The Saffronisation of India
Causes and Implications
Aftab H. Wahla
The result of the gruelling seven-phase Indian election (from April 11 to May 19, 2019) to the 17th Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament, has not only stunned political pundits and the opposition parties in India but has also sent shockwaves across South Asia, besides intensifying Kashmiris’ alienation from the Indian state, horrifying Muslims and Christians in India and bringing to its culmination the saffronisation that has laid bare the conservative credentials of the Indian state and society. As per the official results, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured 353 seats, with the Hindu nationalist party BJP single-handedly winning 303 and emerging thereby as the single largest political party. Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) failed to arrest the spread of Hindutva influence as it could hardly win 91 constituencies, INC itself could bag 52 seats only. Since India, by dint of its diplomatic, economic, demographic and geostrategic clout, has emerged of late as one of the important players in a fast-evolving multipolar world, therefore, electoral outcome and formulation of government there do carry huge significance for regional peace and security as well as for global finance and diplomacy.
Though the thumping victory of BJP – widely read as Modi’s – seems surprising given the huge embarrassment resulting from Pakistan’s befitting response to Indian aggression in the wake of the so-called Balakot strike, Modi’s ridiculous claim about sending email and using digital camera even before they were invented, poor performance on economic front due to woolly-headed and hastily-imposed demonetization, poorly-implemented goods and services tax( GST), worst unemployment levels in 40 years and agriculture crisis, analysts well-versed in social and political history of India were predicting a landslide win for NDA especially given the fast-metastasizing sectarian, ethnic and caste-based division of India and Modi’s deliberate attempts to capitalize on these sentiments for catapulting his party again to the power corridors.
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