With just 5 days to go for the first phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, there will be three kinds of voters:
- Diehard supporters of PM Modi, BJP and its NDA allies including Shiv Sena, JDU, AIADMK, SAD, LJP, etc.
- Diehard supporters of Congress, Trinamool, SP, BSP DMK, NCP, RJD, TRS, YSRCP, JDS, CPIM, etc., as well as diehard RSS/BJP/Modi-haters who will vote for these opposition parties only because they don’t want Narendra Modi back as PM.
- Fence Sitters or Undecided Voters, which fall into neither of the above two categories, and will therefore decide which EVM button to press based on who they think is best suited to form the next government, rather than any other issue.
Though this article is relevant to all of the above, it is more applicable for the 3rd category of voters. Let me give my unbiased view on the main differences and similarities between the two main parties, BJP and Congress. I am concentrating on only the two largest national parties as, without them, no other party or combination can form a government at the centre.
FIRST, THE SIMILARITIES:
- Jobless Growth. This is the truth. While the current opposition parties may keep blaming the ruling NDA for joblessness, the truth is that even UPA-1 (2004-2009) and UPA-2 (2009-2014) had 10 years of jobless growth. But people tend to forget the past and remember only the most recent events. Jobless growth is not just applicable to India. More than 80% of nations worldwide are facing this problem. The one notable exception is USA under Trump.
- Failed Policy on Education. In a country like India, the Education Ministry should be given far greater priority than Home or Finance or Defence or External Affairs. With such a large youth population, improper education leads to joblessness more than anything else. There are more than enough job vacancies in India, but not enough qualified/talented people to fill them.
- Failed Policy on Healthcare.
- Urban Decay. Not Urban Rejuvenation! Need I explain this?
- Poor Management of Jammu & Kashmir.
- Failure to Initiate Judicial Reforms.
- Failure to Initiate Police Reforms.
- Failure to Initiate Electoral Reforms.
- Minimum Government, Maximum Governance.
- Vote Bank Politics. Each side has their own Vote Banks.
- Intolerance. Just as the Modi Govt. can be blamed for intolerance of Muslims and other minorities, wasn’t it Congress who spoke of Hindu Terrorism, and Rahul Gandhi who said those who visit temples are ….?
- Handling Pakistan. Both sides have failed badly on this front.
- Foreign Policy. BJP has definitely displayed a much stronger foreign policy, which has made India stronger in the world.
- Internal Security. There has not been a single successful terror attack outside of J&K in the five years of Modi government. Under UPA-1&2, we had attacks in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore and several other cities.
- Tough on Terror. While Congress can claim that it also ordered Surgical Strikes, Airstrikes, etc., about 90% of senior (retired) armed forces officers disagree. About the other ~10%, the less said the better.
- Corruption. There has been NEAR-ZERO corruption at the ministry-level in Delhi under the Modi government. On the other hand, the Congress can publish its own Book of Corruption Records. However, corruption at regional levels still remains, including central departments such as Income Tax, and if Modi comes back to power, he should tackle this on priority.
- Black Money. Though Modi DID NOT deliver the amount he promised, he cannot be faulted for not trying. If Demonetisation was better planned and executed, BJP would have gained more supporters than it will lose in the upcoming elections.
- Crony Capitalism. The not-so-young Rahul Gandhi may have called the Modi Government a “Suit Boot ki Sarkar”, but the truth is that the Modi Govt. has been quite successful in controlling Bank NPAs and acting tough on defaulters.
- Infrastructure. Even the Rajiv Gandhi Congress Govt. and the NDA-1 Government of Late PM Vajpayee was better on this front than UPA-1&2. The Modi Govt. scores way higher marks than any government in the past, but a lot still needs to be done.
- Inclusiveness (especially of the Rural Masses). The Modi Govt. has performed quite well on this front, but here too, a lot still needs to be done.