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Is there a Modi Wave in India?
Friday April 11, 2014 3:22 PM, Syed Ali Mujtaba,

Comparing Modi Wave with other waves in India, it's really hard to call it a wave as it does not match up to wave length of the wave witnessed earlier in India. Just match the Indira wave with the slogan 'Adhi Roti khaenge Indira ko Bulenege' in 1980 with 'Ab ki bar Modi Sakar.' Do both waves have the same wave length? Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

Modi with Tata

The first wave India witnessed was the Nehru wave. The Lok Sabha elections in 1951, 1957 and 1962 had strong current of Nehru wave and he was the popular choice of every India. This was due to Nehru's role in India's freedom struggle. There was no other leader in India to match the stature of Nehru. Does current Modi wave of vibrant Gujarat matches the Nehru wave of the 50'S and 60's. Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

The second wave was Indira wave in 1971 Lok Sabha elections. This was generated in the aftermath of Bangladesh war. Do we have that kind of wave for Modi in India now that can match Indira Gandhi of 1971? Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

After that it was the Janata party wave in 1977 to remove Indira Gandhi from power. It was generated due to accesses committed by her during the national emergency 1975 - 1977. Do we have that kind of wave in India now for Modi now that was witnessed as Janata party wave in 1977? Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

In the Lok Sabha of 1980, there was again a wave in favour of Indira Gandhi to bring her back. The slogan Adhi Roti khaenge, Indira go Bulenege rented the air during 1980 LS poll. Do the current wave of Modi is any where nearer to the Indira wave of 1980? Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

The 1984 Lok Sabha elections took place soon after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. There was definite wave in favour of Rajiv Gandhi and Congress won the elections with 414 seats. Do we have that kind of wave in favor of Modi in 2014 Lok Sabha election? Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

In 1989, when VP Singh went on to became the Prime Minister in the wake of Bofor scandal, there was a definite wave in his favor. Even this time Congress is burdened with corruption charges, but does Modi wave matches the wave length that VP Singh generated in 1989? Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

The 1991 Lok Sabha election took place in the backdrop of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. It generated a huge sympathy wave in favor of the Congress that saddled Narshima Rao to power. Is the current Modi wave anywhere matches the Congress wave of 1991? Well you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

The only wave that the BJJP could build was the Ayodhya wave. This was built by LK Advani that synchronized with the Rajiv era. In all probability that wave could have brought BJP to power in 1991, but Rajiv Gandhi's killing turn the wave in Congress favor. The demolition of the Babari masjid in 1992 punctured the air of that BJP wave.

In the 1996 Lok Sabha election the BJP tried to build another wave with the slogan 'Mandir whoin banainge,' but that wave could sustain the Vajpayee government only for 13 days.

In the 1999, Lok Sabha elections the BJP could manage 182 seats and the NDA could manage majority only by coalition and not by any wave. It was only because the Telgu Desam party and the DMK that lend its support to the NDA that sustained Vajpayee government till 2004. The Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009 are current affairs.

So we compare the current Modi wave with the former electoral waves in India, it can be said that the Modi wave do live up to the benchmark of earlier waves. At best it can be seen as media generated wave and more sort of kite flying of ideas. There is little substance in the theory of Modi wave.

The second inference that comes out is that in the best of its time; the BJP wave could muster only a 182 seats and had to rely on coalition partners form the government. Will the current Modi wave give BJP 300 + seats? Well again you may be kidding if your answer is yes!

At best the current Modi wave can make BJP the single largest party in India. This could be an action replay of what happened in last Delhi assembly election. But did BJP formed the government?

The dream of 'Ab ki bar Modi sarkar' can only metalize if big time regional parties join the NDA. They are Jaya, Maya and Mamata. The Trinamool leader has made up her mind against Modi, if we go by her words at the Ramlila ground in Delhi ahead of the announcement of Lok Sabha polls. Mayawati if she gets 40 + seats, it will be purely due to its minority support base, and will she betray them after the polls. This leaves Jayalalitha 20+ seats open.

In the general election 2014 the basic idea of India is at test. The core values of our identity are democratic pluralism, freedom of speech and social inclusion. Among them the social inclusion is at great risk if we support the idea 'Ab ki bar Modi.'

It is this idea of India that is under assault by the Modi hype. We cannot afford to add on to our growing inequalities by supporting such wave. India's diversity is huge and it can be sustained only through social inclusion. Its negation will be detrimental to India.

India should not be judged by the GDP as being promised by the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate. If India has to be built it has to be on its core ideas that are high GDP growth in tandem with social inclusion. This hypothesis will be tested on May 16, the day of the counting of the votes, and hopefully that will put curtains on the Modi wave.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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