Nidhi Razdan: People of India have spoken in verdict 2024 Video Credit: Gulf News

The people of India have spoken. The 2024 verdict is a clear message to Narendra Modi — yes we are voting you back for a third term, but India is not a one nation, one party, one religion, one leader monolith. It is a plural, diverse country where nothing and no one is above the constitution.

For the first time in a decade, India is back to a coalition government. Failing to secure a majority on its own, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now dependent on regional parties like TDP and JDU — as allies for support. And this will significantly change the way things are run in Delhi.

For one, this is the first time Prime Minister Modi will be heading a coalition. Both as Gujarat Chief Minister and then in his two terms as Prime Minister, Mr. Modi has had a huge majority. In the past, he has treated allies with disdain, to the point where several of them, including the TDP and JDU, left the NDA.

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A difficult pill to swallow

The BJP’s aim was complete political dominance swallowing up regional forces and a Congress ‘mukht’ Bharat. Its very clear this won’t be the case. How Mr. Modi handles a coalition will be interesting to see. He is used to taking important decisions at a whim. Now, he will have to consult allies. It is a difficult pill to swallow.

This also means that many contentious social and economic issues on the BJP’s agenda may be kept on the back burner for now, since the allies won’t be comfortable with them. Such as one nation, one poll and a uniform civil code (one common law for personal matters like marriage, inheritance etc).

There are already reports that the TDP and JDU are pushing for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post as insurance, since the Speaker’s role is crucial in case of a party split. Given the BJP’s track record in splitting up parties, this is wise move.

The sledgehammer style of politics that BJP is used to will also likely be toned down now. The party brazenly misused agencies to intimidate opposition leaders, froze the bank accounts of the Congress, and lead a deeply polarising campaign but none of it helped them get a majority on their own.

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Congress is reviving

In fact, the opposition alliance has done much better than many expected. The Congress is finally showing a revival after a decade of setbacks.

The verdict will also create a churn within the BJP. The shock result in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, has seen the BJP take a big knock and the Samajwadi Party make huge gains.

Ground reports suggested that the RSS cadre was not as involved in the campaign here, as micromanagement from the Delhi leadership took over and decided everything from strategies to ticket distribution.

Local leaders say the BJP leadership in Delhi ignored their advice on candidates and essentially believed the Modi factor would see them through.

There were whispers throughout the campaign that the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would be replaced by the BJP after the polls to cut him down to size. That too had an impact on his Rajput supporters at the polling booth.

The verdict has shattered the theory that PM Modi is invincible. After 10 years in power, the magic seems to be wearing off. Voters are still giving him another chance, but with many more checks and balances.

India’s voters have spoken.