What is at stake for India after the 2019 General Elections?

What is at stake for India after the 2019 General Elections?

India has come a long way since independence. Political battles have decided the fate of leaders in every election. The tumultuous relationship that exists between voters and their elected representatives is a thin red line. There are many facets to an electoral process which makes the nature of elections a dynamic affair in our democracy. For a very long time, there has been a contest between national and regional leaders in order to gain access to political power. There are parties which have national prominence and some do have a strong regional presence across many states. Our multicultural communities only reinforce the existing diversity which exists in our country.

In the past, many elections have been fought bitterly between political parties. This year, the 2019 elections will hold sway over the masses and the results will give us an understanding of where the country would be heading under the new leadership? The legacy of the Congress party and the resurgence of the BJP will be put to a test in these elections. The reason why 2019 elections are so important is that there is path drawn from different viewpoints and ideologies, especially of the party which will come to power that will determine the political and economic landscape of India for the coming decade.

The Political situation in retrospect-

  The present leadership under Prime Minister Modi has delivered many hits and misses since it came to power in 2014. The BJP has tried extending reforms through a strong bureaucracy at the Centre and new digitized initiatives by which various schemes were introduced. There were a host of reforms initiated by the Modi government- GST reforms, theMake in India initiative, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan Yojana, Economic reforms through FDI in Railways, Insurance and Defense,A robust Foreign policy push through the process of fast-tracking in diplomacy, Real estate sector reforms (the RERA Act), Health care reforms (Ayushmaan Bharat / Modi Care), Infrastructure and tourism were some of the many areas of focus in the last four years. The Indian diaspora and even international audiences had perceived India in strong light.

However, there were also repercussions that ensued due to various factors-The medium and small-scale industries were completely affected by demonetization and GST; There is a situation of jobless growth in the economy, and acute farmers distress in many states due to an agrarian crisis; There was a rise in crude oil prices, and there were also issues on new Bills that were being proposed in parliament especially on education; this apart, there were many other issues that came to the fore. Many of these problems highlighted also gave an opportunity to the opposition, by raising objections against the government- on the issues of governance and a situation of policy-paralysis. Apart from the rhetoric in the media, the issues raised were also noted by many citizens from different parts of India. We also saw the resurgence of the Congress party in the Hindi heartland states during the recent Assembly elections.

 

 

The Future-

But can the future suggest that the BJP has lost its connection with the people and would anything possibly change by the results of the 2019 elections? It really is a tough answer for one to make? Predictions can definitely be challenging but many observations could be made by looking at governments which were formed in the past. Till the results of 2019 come in, there could be bitter disagreement between political parties on various strands of policymaking. This is clearly conspicuous every time an election happens. This also happened during the 2004 General elections, and one must remember that despite ideological differences between parties (UPA and NDA), there is clearly a continuation of policy on many fronts by successive governments which have come to power. In India, we have seen that when a national crisis or situation occurs (The Pulwama attack), all political parties unite to take a strong stand on an issue. The same can be said of the bureaucracy and judiciary in their functioning.

  By cutting through the clutter in the media we can see that there is a fine balance between policy and implementation in many areas which holds the democratic order intact despite how chaotic it may seem. So, elections might really not change core policies on many fronts irrespective of who forms the government in 2019! Whoever comes to power in 2019, there are many issues that have to be resolved- The farmers penury in different states, Jobs and growth, National security issues (India’s neighbours- China & Pakistan), Social sector improvement – Health care and education, Regional objectives of various states in terms of development and other major issues that have been neglected for years.

        In any election, one cannot be sure of how the voter will choose his party or leader. The media might report one thing, the voter might understand something different but the ground reality could be completely different. Opinion polls and surveys do tend to have some sampling bias depending on how the study is structured and implemented. But, after an election result, there could be new players demanding their stake and the fight could just get bigger. Whether the Congress or the BJP, both have their advantages and disadvantages in this election. Only time will tell as to how the situation will unfold in this short period after the polls?

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