Modi-led BJP trounces Congress leaving it at Speaker’s mercy

New Indian PM Narendra Modi receiving the blessings of his mother

An anti-incumbency tsunami coupled with an extraordinary mix of unprecedented hype and unbridled hope, saw the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scripting history by winning 282 seats in the Lok sabha on its own and ending the era of thirty year-long coalition era in Indian politics. Now India waits for the much-hyped and much-talked about “MODI-fication” of the country.

The magnitude of the tsunami-like win for the BJP has been so large that it left the largest opposition party Congress with just 45 seats, at the mercy of the new Lok Sabha speaker to get the official recognition of the “Opposition Party”. Though it still has the highest numerical strength among all opposition parties, its tally does not constitute the one-tenth strength (54) of the Lok Sabha — making it ineligible for being considered as the party whose member can be a leader of the opposition.

Eminent constitutional experts have unanimously opined that that no party would qualify to be as opposition leader as none of them had won the minimum 10% (54) of the Lok Sabha seats. This situation will, on the other hand, give a free run to the government where it mandatorily requires the opinion of the opposition leader while making key appointments in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Lokpal and CBI.

Congress leadr Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi leaving after meeting the media persons

“There will be different opposition parties in the new Lok Sabha. Each party will have their own leader. But none of them would be recognized as opposition leader who qualifies to get perks, salaries and allowances that are the same as a Cabinet minister under the existing rule,” said distinguished constitutional expert and former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha Subhash C Kashyap.

Though the leader of the largest opposition party, irrespective of the number, can get such status for representing those search panels, it will entirely depend on the speaker of the House under a rule for recognizing a parliamentary group which allows him or her to recognize “an association of members to form a parliamentary group” if it will have a minimum strength of 30 members.

The House did not have a Leader of the Opposition in the first five Lok Sabhas between 1952 and 1977. In 1984, the Telegu Desam Party (TDP) was the second largest party, with 30 seats, 3 less than the 10% of the total strength, after Congress won over 400 seats, but TDP was given the recognition of the opposition party.

Soon after counting began at 8 am yesterday and results started pouring in thick and fast, it became clear that a absolute tsunami — make that tsuNAMO — had raged through the country, breaking record after record in the political history of independent India.

First, the BJP, on its own, won a historic high of 282 seats — a good 100 more than its previous highest tally of 182 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998 and 1999.

Second, it is the first time since 1984 that a party has crossed the halfway mark on its own, which spells the end of the coalition era even if the BJP will take along its pre-poll NDA partners into the government.

Only three regional leaders managed to stand firm against the Modi Hurricane: Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee, and Naveen Patnaik. Jayalalithaa made a near-sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 38 of the 39 seats; Mamata Banerjee won 34 of the 42 seats and narrowly missed the “third largest party” status to her Tamil counterpart; while Naveen Patnaik swept to a fourth term as chief minister in Odisha and won 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state despite a resurgent BJP.

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