The 2024 Lok Sabha elections have sent a resounding message: India’s electorate has firmly rebuffed Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Despite a decade of his governance, voters have decisively refused to renew his mandate, signaling a clear rejection of the prime ministerial overlordship that has characterized his tenure.

Modi’s campaign for re-election was intensely personal. He traversed the country, presenting himself as the tireless servant of the people, the protector of their welfare. Yet, this approach backfired. The electorate saw through the facade and denied him the majority he sought. The message is unambiguous: India wants democracy, not ‘dictatorship’.

Modi’s rhetoric, often crude and divisive, aimed at consolidating the BJP’s Hindu vote bank by stoking fears and animosities. However, this strategy ultimately failed. The electorate’s verdict reflects a desire for more balanced and accountable governance. The BJP’s failure to secure a majority is an explicit repudiation of Modi’s authoritarian style and the corruption associated with his administration. Voters have signaled that they are tired of unaccountable governance, the misuse of power, and the personality cult surrounding Modi. They demand a return to constitutional values and practices that respect democratic norms and the rule of law.

The 2024 election results are a mandate for change. They represent a rejection of Narendra Modi and his brand of politics, a victory for democracy. The electorate has chosen decency over duplicity, civility over crudity, and unity over division. As India moves forward, it is imperative that all stakeholders heed this message and work towards a more inclusive, democratic, and just society. The experiment with prime ministerial overlordship is hopefully over; the mandate is for a return to true democratic governance.

Closer to home, the rejection of the PDA consensus candidate by the people of Nagaland is a clear message to the powers that be that the people want change. It would bode well for the oppositionless government to feel the pulse of the land. Sooner or later, people tend to get tired of overlordship.

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