" Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar" seems to have sailed through the imagination of the Indian electorate across this vast country as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA trounced the Congress to its all-time lowest tally, said analysts and common people alike.
"Modi raised huge expectations regarding employment and governance, which evoked an overwhelming response from the young and first-time voters. This was coupled with his appeal to Hindu majority sentiment in states like Assam and West Bengal, not to mention Uttar Pradesh," Pradeep Dutta, political analyst and Delhi University professor, told IANS when asked why the Gujarat chief minister clicked in the 2014 general election.
Experts were of the opinion that Modi combined the BJP's traditional twin-leadership of an ideological hardliner and a decisive leader all unto himself, leading to a massive mandate for the saffron front.
"He seems to have cut across all sections of society. That cannot be just polarisation along communal lines. His promises may have gone down well with the electorate, though it was another matter that he was sold extensively by the media. He was sold like a fairness cream," Gnani, a veteran journalist and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Chennai's Alandur assembly constituency, told IANS. In a country haunted by low economic growth, it was somewhat expected that Modi will be the preferred choice of over 150 million first-time voters who are on the lookout for better opportunities for themselves.
"As a youth, we never saw a true leader in the last 10 years. Our prime minister was reportedly remote-controlled in a government wherein the UPA had invented 'a power without accountability' structure. It's for the first time that we saw a true leader who is not only strong but has a vision for the nation. He talks not only of providing jobs but also emphasises on how to create jobs," said Rohan Agnihotry, a 27-year-old business analyst based in Bangalore.
Modi's appeal to young India spreads to even those Indian youth who are based abroad. Kumar Shivam, NRI and international tax consultant based in Washington, said NRIs in the US are jubilant about the mandate as Modi is seen as a decisive figure who may create better opportunities for them in their home country, facilitating their return.
"NRIs in the US welcome a more transparent and decisive government in their home country. While we feel BJP-NDA's victory is an overall victory of democracy, the real work starts the day the government is inaugurated. We hope Modi upholds the Indian constitution and the integrity of our nation. The UPA failed to deliver solid economic and social reforms in order to enable India to compete on a global scale. The current government performed well below the common man's expectations and needs. The new government must live up to high standards that it has promised," Shivam said.
Another factor working for Modi was massive support from housewives, who had been toiling to maintain their kitchen budgets. "There was high turnout among women voters. Women voted for Modi as they had in the last few years been very bothered with issues such as price rise and physical insecurity," noted women activist Ranjana Kumari told IANS, adding that Modi was able to ignite people's imagination with his development plank.
A tea-vendor in the past who rose to become one of the best serving chief ministers in India, Modi was also an example to India's lower-middle class and deprived community who see in him a hope for better future. "The Congress never did anything. Modi has been promising to improve our lot. I think he deserved a chance," said Radhe Shyam, an office assistant in a media organisation. Fayaz Wani, a noted journalist and assistant editor in Rising Kashmir, Srinagar, said Modi made an impact in the valley too, albeit for different reasons.
Modi is being seen as a man who would use his authority to foster a political solution in Kashmir, he said. "Whatever development Kashmir saw towards a political solution, happened during the NDA regime under former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A section here feels that he may be able to use his authority to further the process," Wani added. Now that it is certain the BJP prime ministerial candidate will move into 7 Race Course Road, the majority of Indians hope that he delivers. Some others doubt it, though.
"The mandate is actually a complete rejection of the Congress which made a mess of the economy. Modi with such a huge support from the media and backing of the corporates was hence able to create a bubble. We have to see what he does to the bubble," Seema Mustafa, veteran journalist and activist, told IANS.