abdullah, son of Sheikh Abdullah and father of Omar Abdullah, present CM of J&K, who lost from Srinagar. Mr Ajit Singh, outgoing Minister of Civil Aviation and his son, both lost from their constituencies in UP. Rabri Devi wife of Lalu Prasad and their daughter Misa have both lost in Bihar. Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Priya Dutt, Sandeep Dikshit, all progenies of political parents, have been defeated. But a few have also been elected like Supriya Sule, daughter of Sharad Pawar, the daughter in law of Punjab CM,and Rahul Gandhi from Amethi. But for first time the message is loud and clear, family is no longer a passport to Parliament. Come through the ranks and demonstrate merit. This augurs good for future.
2. Development is the agenda:
There were attempts to polarize voters by most of the political parties, on issues of religion, cast, region etc. But the voters saw through the game. Unlike in the past, these divisive issues were cast aside and in fact they seem to have united voters to vote against such parties preaching them. The BSP in UP has not got a single seat, the SP is reduced to five, Nitish Kumar's party managed to get only two seats and so on. The electorate has shown that they are going to vote for a candidate or a party who have a proven record of developmental activities in their States. People want good roads, jobs, 24 hour power supply, all round economic development and not the endless debates on divisive issues.
3. Corruption will not be tolerated:
The DMK party in Tamil Nadu has drawn a blank. All its candidates lost. It is well known that some of its members are accused in corruption cases which have also adversely affected the Congress all over the country. The emergence of corruption scams in the last five years has motivated the voters to vote out the ruling coalition at the Center. This is a healthy sign and one hopes this ire of voters is taken into account by those in the incoming government. The parties like BSP and SP which gave outside support to UPA have been punished by the voters.
4. High Prices and Inflation:
The results have shown that a ruling party which cannot control high inflation and prices has no right to expect voters support for another term. By all accounts the supply side of food items in the country is adequate, but still prices are ruling high. The government seems helpless at taking the required administrative steps between the grower and the consumer, which will eliminate manipulated and artificial high prices. The outgoing government seemed to lack the will to take hard decisions on this front. The consumers have been forced to pay high prices for food items which has eroded their savings. The constant high interest rates maintained by RBI also failed to contain inflation. That is because the reasons causing high inflation and prices are not economical but manipulated by vested interests. The dismal failure of the government on these fronts translated votes going away from it by the millions.
The quality of leaders and leadership styles were also an important parameter considered by voters in this election. The leader became more important than the party. After nearly thirty years voters were attracted to a particular leader rather than his party. The successful leader proved himself right in achieving the goals he had set for himself, one of which was to aim for getting 272+ seats in the Lok Sabha. His aggressive style gave indications of a decisive leader. The planning of his punishing schedules of addressing 4-5 public meetings daily demonstrated a high degree of stamina and the backing by excellent team work and collection of dedicated volunteers all across the country. BJP's PM nominee had risen from very humble beginnings in life. He had also risen through the ranks within his party. He had thus shown the necessary abilities of leadership and possessed the necessary experience for the top post. The alternative to him was seen as someone born with a silver spoon who had never held any post in the government. He was where he was because of his birth in the first family of the Congress and lacked the experience and aggression needed to counter his fiery opponent. Both had different leadership styles and the voters naturally voted for the one with experience as they felt he had earned their confidence with his proven style and achievements as CM in his home state for three continuous terms.
6. Hope vs Entitlements:
The BJP was offering voters hope of doing things in a new way. It was creating in them a desire for change. It was promoting development as a major issue. It was promising jobs, reduction in inflation and prices. It was promising a turn around in the Indian economy which would give a host of opportunities to the young. The Congress was offering multiple entitlements in form of various rights like right to food, right to education, right to work etc and was talking of giving doles to the poor. However in a young country like India today, all classes of society want equal opportunities to make their careers and life. They do not want doles. They want education and jobs. Rest will follow. They naturally gravitated towards the party that offered hope and went away from a party which they felt kept them on doles and thus tolerated their poverty. It was an aspirational society that was voting.
7. Communication with Voters:
The use of social media by BJP was phenomenal. Their PM nominee was hyper active on Facebook, Twitter, g+ etc forums. It is reported that he is the sixth most followed leader on Twitter with his handle having more than 4.2 million followers and it is growing at the rate of nearly 12% monthly. Similarly on Facebook he is the second most popular politician after US President and has more than 11 million followers. As against this there was negligible presence of leaders of other parties on the social media forums. Congress was strangely almost absent and only in the last phase it showed some presence on Facebook. Too little too late. BJP scored heavily on this count and greatly benefited in form of votes. The connection with young voters will stay for a long time. BJP very effectively used these forums to connect with the younger voters and kept them informed.
The above are some points on which the Indian voters made their decision to vote. It is clear that BJP succeeded far more than Congress and managed to get a majority on its own bringing to an end the era of coalition governments at the Center. The Congress totally failed to gauge the mood of the voters and has paid the price by getting the lowest number of seats in its history in the Parliament. Many regional parties and the year old AAP were almost decimated. It was clear that the voters were fed up of corruption and were looking for change. We can now hopefully look forward to a stable government which one expects to be able to fill many of the raised high expectations.
Like it on Facebook, +1 on Google, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.