Exactly 1350 years after the conquest of Multan by Al Muhallab ibn Abi Suffrah of the Umayyad Caliphate which set in motion a millennium of Indian slavery, Hindustan has found its deliverance in 2014. Today is truly the liberation day of a people who had made subservience to Dilli Sultanate a virtue, by their inherent inability to unite. It has finally befallen upon a tea seller to reunite a civilization on a path to glory.
What Narendra Bhai Damodardas Modi has achieved in 2014 was almost impossible to conceive even a year ago – the union of Hindus is a chimera that every king, politician and strategist has chased for a thousand years and failed. In December, after the assembly elections in four northern states, when we at 5Forty3 proposed the revolutionary concept of “United Spectrum of Hindu Votes” for the first time, it was received with the usual trepidation by ordinary readers, but somewhere in the Sangh circles of Uttar Pradesh, that analysis captured the imagination of strategists. The amalgamation of upper castes, middle castes and OBCs was a unique social alliance that had the ability to catapult BJP to the pole position and yet, it was going to be always incomplete without the active participation of Dalits who had the least incentive to be a part of such a unique social experiment.
Roughly 1 lakh 75 thousand Swayam Sevaks and other social workers belonging to the broader Sangh ecosystem of Uttar Pradesh were asked to leave their daily engagements and instead concentrate on the national elections from February onwards. One must understand the ethos of the Sangh to fully appreciate the import of this mammoth exercise. A Swayam Sevak is never really expected to solicit votes, for that is not his domain, despite what the media keeps churning out and what the popular perception is about RSS working for BJP. The fact is that after 1977, when the Sangh had actually sought votes in the name of JP, this was the first time that RSS asked votes for Modi. About 30 odd “battleground” polling booths were identified in each assembly segment and each of these polling booths were then broken down into a cluster of 12 to 36 electoral homes which were allotted to one representative. It was the responsibility of this representative to convince the voters of those homes to go out and vote for a Modi led BJP disregarding local factors. This is how the miracle of Uttar Pradesh was achieved.
Another unique aspect of the RSS campaign in the heartland was the reach-out to Dalits. Special emphasis was given to Harijan bastis wherein small localized Dalit organizations were engaged to drive home the message of “development for all”, which caught the imagination of an aspirational young Dalit voter who was fed up with symbolism of the Mayawati variety which had replaced the Congress symbolism. In fact, many veteran political observers of UP believe that this message of “real development” for Dalits was as potent as Kanshi Ram’s “Chamcha” campaign of the 1980s and early 90s when he destroyed all the Congress SC leaders by terming them as Chamchas of a Brahminical order.
This embracing of Dalits by RSS and the broader unity of Hindus has brought about structural changes to the Uttar Pradesh society which can totally alter India as a nation if nurtured further. For instance, it was extremely heartening to see Dalits, OBCs and upper castes all being invited for marriage ceremonies this summer cutting across ethnic backgrounds – a feature that is being witnessed almost for the first time at such a grand scale in suburban UP.
This union of Hindu votes is not just a feature of UP or Bihar and nor is the active RSS participation limited to the heartland. In Congress ruled states like Karnataka and Maharashtra too, 2014 witnessed a hitherto unseen social combination working for Modi. Take the case of Karnataka, a state that has a Kuruba as its chief minister and yet BJP managed to win two Kuruba dominated seats – Mysore and Koppal – which has put Siddaramaiah’s continuation in question. In Maharashtra too, BJP and NDA have managed to win impossible seats like Sangli which Congress had never lost since independence!
One other electoral consequence of this newly developed social coalition is the glorious irrelevance of the Muslim Vote which has reduced a vast number of politicians to “unemployed” status. Political parties which hitherto used the “Muslim Vote” scare to base most of their decisions have now been strategically orphaned by the Indian voters. The full import of this is yet to sink into the ordinary minds of Dilli media, for now they cannot celebrate the “martyrdom” of a terrorist like Afzal Guru (sic) with day long analysis in TV studios and they can no longer sneer at just high court verdicts on seminal cases like the Ram temple of Ayodhya and they can no longer royally ignore Muzaffarnagars of Uttar Pradesh just because Modi was not the CM of that state. 2014 has made all of them collectively irrelevant in a new India.
The mandate of 2014 in its sheer forcefulness has ensured that Narendra Bhai always negotiates his path from a position of strength, be it political, economic or even in the domain of India’s foreign policy. Thus in one swift move he has converted his own swearing in ceremony into a major South Asian event wherein the handshakes will be firm and India’s leadership of the region will be firmer still.
The mandate of 2014 is also unique in the sense that it is free of a tangible opponent both literally as well as metaphorically. Attempts at Hindu mobilization for hundreds of years have been held prisoner to the narrative of the “other”, while in 2014 NaMo never fell into that all too familiar trap. Unlike the 90s when BJP mobilized Hindus as a force in opposition to Babur, the 2014 united spectrum of Hindu vote is not antagonistic to any “other” force… Hindus are now self-assured about their primacy, they are comfortable in their skins and are looking for a betterment of existence rather than fighting for a space to resurrect a temple. It is this evolution of an average Hindu that has transformed India into a Modi kingdom.
When we set out to redefine Indian election analysis late last year, we had embarked on an almost impossible journey of covering vast geographies of such a diverse nation with huge manpower and almost zero funds. In fact, we took an even more audacious attempt to not only analyse Indian elections in totality but also give earliest trends from specific constituencies despite all the budgetary constraints and logistic difficulties. At the end of the day, we are extremely proud of our young team which made achieved the impossibility of detecting the earliest electoral trends of 2014.
To begin with, consider these impossibly difficult numbers; on an average, the cost per response works out to roughly 180 Rs, which is an industry standard and we interviewed more than 45000 respondents across India by giving temporary employment to 120 data collection officers and fieldworkers all over India. With a shoestring budget of under 15 lakhs (subscription as well as donations) how exactly we even managed this is a modern day electoral wonder. Yet, we were the first and possibly the best election analysis platform in India during 2014;