‘Is Modi going to form a government?’ asked a cab driver on a hot and humid Friday afternoon the day of Lok Sabha results. Clearly, he could not partake of the incessant coverage of poll results on TV.
When he was told that Modi was winning in a big way, the middle-aged man reacted, "Enough of khichri sarkars (alliance governments). They create a lot of problems."
Such reactions are suggestive of the average man’s thinking in favouring the Modi-led BJP. Since 1989 the nation has not seen a single party crossing the 272-seats mark in Lok Sabha, needed to run a stable, chaos-free government at the Centre; and the coalition regime has cost national interest dearly.
In a fierce battle fought between the BJP-led NDA and the Congress-led UPA, Lok Sabha elections saw regional outfits decimated. Not just Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or Aam Aadmi Party, even big fry such as Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party or DMK have bitten the dust. Voters were convinced that they wanted to support political parties with maximum presence or capacity to rule the nation single-handedly.
Though inflation and corruption were the most serious issues for the voter, stability of the new government was crucial. As such the vote share of BJP-Shiv Sena stood at a staggering 48.5 per cent, leaving the Congress-NCP with 34.41 per cent. If votes polled for three other partners of BJP and Sena are added, the alliance’s percentage crosses 50. The 15 per cent increase in polling played a crucial role, delivering a huge blow to Congress-NCP.
Significantly, in 2009 the saffron combine’s vote share was 35.17 per cent, which was approximately 3 per cent less than Congress-NCP’s. The scenario in the state post the Lok Sabha results reveals that smaller parties such as MNS and AAP need to so more homework, as voters have not taken them seriously, offering just 2.26 per cent votes to AAP and 1.47 per cent to MNS.
Despite his avowal to Modi for prime ministership, people ignored Raj Thackeray’s appeal to vote for MNS. And AAP’s anti-corruption plank failed to garner significant votes. The most crucial aspect of this election was the mammoth vote share added by the BJP-Sena Mahayuti alliance, comprising three other outfits - RPI (A), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha.
The 2.49 crore votes garnered by them include not just their supporters but, believe it or not, supporters of Congress and NCP, who said they wanted a Modi-led government at the Centre. The fact is baffling. For verification, just take a look at the votes polled for Mahayuti candidate Mahadeo Jankar in Baramati constituency. He is leading in Khadakwasla, Daund and Purandar, three of the six assembly constituencies from the Baramati Lok Sabha seat, where NCP’s Supriya Sule has won.
The winning margin of Sharad Pawar’s daughter was reduced from 3.37 lakh in 2009 to just 69,000 votes this time. This has left the Pawars stunned, since Baramati has been their fiefdom since 1967 and they’d always win the elections by a margin of a few lakhs. The NCP tally has come down to 4 from the 8 seats it has won in 2009.
In any case, the task is Herculean for Raj Thackeray, who aspires to win the state assembly elections on his own. He made his desire public a few years back. But in the Lok Sabha election, his party could garner just 7.08 lakh votes for the 10 candidates in the fray, where BJP’s Gopal Shetty alone polled 6.64 lakh votes in Mumbai North constituency.
Raj Thackeray has his task cut out for the coming months, just like Congress and NCP. All these three parties have the challenge of retaining 12 and 116 assembly constituencies won during the 2009 assembly elections, because BJP and Sena candidates have garnered the maximum votes from these constituencies, poll details reveal. Stability at the Centre was such an important issue for voters that it has alarmed small and big regional players alike.
The writer is Political Editor of mid-day