Focus on the real issue

The outcome of the long-drawn-out polling for Mandate 2024 will be out on Tuesday. This was arguably one of the most polarising general election campaigns the country has witnessed. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi led a grueling campaign, seeking a third term in office for the BJP. On the other hand, the opposition which appeared divided, jaded, and listless at the beginning of the elections managed to get its act together and mounted an aggressive counter against the ruling party. It witnessed fierce debate. The campaign was deeply communal with minority Muslim bashing becoming the norm during the campaign.

The campaign revealed one thing about India. Institutions may be under strain in India, but competitive electoral democracy is alive and kicking at the grassroots, and no leader, however popular one may think the person is, can take the voters for granted. Every vote has to be fought for with hard work, by hard-selling promises and achievements and, unfortunately, by stoking fears about what might be. The good thing is that the electorate is particular about its choices and seems unwilling to be impressed by legacy, placing a premium on record. The bad thing is they are often enamoured by freebies, and all too susceptible to polarising rhetoric. The result will be out and soon a new government will be formed. But the deeply polarising campaign has once again hurt the social fabric of the nation. One wonders how long can this be allowed to be continued. Someone needs to put an end to communal politics and focus on development.