This has been a mammoth election with the country focused on a need for change in many directions. The results show that the people do, indeed, want change and have turned to Narendra Modi to deliver this. His history of improvement in Gujarat is what has drawn people to him, in the hope that the same improvements can be made in the rest of the country. But what of the rest of the parties? They are too many, with too many confusing names, for people outside of India to want to take notice; but from my perspective here there are two points I would like to make.
This election is for representatives to the National Government, electing representatives to the State Legislature takes place at a different time – a little like the American elections for Congress and the House of Representatives. The vote count is, therefore, a reflection of a party’s success (or lack of it) throughout the whole of India. The outgoing Congress Party managed to gain only 40 seats out of the 543 contested. Modi’s party has taken 282, giving him a clear mandate to rule.
Interestingly, the AIADMK party of Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, which only stood in this state, won a massive 37 out of the 39 seats for Tamil Nadu. That means that the Tamil Nadu ruling party is third place in numbers of seats won over the whole country (Modi’s BJP 285, Congress 44, AIADMK 37). This puts Jayalalitha in a very strong position in the central government, which could be very beneficial for Tamil Nadu as a whole.
Today is a day of celebration in India. But when the celebrations are over, let’s hope that the new government can deliver the kind of policies that India needs right now. With an overall majority for the first time in many years, that now seems more of a hope than a dream!