Good times are rolling for the BJP, which has got the mandate to govern on its own with a staggering 282 seats on its own. And this cannot be music to the ears of the pre-poll BJP allies and any other party that might want to join the government. To put it bluntly, the BJP does not need anyone to help it along. That it was in a pre-poll alliance with the Shiv Sena, Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal and sundry small parties has worked to the benefit of these allies. But with the BJP in a commanding position, these allies are in no position to demand portfolios or threaten the government with withdrawal on any issue.
In the Manmohan Singh government, we saw the prime minister having to accept tainted people into his Cabinet and being held hostage by threats to pull out if things did not go the way of one ally or the other. This, along with other factors, caused a policy paralysis for which the Congress has paid a very heavy electoral price. Power has once again passed after many years into the hands of the prime minister, the first among equals in the Cabinet. This also puts a very heavy onus on Narendra Modi. He will literally have no one to blame but himself and his chosen colleagues if anything goes wrong. In the UPA government, we saw that since the buck did not stop with the prime minister, people were able to wriggle out of taking responsibility for their decisions. If the manner in which he ran Gujarat is any indication, Mr Modi sounds like the sort of leader who will hold those he elevates to high position accountable. But after a long time, we will get a government that can exercise its prerogative without fear of sulking allies. The UPA felt the brunt of the wrath of the Left in its first avatar and of allies like the TMC in its second. Much time had to be wasted in negotiations and appeasement, taking the sheen away from both the prime minister and his government. Though parties like the BJD, AIADMK and TMC have held their own in their strongholds, their influence on the Centre will be on Mr Modi’s terms. He has made all the right noises calling on everyone, friend and foe, to work together.
Shorn of anyone acting as a drag, people will expect to see quick decisions especially on the economy. The people have given Mr Modi all the aces. He now has to play to win once again.