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The election process in India has been completed. As expected, Modi emerged victorious in these elections. In this article, we will discuss in details the factors and future perspective of Modi’s victory. Modi’s victory is connected with the rising wave of nationalism around the world. There are many examples of rising nationalism in the world. These include Trump’s victory in the USA, Erdogan in Turkey, Brexit of UK, Duterte in Philipines, Nitinyahoo in Israel, Imran Khan in Pakistan and no exception Modi in India. The rise of nationalism is centered on “My state, my will” phenomenon”. Modi’s victory is also a brick in the rising building of nationalism around the globe. 

The 2019 elections in India were named as Modi vs Modi elections. There was not a strong candidate or strong party competing Modi. Rahul Gandhi (main rival of Modi) managed an effective campaign against Modi on social media. But Rahul failed to materialize his campaign into voting. Modi’s BJP party got 303 seats and Rahul’s Congress only won 55 seats. The Congress’ entire campaign was based on the anti-Modi narrative. Congress claimed that Modi became a danger for secular values of India. However, India people did not pay attention to this narrative.

We will have to look at the bigger picture behind Modi’s victory. This is nationalism vs secularism elections. The entire world and especially the third world countries are facing this phenomenon. Many experts believe that this rise of nationalism was the result of Global recession of 2008. Many see rising nationalism as a threat to globalism. Looking towards Indian history, we may come to know that India produced many secular faces like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indra Gandhi and many more. Globalism and secularism were at the peak from 1980 to 2008.

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The 21st century brought new mindsets and put a break on rising secularism. It was observed that rising Technology resulted in rising polarization. Social media provoked the sentiments of extremism inside societies. Here it must be noted that most of the nationalist leaders managed to win elections via effective use of social media. Donald Trump, Erdogan, and Imran Khan are clear examples. In 2016 elections mainstream media were opposing Donald Trump, but He efficiently managed his presidential campaign on social media and emerged as victorious.

This rising phenomenon was named as populism. A populist leader presents a different approach towards the affairs of State. Populist presents himself as a savior and his competitors as the reason for the problems. The global recession of 2008 provided the fuel to populism. Populists target traditional politicians. Corrupt elements in traditional politicians also provide fuel to a populist leader. For example, in America Trump effectively conducted his campaign on the corruption of Hilary Clinton. Similarly, in Pakistan Imran Khan targetted corrupt elements in his rival parties and now he is a prime minister of Pakistan. On the other hand, secular has no solid issues to target their populist opponents.

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Indian nationalist leader Modi used the same strategy to win the 2014 elections. Modi played a solidified strategy to win in 2014. Mr. Modi constructed his narrative of anti-Pakistan rhetoric. Modi brilliantly intensified his anti-Pakistan narrative. His slogan gained pace in India after 2016’s Uri attack. Similarly, the recent Pulwama attack on February 2019 was also used by Modi to win elections. India’s acclaimed strike in Pakistan and Mission Shakti added fuel to Modi’s campaign. In this, all scenario Rahul Gandhi of Congress appeared as a weak political personality. All these factors contributed to Modi’s victory. 

Mr. Modi termed his political opponents as “pro-Pakistani”. Those who raised questions on claimed, “surgical strike” were labeled as traitors. A Mob lynching became a routine in the past 5 years. Modi tried to please the majority of the Indian population which belongs to Hindu religion. Modi’s BJP presented Congress alliance as a threat to Hindu identity in India. Beside this, Modi’s BJP surfaced many corruption cases against the rival Congress.

The main reason for Populism around the world is that the traditional politicians were failing to deliver their people. At many points, traditional politicians could not succeed in delivering their promises. The global recession of 2008 was totally blamed on traditional politicians of the world. People think that the recession was due to the corruption of the political elite. People believe that populist leaders are corruption free and therefore they will serve the country. On one hand, globalists are trying to regain their lost credibility while on the other hand populists has successfully managed their image as patriot leaders.

Chinese President Xi Jiping – Photo via wikipedia.org

People in the world are very serious about their countries. We can see that Mahathir in Malaysia, Xi Jinping of China, Modi of India, Duterte of Philipines, Imran Khan of Pakistan, Erdogan of Turkey, Muhammad Bin Sulman of Saudi Arabia, Putin of Russia, Trump of USA are all experts in defending their country at international levels. Brexit of UK is also the result of the rising wave of populism. Populism is also making roots in Italy and France in Europe. While, globalists are facing a decline in many realms.

We are all aware of the tensed situation at the global level. The trade war is at its Peak, Uncertainty in Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine conflict, Kashmir conflict, Middle East turmoil, these all factors are paving way for rising nationalism. In all these cases, people also want good representatives of their country at international forums. In this scenario, only those leaders win who address security issues, according to the demands of people. Now national security and foreign policy became an important part of the election campaign. People want no compromise on national security. It seems that people want a person who can aggressively defend their country. They don’t want a leader with compromising politics.

The military establishment also plays a role in foreign policy and national security around the world. Populist leaders maintain good relations with their military establishment. Modi successfully maintained his hawkish image inthe military establishment of India after Pulwama attack. The anti-Pakistan rhetoric was the main factor behind Modi’s win. Indian people consider him as a person who can counter China and Pakistan effectively.

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It may be noted that this rise of populism did not impact the trades. Trade and business activities are still rising. And there are possibilities that trades will go up despite rising nationalism. However, small tussles will also keep on occurring in various realms of national security and foreign policy. Also, the trade between the countries will be connected with the issues of national security. It means the trade will continue to rise despite this hostile environment as we have seen the case between USA and China.

The drawbacks of populism include the rise of fascism which may catalyze the intolerance within society. It also adds fuel to extreme tendencies. People want to go for extreme positions instead of negotiations and compromises. People do not want to listen to the point of view of their political opponents. Populism diminishes the culture of debates. Minorities are the biggest victims of populism. Divisions in societies gain momentum due to populism.