BJP won the 2014 election by winning 282 out of 543 seats and Narendra Damodardas Modi was elected as the 14th Prime Minister of India. His gain in popularity as a leader increased exponentially and was one of the main reasons that BJP had a land-sliding victory in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. NDA led by BJP won 353 seats, while BJP alone share was of 303 seats out of 543. With the victory in ’14, it marked the beginning of “the Right Era” in India.
Since 2014, PM Modi has made a cult image of himself in the nation, especially among Hindus. He is being praised for reviving Indian sentiments and culture. A huge promotion of cleanliness (Swachh Bharat Mission), self-dependence (Make in India) are commendable. Above all, the Modi doctrine (foreign policy) is at its forefront and has gained a respectable position in the world. But with popularity comes controversies. Opposition alleges him and BJP for religious discrimination and hatred and leading the country into the darkness of unemployment. It is often referred to as “the party of Hindus”. The poor performance of the Economy is another setback for this government.
BJP is highly hailed for being the party who can take strong decisions. The removal of Article 370 and Article 35A and bifurcation of J&K into two UTs were highly strict, strong, and controversial decisions. The former state was put under section 144 and internet connection was cut-off for weeks. Many political leaders were put under house arrest. There were protests against this but the Government stood on its ground. The PDP chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted “…the darkest day in Indian democracy…”.
India has fallen 10 places to 51st position in 2019 EIU’s Democracy Index with the overall score shifting from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in 2019. The main reason cited is an erosion of civil liberties in the country. The current ranking is the lowest that India has ever scored. Not only in democracy but India has dropped two places on a global press freedom index and currently ranks 142nd out of 180 countries. This is the result of serious attacks over journalists over the past years. Over 200 serious attacks on journalists have been reported in India between 2014 -19 and 40 journalists have been killed.
The BJP policy against terror is very much hailed in the country. The recognition of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN (put on hold for years) has put BJP in a strong position. The surgical strike of ’16 as a reaction of Uri attack and Balakot airstrike as a reaction against Pulwama attack (the casualties remains unknown), helped BJP gain the support of Indians towards them. Terror, J&K, and Pakistan are critical issues since independence, and BJP knows that taking no stand against them will not only harm the country but their political control as well.
The biggest criticism about the BJP government has been the increasing tension between Hindus and Muslims. Communal violence has increased by 17% in 2015 and 41% over three years to 2017 (822 incidents in that year) as reported by NCRB. BJP led states UP, Maharashtra
and MP topped the lists. The Citizenship Amendment Bill,2019 saw a mass protest all over the nation. Shaheen Bagh and JMI were the hotspots of the protest.
Mob lynching has also seen a tremendous rise, the 2015 Dadri mob lynching case was a starting benchmark for that. There have been 97% cow-related attacks since ’14 and about half of the total incidents took place in BJP led states. The opposition alleges the ruling party for this increasing rift between different religious groups, especially Hindus and Muslims. PM responded, “mob lynching shouldn’t be politicized.”
Modi government miserably failed in bringing the black money as promised. Plus, the demonetization of 8 Nov 2016 was a fiasco. India moved toward the digital economy but brought baggage with it. The GDP growth rate dwindled from 8.01% to 7.11% after demonetization. Approximately 1.5 million jobs were lost during the final quarter of the financial year 2016- 17. India has an unemployment rate of 7.16% as of January 2020 report by the World Bank. In a recent survey by CMIE, the unemployment rate has reached 23.5% in April 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. There have a lot of ups and downs since ’14. India is moving toward a Hindu Raj rather than being secular (the soul of our nation). Religious hatred is at its peak and economy at its nadir. On the one hand, our international relation is building, on the other, our domestic relation is rotting. Terror is on the borders while communal riots and mob lynching is inside the borders. India is again moving toward a one-party rule. Is this what India needs? A majority believes that BJP is invincible till ’29, but that’s on time and us to decide. At the end, all its sums up to one question. Is the right-wing era, the right era?