How Congress mis-read New India

While the average Indian citizen unabashedly and decisively said ‘ayega to Modi hi!’, the educated and elite were not so sure.   Although anti-incumbency was not so visible, the media reports of sluggish economy, low pace of job growth etc kept the doubts about a BJP majority alive. While this was the sentiment in cocooned spaces, the man or woman on the street thought differently. Any sensing conversation one struck up with a bhajiwala, autowala, milkman, security guard, villager, pravasi bharatiya or youngsters almost ended with a resounding ‘ayega to Modi hi’.

Most political parties and particularly Congress completely missed the clues from the masses. We are no longer who we were in the 70s’ or even 80s’ – where bright students dreamt of landing a job in US or ‘anywhere abroad’. We are no longer ‘look West’ people who spoke ‘only English’ or wore  Western clothes to be considered modern. We are no more perennially complaining about the condition of our nations’ infrastructure.

India is transforming into a proud and powerful player in the world.  In the last few years, religion which is so integral to life is brought out of shadows and into political discourse.  Our traditions and practices are being retrieved and being marketed even. There is confidence and sometimes arrogance about our achievements in every sphere – academic, scientific, sports, technology, economic, political. We have the gumption to be unapologetically Hindu and yet be a responsible citizen of this nation. We speak the language of development, of better quality of life, of travelling the world. Our wallet is sought after and our millionaires are flaunting their earthiness.  

This is not aspirational India, it is the new and current India. And this election, the BJP and its leaders grasped, shaped and later tapped into this New India, while the grand old party stayed entangled in past paradigms.

Author: Priya Vasudevan (the author can be reached on her twitter handle @uniquepv)

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