In the wake of celebrations marking the victory of India’s opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party in national elections, its state leaders are promising a bright future for the country.
“We have never experienced such happiness. We’ll rise to the expectations of the people. We’ll fulfill all our promises. In the first three months of our rule, change will be seen in the whole country,” said Bharat Dixit, senior BJP leader from the northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh.
In Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest electoral state, BJP won 71 out of the total 80 seats in Lok Sabha or the lower house of Indian parliament. The party secured 100 percent of the seats in a number of large states.
Campaign analysts said the party’s success can largely be attributed to the impact of Narendra Modi, the party’s leader and now prime minister-elect. Local party leaders are calling it the “Modi Wave.”
“We were riding on Modi ji’s (the ji suffix indicates respect) wave. Actually, it was easy this time,” said Vishal Jolly, the state-president of Andamans, a single constituency island state of India in the Bay of Bengal.
The party won 282 of 543 seats in Lok Sabha, giving it a clear majority to form a government in the country’s capital New Delhi. Those supportive of the BJP have won another 54 seats, bringing the total seats to 336, reducing the power of the other parties to a pittance.
The Indian National Congress (INC), India’s current ruling party, emerged from the elections with only 44 seats. Even with its alliances, the United Progressive Alliance has only 59 seats.
INC is the oldest political party of India. It is associated closely with the country’s struggle for freedom from British rule, and has ruled in India for longer than any other political party.
“There are so many states where the National Congress Party could not even win a single seat. It doesn’t even have the numbers to be the opposition party,” said Satpal Singh, the state president of BJP from Himachal Pradesh, a Himalayan state that borders China.
It is the way Modi communicated with the masses that really made an impact on the electorate. A poster on the BJP website mentions work on a seven point rainbow principle for India—culture, youth power, women’s empowerment, agriculture, natural resources, democracy, and knowledge.
The poster also mentions brand India’s focus on five Ts: talent, trade, tradition, tourism, and technology.
Modi has always been seen as a pro-business leader. His win is likely to bring in greater economic and development reforms in the country. This is very visible in the way he communicates.
“Internally corruption and costliness will decrease. The country will move toward development—that’s the agenda with which Modi ji fought the elections,” Singh said.
Singh also said Modi has the capacity to give a befitting reply to neighbors trying to meddle with Indian borders.
“With Modi ji at the helm of affairs nobody from outside can put pressure on us. Earlier Pakistani soldiers just entered our territory and killed our soldiers, and it took much time for our government to respond. China shows part of Himachal Pradesh territory on its map and keeps intruding in the Ladakh region also. Modi ji will surely give a befitting reply to such forces,” he said.
Meanwhile the mood at various BJP state units remains upbeat. Images of supporters dancing to the beat of Indian drums, festive face paint, the unfurling of BJP’s orange-green flags with the lotus party symbol, and the distributing of sweets are common.
“People are going to give us the opportunity many more times. We will fulfill all expectations; it does take time though. All we workers of the party have lots of samman (respect) for the party leaders,” said Ashok Agarwal, a BJP worker from Rajasthan, a western border state with Pakistan.