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  Opinion   Edit  05 Jun 2024  AA Edit | Regional parties gain as voters send clear signal

AA Edit | Regional parties gain as voters send clear signal

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jun 5, 2024, 1:10 am IST
Updated : Jun 5, 2024, 1:10 am IST

The drop in the numbers of the BJP has given up space for the regional forces to occupy.

Shiv Sena (UBT) supporters celebrate the party's lead during counting of votes for Lok Sabha elections, at the Shiv Sena Bhavan, in Mumbai, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)
 Shiv Sena (UBT) supporters celebrate the party's lead during counting of votes for Lok Sabha elections, at the Shiv Sena Bhavan, in Mumbai, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)

The results of the elections to the 18th Lok Sabha demonstrate that the people of this country have faith in its democracy and its institutions, and have no plan whatsoever to sell themselves to ideologies and agendas other than those that have sustained the republic for this long. They would want a stable government but shall not tolerate intolerance to ideas, hate-mongering and social polarisation. No grand narrative that seeks to strike at the roots of the ideals uniting this great nation will have their approval:

This seems to be the message that they have sent out.

The nitty-gritty of government formation will take time to play out but the simple fact that stands out is that the BJP, which had won the last two elections on its own, has failed to win an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha this time. This must be disappointing to its leadership which boasted of being all set to win 370 seats. But now even the NDA it leads is unlikely to cross 300 seats in the 543-member House.

It is a paradox that its whimsical and undemocratic agenda of a “Congress-mukt Bharat” (India without Congress) notwithstanding, the principal Opposition party in all likelihood will hit a three-digit figure and the INDIA bloc of which the latter is the key participant will be at striking distance of the BJP’s own numbers in the Lower House.

The BJP will do well to have its ear to the ground to catch the democratic tune, lest it misses the song. Rhetoric and grandstanding alone cannot win the popular vote; an attempt to understand the ground realities can.  

This was indeed a national election but the pattern that has emerged is that the regional parties have once again, perhaps after decades, regained their role in the country’s polity. The DMK, the Trinamul Congress, the Telugu Desam Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) will play a decisive role in the formation of the agenda of both the ruling and the Opposition blocs.

The regional parties had shot to prominence in the 1990s when the Congress, which predominantly occupied the Treasury benches till that time, got enfeebled. This time around, it is the drop in the numbers of the BJP that has given up space again for the regional forces to occupy. The parties may have their regional agendas as well but they came together to sustain coalition governments for two decades. So their presence will only lead to the sustenance of the diversity on which our republic is founded. In fact, the BJP slipped only when the Opposition focused on regional narratives.

The election results, which proved most exit polls wrong and rightly reflected the realities of life, must also put to rest the speculation about electronic voting machines, though the functioning of the Election Commission of India leaves much to be desired. The poll panel, on its part, must explore the possibilities of further making the election machinery transparent so that the last-minute rush to the country’s highest court can be avoided the next time.

Tags: aa edit, the trinamool congress (tmc), shiva sena