BJP played the emotional card well in LS elections

Shirish Shinde
Friday, 24 May 2019

The Pulwama attack and the airstrikes by the Indian Air Force on Balakot turned the tide in favour of the BJP. The party used this to send the message that only the BJP has the capacity to protect the country.

PUNE: The results of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 can be analysed in many ways. However, a phenomenon that seems to have played a major role is that the voters succumbed to the emotional appeals of the leaders.

This was evident in the past as well when two prime ministers were killed by extremist forces. The general elections held after the assassinations of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were completely swept by the Congress. In a similar manner, the elections held after the Kargil conflict was won by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

After the Assembly elections held in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh recently, it was speculated that the Lok Sabha 2019 elections will not be very favourable for the BJP.

However, the Pulwama attack and the resultant airstrikes by the Indian Air Force on Balakot turned the tide in favour of the BJP. The party used this to the hilt to send the message to the voters that only the BJP has the will or capacity to protect the country from terror attacks. This had led to a controversy over the issue.

This was extensively used by BJP chief Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi several times during their election campaigns for the Lok Sabha. There was a controversy that this violated the model code of conduct (MCC) during the elections. There was also a division within the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the issue.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh, BJP’s candidate from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, also created a controversy with her remarks on Hemant Karkare and Nathuram Godse.

However, the common voter did not seem to have taken into account such issues of propriety. Sentiments seem to have weighed with a majority of voters. The BJP strategists have played their cards perfectly well by not harping on development issues but only by appealing to the sentiments of the voters, which has finally paid.

However, the new BJP government will have to seriously think of overall development of the country. Sentiments do not always help win the day.

The Pulwama attack and the airstrikes by the Indian Air Force on Balakot turned the tide in favour of the BJP. The party used this to send the message that only the BJP has the capacity to protect the country.

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