Once in every three decades, India changes its course and discovers hope. This is a political cycle that has been the theme of change for long now. In the 1920s, Mahatma entered the collective Indian consciousness and gave ordinary Indians a tangible, quantifiable metric to participate in the freedom movement. 30 years later, independent India’s first democratic elections were held in 1952 with universal franchise and we Indians looked up to Nehru with (false?) hope. Similarly, again 30 years down the line, India discovered hope in the form of Nehru’s grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, and gave him the greatest democratic mandate ever.
Now, 30 years later once again India seems to have rediscovered hope in the form of Modi. Whenever Indians have discovered hope, they have defied history and have left the pundits totally shocked and surprised. For instance, who would have thought that millions of unwashed Indians would heed the words of a half-naked fakir and fight the mighty British Empire not with violence but with nonviolence and Satyagraha? Similarly, who could have fathomed that India would give Rajiv Gandhi 400+ MPs in 1984? Of course, we are a lot wiser in retrospect, but before history unfolded in reality, these were events that no one could have really dreamt of.
Today, as most of us are tentatively projecting a clear mandate for a Modi led NDA in 2014, India seems to have made up its mind already as polling booth after polling booth is just recording votes of hope. Is a single party majority possible in this age and time? Can NDA really get a Rajiv Gandhi like mandate of close to an absolute 2/3rd majority?
There are a few pointers emerging from today’s polls about an impending wave; for instance, if even after pitting an IT czar in the silicon city and spending tens of hundreds of crores, Congress trails in South Bangalore (based on ground reports till 5 PM), then one can imagine the plight of the ruling party across India. The pro-Modi-BJP wave is so strong that it is uprooting some of the biggest opposition stalwarts. Take C.P Joshi in Jaipur Rural for example, a bona-fide Congress stalwart, has been literally mauled by a greenhorn like Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. The only light after a dark tunnel for Congress is probably coming from the Rampur royalty in Western Uttar Pradesh, where Noor Bano’s son seems to be ahead of his nearest rival from SP.
It is not just as if only Congress stalwarts are getting mauled, but even many other opposition leaders are, for instance, Misa Bharati, the daughter of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is also trailing by a big margin. In Odisha too BJP is doing extremely well by being ahead in about 3-5 odd seats that went to polls today.
All that talk of Jaswant Singh putting up a fight in Barmer are probably a mirage that assorted media gentlemen are chasing, for he seems to be out of contest in multiple assembly segments apart from probably Jaisalmer. Similarly, in Mysore of Karnataka, Pratap Simha, a complete novice to politics has put up a good showing. He is not trailing by a big margin in Mysore (except for the Muslim dominated Narasimharaja segment) or in Hunsur, where Congress was expected to take big leads. Now it all depends on how big the leads will be from Madikere and Virajpet that will decide the fate of Mr. Simha as well as Karnataka CM, Siddharamaiah.
Let’s take a look at some of trends of three important regions based on ground reports till evening. Remember, that these are not actually projected vote-shares, but just broad trends for which we will give a detailed analysis and projections over the next 2-3 days.
- In UP, BJP’s mindboggling lead of phase 1 has expectedly come down a little bit as far as broad trends suggest, but what is probably helping BJP is a better than expected performance by Congress which is now locked in a 3-cornered fight for the “secular” vote with BSP & SP
- In Bihar, it is almost a one-horse race with BJP well ahead of most of its rivals. For instance in today’s polls there was a contest possibly only in two seats and one of them was Arrah.
- Bangalore and Mysore trends suggest a close race between Congress and BJP, which suggests that all the big gains that Congress had made last year have been wiped out and BJP now has a chance of winning almost 3 out of these 5 seats.
If Modi sustains this momentum in future phases, then we are certainly headed for a historic election that falls into the 30 year pattern of great Indian political change and all the signals as of today are pointing towards such a scenario unfolding.
[We will analyse this round of election more deeply over the coming 2-3 days as we need to sort out all ground reports and data]