MODI’S EMPHATIC VICTORY RAISES OUR HOPES OF RETURN TO KASHMIR
Even his best well-wishers did not expect the kind of victory that NDA, under Narendra Modi’s leadership, would notch up in the recently concluded General elections, 2019. It is a kind of victory who’s far reaching consequences on the future of India. It is not that just one segment of the population ensured this victory; the victory margin suggests that nearly every segment of the diverse Indian society voted emphatically for Narendra Modi to ensure his unprecedented victory; the only time in the history of independent India ( after Indira Gandhi and Nehru) that a ruling party came back with a victory margin larger than the one it had got in the previous election.
People cutting across regions, caste barriers, economic disparities, religious denominations, rich, poor, underprivileged, neglected, those on the margins of the society and male or female voted for NDA to ensure its massive victory. It is now widely recognized that by and large, people throughout the country voted for Narendra Modi, rather than for BJP or NDA. That is the kind of sway Modi held over the Indian electorate.
In my opinion, there are six basic reasons why Indians voted for Modi in such large numbers. These are; Modi’s welfare schemes, his incorruptible persona, his willingness to take tough decisions, success of his foreign policy, particularlythetough policy vis a vis Pakistan,being an extremely effective communicator, his unwillingness to give up his Hindu identity.
His welfare schemes touched millions of those who were always on the margins of Indian society; the poorest of the poor. The toilet revolution, Jan DhanYojna, provision of cooking gas through UjwalaScheme, access to electricity, homes for the poor, Mudra loans, health insurance and much more. Despite the ‘Chowkidar ChorHei’ sloganeering by his principal opponent, Rahul Gandhi, Indians remained convinced that Modi is incorruptible. The fact is that Modi Government remained untainted by the scams that had marred the UPA I and II. People saw it as a big achievement.
Some of the toughest decisions that Modi took in his tenure included ; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, Goods and Services Tax, Direct Benefit Transfers ( in the economic sphere) and conducting surgical strike inside Pakistan in Sept 2016 and later launching an air strike on Balakote, deep inside Pakistan, on 26 Feb 2019, after the Jaish e Mohammad had carried out the Pulwama bombing which resulted in the killing of 44 CRPF jawans on 14Feb 2019.
His foreign policy too has been far more effective than that of UPA during the latter’s two terms. Needless to say, India is no longer seen as a lumbering elephant unwilling to shake its lethargy; it is being seen as an economic giant in the making. From registering higher GDP and per capita income, to controlling inflation, Modi’s tenure has seen an economic revival for which India waited for too long. This has resulted in higher incomes at individual level and massive investment in the core sectors, including building and modernizing the country’s creaking infrastructure; from highways to railway stations, from freight corridors and airfields to ports and river waterways. This has turned India into a huge lucrative market for the big powers, who see it in their interests to maintain friendly relations with India. But credit must go to Narendra Modi for leveraging India’s huge economic potential to project itself as a leading player on the international field. While keeping his relations with the three big powers, i.e., the U.S, China and Russia on friendly level, Modi ensured that the other European powers like France, Germany and England too sided with India in major multilateral fora. India’s relations with its neighbours, except Pakistan, has never been better and other regional powerpowerblocks and important countries like ASEAN, Australia, Singapore, etc., continue to be engaged as Asia-Pacific attains greater importance in the changing geo-strategic environment. India has largely succeeded in isolating Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, resulting in a great setback to the latter’s economy. At another level, India succeeded in calling Pakistan’s nuclear bluff when it attacked Balakote terror training camp. Pakistan was left with no option but to eat a humble pie.
Modi has displayed an enormous capacity to establish direct rapport with India’s teeming millions by his ability to communicate with them in the language they understand best, dealing with issues which are of great importance to them and articulating their expectations and aspirations in a very effective manner. Today, millions of voters feel empowered mainly because they feel that the nation’s Pradhan Sevak is talking to them directly on issues which concern them so intimately.
It will be futile to overlook Modi’s emphasis on embracing Hindu civilizational traditions, ethos and its past. That Bhagwa has achieved a place of prominence during Modi’s five-year rule from 2014 to 2019. His visit to holy places which have an unbroken history of many millennia, his prayers in a cave at Kedarnath in keeping with our centuries-old traditions of meditation, his welcoming foreign dignitaries in Kashi, etc., are not merely coincidental sojourns, but a deliberate attempt to reinforce our Hindu past; something that was deliberately being ignored, nay denied, by the UPA I and II. There is a huge mass of people in India who have welcomed this positive change in the government’s perception. For them, the issues like cow-slaughter and Ram temple are matters of eternal faith and their participation in the Modi’s electoral campaign has played no mean part in the victory of BJP in recently-concluded elections.
As reported in the media, the displaced Kashmiri Pandits in migrant camps and those who had got their vote transferred to Kashmir by submitting the ‘M’ Form, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the BJP. Over 86 % of them voted for the BJP candidates in their respective constituencies in Kashmir. Those of us who voted in the rest of the country, too voted for BJP.Thus making BJP their most preferred party at the hustings. The main reason for this preference has been the degree of trust that our displaced community places in PM Narendra Modi to address our core issues; foremost amongst these being the reversal of their genocide and rehabilitation in the Valley. Numerous petitions have been handed over to the Government of India over the years; the latest being the one presented by a delegation of Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora led by this writer. This memorandum was presented to the Union Home Minister, Sh. Raj Nath Singh on 14 Sept 2018, in New Delhi.
We do appreciate that rehabilitation of our community in Kashmir is part of a larger Kashmir conundrum, whose other equally important aspects are the scrapping of Article 370 and abrogation of Article 35 A, compelling Pakistan, diplomatically or otherwise, to stop infiltrating its armed militants in Kashmir, neutralizing the armed Jihadis in the State, dealing with separatists, radicalized Kashmiri society and their underground and over ground supporters in the Valley.
Nevertheless, KPs have seen a reassuring resolveon the part of the government through some of the NDA Government’s actions while dealing with the larger Kashmir issue; be it withdrawing support from the Mehbooba-headed coalition Govt in J&K, air strike at Balakote, dealing sternly with Hurriyet leadership, neutralizing nearly 400 jihadis in ‘Operation All Out’ or eliminating the complete leadership of HM, Jais and LeT in the last 4 years.
It is hoped by all Indians that the massive mandate obtained by Sh. Narendra Modi should arm this newly constituted Government with all powers necessary to resolve those intractable issues which have bedeviled the country’s progress since independence; these are the Kashmir issue and Kashmiri Hindus’ rehabilitation in Kashmir, the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, introducing bill for implementation of Uniform Civil Code, laws on anti-Cow Slaughter, Abolition of Tripple Talaq, etc.
We hope that NDA II will hit the ground running to ensure their huge mandate is not wasted, like Rajiv Gandhi did in 1984.