June 24, 2024, 12:54 pm

2024 Election Demonstrates the Maturity of Indian Democracy

  • Update Time : Tuesday, June 11, 2024
  • 13 Time View
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—SELIM KHAN—

The 2024 Indian elections has concluded with Narendra Modi being sworn in as Prime Minister for the third consecutive time.

This achievement, placing him second only to India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, is a remarkable feat for a politician like Modi.

The entire election process and the results of 2024 not only mark a significant milestone in Indian politics but also underscore the maturity of Indian democracy.

However, Modi still trails behind Nehru in one respect – Nehru served as Prime Minister for 16 years and 286 days. To surpass this, Modi would also need to take oath as Prime Minister in 2029, by which time he will be well on his way to eighty.

Narendra Modi, however, has broken many of Pandit Nehru’s records after taking oath in May 2014 and running the government with an absolute majority for ten consecutive years.

Among these records, the preservation of secular, liberal and pluralistic structures stands out. India, as a country, is a unique example of a federal structure.

 

Its diversity in religion, races, languages and cultures is immense, and this is the essence of India.

This diversity is not just a saying about India, but a belief held by most of its politicians that unity in diversity has sustained the country, giving it a unique status.

The BJP and its leaders, especially Narendra Modi, initially gained some short-term benefits by promoting a simple linear idea of Hindutva. However, the 2024 Lok Sabha election results have made them realise this approach may be flawed.

They believed that emphasising Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan would help them gain control, but it is not sustainable in India’s diverse society.

This is evident because the Mughals ruled India for 331 years and the British for 190 years without attempting to change its social structure.

Even after India’s independence in 1947, the rejection of the Hindi-Hindustan narrative, which included a subtle emphasis on soft Hindutva, was demonstrated by the strong opposition to the imposition of Hindi in South India.

Despite this history, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have yet to learn from the past.

Narendra Modi believed that building the Ram Mandir on the site of the demolished Babri Masjid in Ayodhya would secure the election in 2024, but it did not.

The BJP lost in Faizabad, the area including Ayodhya, and a Samajwadi Party candidate won, even though 80% of the voters in this constituency are Hindu.

It highlights India’s diverse identity. Furthermore, the Akhilesh-Rahul alliance in Uttar Pradesh surpassed Modi’s BJP.

A similar jerk for Modi came from Rajasthan and Haryana, some from Bihar, too. But everyone thought the Indian alliance would do better in Bihar.

This dispels the myth of the Hindi-speaking region as solely a Hindu heartland, showing that the people there are just as Indian as in other areas.

This election serves as a warning to Indian voters about potential wrongdoers. In 1975, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a Congress party leader, sought to tighten her control by suspending civil rights.

However, two years later, Indian voters taught her a lesson by defeating her party in the 1977 elections. This was repeated in 2024.

Although not removed from power, Narendra Modi’s party, BJP, went from having 303 seats to 240. Over the last decade, the BJP-led government has now transformed into the NDA coalition.

Narendra Modi could not also replicate the success of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After winning two elections, Vajpayee’s government was in power from 1998 to 2004.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP secured 138 seats, while their alliance NDA got 189 seats. During this time, young BJP leader Pramod Mahajan sought Vajpayee’s permission to form another NDA government with the support of other parties.

Vajpayee, however, wisely told Mahajan, “People have allowed us to sit in opposition seats, not in the government.” This was a valuable lesson from a seasoned politician to a young leader.

 

Although Narendra Modi had the opportunity to accept this setback graciously, he chose not to, instead focusing on enticing potential partners.

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are essentially a contest between two major alliances: the NDA and the INDIA. This gives India a strong opposition, which is necessary for a healthy democracy.

In the 2019 elections, Modi’s party won 303 seats with 37% of the vote. This time, the strong opposition will be able to challenge the government, as they captured a significant part of a combined majority of 63% of the votes.

The opposition needs to continue their efforts democratically, and the recent increase in their numbers shows that the voters support this demand.

The most significant decision of the opposition INDIA so far has been to sit on the opposition bench and wait for the right opportunity.

Refraining from forming a government without a clear mandate from the voters demonstrates a commitment to democratic principles.

After ten years, India is returning to an era of coalition government. This means the vision of a pluralistic Indian society established in 1989 is being revived.

Many argue that a strong central government is essential in a federal structure like India. Congress also supported this idea in the past, and now the BJP strongly believes in it.

However, some believe country’s federal structure is at risk of weakening under a strong central government. They point to the rule of the Modi government over the last ten years as evidence of this.

 

Voters fulfilled their duty in the 2024 elections. The next responsibility has now been handed over to the opposition. This is because they have had ten years of experience with Narendra Modi and his government.

Consequently, people are keen to see what role Rahul, Akhilesh, Mamata, Uddhav and Tejashwi will play in strengthening India’s future democratic system.

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The writer is an Executive Editor of Digital Media, Independent Television

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