In 2014, when the BJP won a huge mandate, it was mocked by some for not having had a majority of India’s vote. The claim was that theBJP had only received 31 per cent vote share and, therefore, did not have the weight of the nation behind them.
This time, the BJP almost touched the 50 per cent mark, going leaps and bounds over its previous vote share. Forty-six per cent, which is what it registered this time, is a historicnumber, especially for an incumbent government.
Nehru led the Congress to a win with 47.8 per cent vote share. But there’s a difference - Nehru faced virtually no opposition in 1957.
While Rajiv’s historic election came about right after the assassination of Indira Gandhi - much of that vote share, it can be said, was due to the ‘sympathy vote’.
No party has ever touched 50 per cent vote share in India’s first-past-the-post, multi-party system. But both Modi and Shah almost got there this time. Which is remarkable.
Now Modi not only has the mandate to run India for the next five years, he has also scored the historically most significantmandate, secured in the face of an opposition that went all guns blazing against him in the last year or two.
But now, as the results are out, there is a feeling among some urban folks and elites that the electorate has gotten the government it deserves. A condescending remark that is nothing but an insult geared towards the people who voted for Modi.
Frankly, it’s time that the privileged few living in Delhi, Mumbai, and other metropolitan cities understand that they cannot tell the electoratewhom to vote for. In a democracy, it’s the responsibility of the individual to vote for their interests.
Saying that the over 50 crore people who voted for Modi are idiots, bigots, or ignorant is the height of snobbery. But that’s not what’s terrible. What’s, in fact, terrible is that this line of thinking is flat out undemocratic and goes against the tenets of liberalism - the very ideal the so-called liberals in India like to lay claim to.
Maybe here’s a lesson in there for them- one that would hold them in good stead in the long run - if you claim to be a liberal, then talk like one and act like one and actually be a liberal - maybe that would help bring acche din for Indian liberalism in the future.
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