With the decline of Congress party in the nineties the growing domination of regional parties in Indian politics adversely impacted the prospect of major National parties like congress or BJP securing a single party majority on their own. Added to the Congress woes there was a leadership vacuum in the dynasty after Rajiv’s demise. Traditional congress strong holds were slipping away from them. Coalition govt headed by a single largest party like Congress or BJP became the new normal.
However there was always this lurking fear in every political party about the plausibility of this tamed giant (BJP) coming to its own and emerge as a serious contender by wangling the elusive consolidation of the divided Hindu community which accounts for 80% of the population. Every non BJP politician worth his salt realised that the day BJP can consolidate the Hindu community their own political career aspirations would be laid to rest.
The opposition to BJP without having to tax their brains or getting immersed into complicated strategies struck upon a simple strategy to keep BJP at bay. The formula prescribed to secure the Minority community votes fully intact and supplement it with maximum of SC/ST /backward class votes as well as those of regional party voter base to ensure that BJP is kept outside the power corridor in Delhi. Unfortunately BJP suffered the worst erosion in its voter base post Mandal commission card played by Ex PM V.P. Singh even though it was not the only party which supported anti reservation protests. The divide between forward cast and backward cast was widening.
The strategy could by mathematically represented as, Minority votes+SC/ST/ back ward class votes + Regional party voter base (wherever applicable) = BJP in the opposition benches. This was so very well perfected that for two consecutive terms BJP led NDA was kept out, despite NDA having given a better account of themselves in the 1999–2004 term. Congress had perfected the art of keeping the coalition vessel afloat despite various challenges rocking the coalition boat. The communist withdrew the support in the 2004-2009 term and in the 2009-2014 terms the DMK and TMC deserted it. However it managed to survive by arm twisting SP and BSP through CBI in to enlisting their outside support.
Thus when 2014 elections were announced, the UPA under congress despite facing public outrage over various scams were sitting pretty confident relying on the success of their formula to usurp the BJP ‘s chance to stake claim for forming the govt. Congress was so confident about its coalition stitching ability that it was entertaining ideas about forming a largest ever coalition govt sans the BJP even if BJP emerged as the largest party. Some of the Congress stalwarts even arrogantly taunted BJP that it need not lose sleep over it as nobody is going to take away their seats from the customary opposition benches.
However slowly and steadily certain changes had started creeping in the factors represented in the formula.
The traditional outlook of BJP as a forward cast dominant party changed significantly. Many of the religious leaders like Sakshi Maharaj, Mahant Avaidhya Nath, Uma Bharathi etc had good backward class following. The emergence of Modi himself from backward class as well as his humble background displaced that old image of BJP as a Party of Brahmins and forward cast community. The religious leaders as well as the RSS cadres had worked in the rural areas to unite the backward casts by skillfully presenting the imminent consequential danger of unabated minority appeasement. The Modi–Amit Shah combine had worked out a wonderful social engineering ploy where by depending up on the local population mix suitable candidates and suitable local leaders were enlisted in to the party frame work. Various popular Hindu religious leaders like Baba Ram Dev, Sadhguru and SriSri were able to mobilise the backward classes.
Many of the under privileged casts in states like UP and Bihar had at least one member of the family earning a living in industrial cities of India as migrant labour. These migrant labours had personally experienced the difference in the administration as well as development of the states in which they worked with the wretched state of affairs back home. Their opinions do count a lot back home in their villages.
The under privileged backward class were also becoming aware of the sudden change in the personal fortunes of their leaders and their families. The leaders who were supposed to be fighting impoverishment and neglect of their community were reveling in inconceivable riches that one associates with famed monarchies of the olden times. The bitterness was such that it was natural for many of them to rethink their traditional voting habits.
The Muslim community too was undergoing a tumultuous period of realignment following mushrooming of Sunni fundamentalism spreading everywhere from the Middle East. Many Muslim minority sects like Shia, Ahmedias, Sufis have been at the receiving end of the Sunni influenced Islamic terror. There was intensifying distrust between the Sunni fundamentalism and other sects of Islam. Thus there was no more concurrence in voting preferences between Sunni and other sects of Islam .
The Muslim community has not been fully able to insulate the Muslim women from the influence of a modern society of 21st century. The aspirations of Muslim women have been getting stifled by the clerics and the overall injustice meted out to woman folks in Islam has been causing a lot of dismay amongst Muslim women. Thus there has been a growing urge to get even with the forces in Islam which was trying to subjugate the woman folks. The brewing resentment and craving to rebel against found ballot boxes as the right opportune for settling scores.
The factors in the formula having under gone change the result too had deviated from the normal outcome expected as before. Thus in states like UP where caste as well as religion dominates the election results; BJP accomplished astounding performance bagging a mind boggling 73 out of 80 seats for Lok Sabha. Subsequently as one state after the other was won over by BJP and with the UP assembly election success coming off as the most coveted crowning glory, the opposition suffered nervous breakdown and some like Mayawati the BSP leader became hysterical. Many in the opposition dreaded to entertain the possibility that the formula could have become defunct. They were so much obsessed with the righteousness of the formula, that they allowed themselves to be consumed by most improbable doubts and most fictitious suspicions on the Election process itself.
The EVM tampering was suspected and soon all parties spoke in one voice that EVMs were not fool proofed enough against hacking. Many demanded that the ballot box system be reverted to. Parties like AAP set up their hacker staff and assigned them the task of demonstrating whatever slim possibility that may exist on influencing EVM. Joint petitions were filed with EC and SC to discontinue EVMs. Elections system of advanced countries was being cited as paradigm to validate their reservations on EVM. One of the senior congress leaders visited London to attend an EVM hacking demonstration.
After failing to achieve EVM banishment, the terrified opposition concentrated on demand for installation of VVPAT machine with every machine. It went to Supreme Court and finally was agreed to by EC. Even after securing their demand for installation of VVPAT with every EVM the opposition is still suspicious of the cross verification process of EVM and VVPAT congruence. Here in too some concessions were accorded by EC to allay opposition fear. Still not satisfied the entire opposition went to Supreme Court with their demand to increase the verification percentage. Ironically none of them are bothered about rampant booth capturing and voter intimidation by goons let loose by the ruling party with tacit connivance of state administration in west Bengal.
The opposition to Modi have so much of obsessive faith in their formula that they are even willing to ascribe its failure to some suspected fraudulent means adopted by BJP in connivance with election commission officials, than revisit the formula. If they only had reviewed their formula they would have noticed that the factors in the formula had undergone tremendous change and a new counter balancing factor called Nationalism has figured in the equation in favour of the BJP.