AHEAD of next year’s general election, Indian ruling Bharatiya Janata Party lost key state elections in some of its strongholds of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The results are seen as a clear setback to the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi under whose command, the country has only seen rising tide of extremism and intolerance especially against the Muslims and Christians. Even the rhetoric against Pakistan did not help Modi to secure his strongholds.
The Indian analysts themselves see the latest contest at the state level between Congress and the BJP as a semi-final to the general election due by May next year. As the poll results show that the Congress has emphatically displaced the BJP, it indicates that the people in important states have totally rejected the internal and external policies of their Prime Minister Modi. As regards internal policies, Narendra Modi’s grandiose promises – especially to create more jobs and increase incomes of farmers – have begun to bite. A lack of jobs and farmer distress could also be the crucial issues at next year’s national election. According to analysts, the reason behind the Congress victory is the people feel that there is a lack of development in most parts of the country despite 15 years of the BJP governing there. So much disappointed were the people from the Modi junta that the spitting of venom against Pakistan by the BJP leaders did not help the Party secure sufficient votes to outclass the Congress. In this backdrop, it is advisable for Modi to revisit his policies be it regarding to its people or the neighbouring countries as the recent elections have proved that the saner elements in India are more concerned about their development than Pakistan bashing. Rather the Indian people want to have peaceful and cordial relations with the neighbouring country. Pakistan has always expressed readiness to hold dialogue with India and incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly offered the Indian side to come to the table of negotiations. It is only through sitting together the two countries can resolve their outstanding disputes and then focus their energies on the people’s welfare and alleviation of poverty. Instead of spending billions of dollars on weapons build-up, the most prudent path for Modi would have been to divert these resources to bring improvement in the living standards of the people. This is how he can win the hearts and minds of the people.