16th Lok Sabha Elections have turned the table after 10 years with NDA back in power. This victory is special in the sense as it emancipated the nation from the bargaining politics of coalition. Development politics was paid heed with communal tracks nearly forgotten. National Democratic Alliance with a strong mandate of 336 captured the power with BJP (its principal party) securing 282 seats alone. With these developments the nation embraced Narendra Modi as its Prime Minister. The socio-political environment in which these Lok Sabha elections happened was certainly highlighted by the charisma of Narendra Modi but this is not the complete tale. ‘The Youth factor’ that gained prominence in the contemporary era of Indian politics became pivotal in these elections. No hesitation must be felt while acclaiming this victory of BJP as a combined output of the Indian Youth’s aspiration. This youth who want employment and a bright career showed belief in the development discourse initiated by Modi. The point which I am making is not the appreciation of Na Mo phenomenon but of the Youth who came forward to vote in order to bring a positive change.
It’s a brave fact that in coming two years India would be the land of youngest population. This time we had 149.36 Million debutant voters who constituted more than 20% of the total electorates. Approximately more than 50% of the total electorates belonged to the category of youth. With this strong political power in their hand it was nearly impossible for any of the political party to ignore their problems and aspirations. But it was BJP under Modi which build a perfect youth oriented strategy which probably became the reason for the grand victory. Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of BJP went far to reach the young population in order to find a popular consent. We can even recall the pre-poll speeches of Narendra Modi which were simply aimed at creating a favorable impression on the minds of Youth which was there to play a major role in the elections. It was not just the strategy of BJP that send the new voters to the polling stations. There were desperate reasons which paved the way for the socio-political awakening of the Indian Youth. These reasons may be politically designed and presented but were motivated by the feeling of self-esteem and nationalism which grew out of an old despair.
Before taking this further I would like to discuss a short historical context of Indian youth and its socio-political environment. Though there are positive notes all around us still we must not forget the drilling of sluggishness among the major sections of Indian Youth gaining speed since the economic reforms of 1991. This young creed which came after the glorious days of Liberalization faced negligible hardships which paved the way for its insensitivity towards the society. The fashion statement like “I hate politics” gained fame. Youth activeness in the nation under the shadow of extreme poverty and hunger was always the need of the day but was hard to realize. Everybody enjoyed the entry of MNCs and their exciting products that created a ‘Feel Good’ effect. Their potential was known to the International community which tried its best to import the productive Indian minds. This contributed in the alienation of able Indian youth not only from its society but also from its traditional roots. Some among them who never left India rose to the occasion in order to serve the society with their respective talents. But in large the so called ‘cool’ variants of young Indians felt it to be an extra burden to think about the same. But days changed (though partially) in the backdrop of contemporary developments in the Indian society. From the movement of Anna till the rise of Narendra Modi, Indian youth transformed itself. What were the reasons for this positive change? Was it a Modi effect? Or was it just a natural process of transformation?
Indian youth despondent with the incidents of corruption, huge scams and insecurity (which has increased since few years) developed a social consciousness which was based on resistance and activism. Their resistance made them the part of nation’s political process. What was absent since many years resurrected inside the young minds who decided to vote not in the favor of their caste or class but in the favor of development and nationalism. They may have or may have not voted for Modi in particular but their vote was constructed on the belief on change rather than the conservatism of religion and caste. From Facebook to Twitter, this part of the population came forward to claim its position on various political and social incidents. The Na Mo phenomenon may not be underestimated in this whole process. Youth associated itself with Modi’s common man image of a tea seller during his childhood. This renaissance of the Indian Youth was also the result of anger, anxiety and a feeling of insecurity in the society. This young workforce was angry with its alienation from the progressiveness which was the common ruin motivated under UPA. Factors of wide unemployment and loss of opportunities due to economic slowdown catalyzed this anger to take the shape of insecurity. An insecure man is one of the most dangerous you can ever find. This uncertainty struck the nails on the coffin of Manmohan regime paving the way for Modi era. The pre-poll Modi promised this uncertain youth the certainty of development which gave the chance to the post-poll Modi to work for the same.
With the rise of Modi it is my hope that the Indian youth will gain its lost inheritance of nationalism and self-esteem. Whether my opinions would hold the further validation depends upon the days to come. Up till then we have to analyze the silver lining of this resurrection in order to provide an impetus for the future. Nation’s development and its stability depend upon how much its youth is socially concerned and politically active. With Youth now on the center stage of Indian Politics can bring the change we dream of.