Focus on reviving the economy

The 2024 Lok Sabha verdict was as much about the clash of political ideas as it was about the economic issues. While the post-poll analysis in the media is largely focused on politics, caste and community dynamics, the influence of the macro and micro economic problems on the poll outcome in different regions cannot be ignored. The major factors in the elections were growing unemployment, price rise, shrinking opportunities for the youth, and farm distress. For many on the ground, the undercurrents of discontent were unmistakable. Rural distress influenced the voters’ minds in Uttar Pradesh, which handed out a major upset for the saffron party.

The people outside UP may find it difficult to process the defeat of the BJP candidate in Faizabad, under which Ayodhya falls, because of all the hype surrounding the consecration of Ram temple. However, the political narrative around the temple did not help the local population struggling to meet their daily needs. In other parts of the country, particularly in the Hindi heartland, the micro, small, and medium enterprises were still reeling under the devastating impact of the double whammy of demonetization and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BJP leadership must learn lessons from the sobering public verdict and focus on addressing the pressing economic issues in its third term instead of harping on divisive agendas. In this election economic issues such as unemployment, high inflation, and falling income levels played a key role in determining voters’ choices in the elections. These factors proved crucial as the ruling BJP, which was pinning its hopes on Hindutva and the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fell short of securing a majority on its own.