- Will Modi be a changed man after victory?
The BJP has secured a landslide victory outperforming all predictions. The Congress-led liberal-left alliance has faced a humiliating defeat. Indian secularism, which was visualised as the basis of the Indian polity, has received a battering from the resurgent Hindu nationalism. This will have a highly negative implication for a multi-faith India. The biggest sufferers would be the minorities, particularly the 201 million-strong Muslim community. The question that BJP leader Narendra Modi needs to ponder upon is whether the party’s ideology can keep the country united. There is already a perception among minorities that they are being reduced to second-rate citizens. Unless there is change in policy, the Muslim community would be forced to launch a struggle for fair representation. Any attempt to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, that gives Indian-occupied Kashmir a special status, would further worsen the situation in Kashmir, while it would be unacceptable to Pakistan which is also one of the stakeholders in Kashmir.
Prime Minister Modi diverted the attention of the voters from their economic hardships towards issues like national security, religion and strong leadership. For this he used tension with Pakistan to present himself as a muscular leader who alone could make India secure against foreign threats. In case he decides to maintain the stance, the tension gripping the region will worsen.
Will he change course after getting elected?
Only Mr Modi can reverse the wave of intolerance in India that he has himself unleashed. What creates a faint hope is his Thursday tweet promising to build a strong and “inclusive” India. The word inclusive has not a part of BJP’s vocabulary until now.
PM Imran Khan has congratulated Modi saying he looks forward to working for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia. The same day Pakistan tested another nuclear-capable ballistic missile
Will the two countries move towards peace or towards an unsafe future?
The Qureshi-Swaraj exchange of greetings at the recent SCO moot provides another faint glimmer of hope. Will Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India hold talks on the sideline of the SAARC summit next month? Will the talks lead to delegation level parleys to resolve mutual differences? Or will the hopes turn out to be mere phantasies?