Why ‘Development’ Didn’t Garner Votes For NDA?

Why ‘Development’ Didn’t Garner Votes For NDA?

Disenchantment among some voters was visible on the streets, but NDA’s poll strategists missed noticing or acting upon it.

Alpesh PatelUpdated: Monday, June 24, 2024, 07:28 PM IST
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Why ‘Development’ Didn’t Garner Votes For NDA? |

In the run up to 2024 general elections, Ayodhya was the center of focus where the ruling coalition was frantically chasing projects like Ram temple, new railway station and airport. With such ‘development’ in Ayodhya, the ruling coalition expected a landslide victory or ‘400 paar’. So what went wrong in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh and a few other states?

While the ruling coalition envisaged infra projects as ‘progressive’ development, the locals did not see much in it for them. Firstly, because the infrastructure like airport and railway station wouldn’t
directly benefit the locals much in their daily lives, the way say, a housing project would. Secondly, the infra didn’t bring more business or jobs for the locals.

Yes, the temple, airport and railway station brought thousands of tourists but locals didn’t see that converting into business opportunities for them. They neither have the resources to setup own hotels nor do they possess
skills to work in organized hospitality industry. Conversely, the locals felt that big players from outside were coming to Ayodhya and snatching away their business opportunities.

Delays or absence of compensation for their land, houses and shops which were taken down for projects made it worse. Ironically, the locals only felt loss rather than any gain from the ‘development’.

Further, Agniveer scheme resulted in reduced employment opportunities for the youth, adding to their woes. The voters perhaps felt that outsiders were deciding what ‘development’ was good for them without asking them what they really wanted.

The simple point missed by the strategists was that a type of ‘development’ considered as ‘good’ by one state or city may not be seen as favorable the others. A bullet train or a beautiful airport which may excite voters of richer cities like Mumbai or Bengaluru may not enthuse people of a town or a state with lower income. With one of the lowest per capita income, the masses of Uttar Pradesh have very different needs from those in Maharashtra or Gujarat or Tamil Nadu.

Yes, modern infra can rise aspirations of the citizens but that has to be bundled with skill development and job creation. In pockets of Haryana, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, similar factors played out – lesser growth opportunities causing disenchantment among voters. 2024 election is still a big win for NDA considering two term anti-incumbency, but wherever NDA felt a dent, the voters wanted more ‘basic and relevant’ development rather than swanky one.

Disenchantment among some voters was visible on the streets, but NDA’s poll strategists missed noticing or acting upon it. Even the winners have lessons to learn.

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