“NaMo 2.0” – The hows and whats of 2019 election
From 11 April to 19 May 2019, the 2019 Indian general election was held to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. To take part in the world’s largest democratic exercise, around 90 crore people were eligible. According to the Election Commission of India, the final voter turnout stood at 67.11 per cent, the highest ever in the history of Indian Parliamentary Elections. Women voiced their opinion as 2019 marked the first time that female voter turnout equalled male voter turnout. According to BBC News, this election saw the largest number of female candidates – 723 out of the total 8,000 candidates. The battle for a total of 543 seats was held in seven phases, with counting starting on 23 May. BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) won 303 seats and NDA (National Democratic Alliance), the BJP-led alliance, won 353 seats. Congress party won 52 seats, and UPA (United Progressive Alliance), the Congress-led alliance, won 92 seats.
The Congress party, other opposition parties and a group of retired civil servants accused the Election Commission of India as being compromised and as endorsing the model code of conduct violations by Narendra Modi and other BJP political leaders during their 2019 campaign.
BJP, Congress and other political parties spent over Rs. 53 crore on Facebook and Google. According to Facebook Ad Library Report, there were 1.21 lakh political ads between February and May 15 this year, making India’s election one of the world’s costliest.
On 31st March 2019, several cable operators added a new channel named NaMo TV which covered Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rallies, speeches and promotional events. Further, independently, a Bollywood biopic named “PM Narendra Modi” starring Vivek Oberoi was due for release in early April. The Election Commission deferred the release stating that the movie was “more than biography, it is hagiography” and will “tilt the electoral balance” of the ruling BJP.
Bundles of unaccounted for cash amounting to Rs. 281 crore was found during raids conducted by the Income Tax Department against close aides of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and others. Since the raids were linked to only opposition leaders, Election Commission told probe agencies to be neutral in their raids.
Congress released its manifesto titled “Congress Will Deliver” in which, according to P Chidambaram, the head of the manifesto committee, umemployment, farmer distress and security of women were top three issues. The theme of the manifesto is how to marry wealth with welfare, he added.
Apart from making India the third largest economy of the world by 2030, national security, Ram Mandir, doubling farmers’ income, terrorism, abrogation of Article 35A, was mentioned in the BJP manifesto titled “Sankalp Patra”.
In order to become the official opposition party in the Lok Sabha, a party must win at least 10 per cent of the total number of the seats – 55 in the current parliament. Since no party attained this number, India remains without an official opposition party.
Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister whose governing party was re-elected with a full majority.
BJP became the first party in 30 years to win a single party majority.
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party President, who was elected three times consecutively from Amethi, lost this time by over 55,000 votes.
Rana Ayyub, journalist and author of “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up”, blamed the Indian opposition stating that it “failed to effectively counter the political appeal of the BJP and its nationalistic ideology.” She added that Congress “was not pushing hard enough to create a united front of major national and regional parties.”
From world leaders to several Bollywood celebrities, Narendra Modi received many congratulatory tweets for the victory.
The global media had mixed reaction to the victory. The Washington Post stated that in Modi’s victory, “voters endorsed his vision of a muscular, assertive and fundamentally Hindu India.” While the British media outlet The Guardian published an editorial titled “The Guardian view on Narendra Modi’s landslide: bad for India’s soul”.
According to NDTV, after BJP’s victory, the Sensex surged 623 points or 1.61 per cent to close at 39,435 and the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 187 points or 1.6 per cent to end at 11,844.
Exercising powers vested in him under Article 75 (1) of the Consitution of India, President Ram Nath Kovind on May 25 appointed Narendra Modi to the office of Prime Minister of India. In his address to the new batch of MPs at the Parliament Central Hall, PM Narendra Modi in his 75-minute address, stated that his government will now begin “a new journey to build a new India with new energy.” He also added that the MPs should work without discrimination and win the trust of the minorities.
-Written by: Anandha Lekshmi Nair
Picture Credits: reuters.com