What If 2024 Had Happened In 2019?

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
Image Credits: Newsbytes

As Narendra Modi starts his innings as India's prime Minister for the third straight term, joining Jawahar Lal Nehru in achieving this feat, the rollercoaster ride of this election cannot be overlooked. It began with the BJP's ambitious slogan of '400 par,' which seemed credible under the circumstances, but concluded with a disappointing shortfall, as the party failed to secure even a majority. This has made PM Modi, for once, dependent on Chandra Babu Naidu led Telugu Desam Party and Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) and the other smaller allies to stay in power. Though the coalition is comfortably placed with a tally of 293, it remains inherently fragile and could easily become a victim of the differences
among its partners – albeit, chances of this happening appear remote right now.
But the fact that such a prospect will loom for the coalition will deny the BJP the carte blanche it enjoyed over the governance of the country during the previous two terms. And this realization is more telling for us in Kashmir which was the site of the previous NDA government's one of the biggest decisions: the abrogation of Article 370 which granted J&K its semi-autonomous status within the Indian Union.

What if the BJP hadn't got an absolute
majority in the 2019 election? While this is a counterfactual reading of the political circumstances that led to the removal of Article 370, as a Kashmiri, one can't help but wonder how history might have unfolded differently in the Valley. More so, when in the beginning of 2019, the BJP didn't seem to be the favourite to win the parliamentary polls held in May of that year. In the run up to the general elections then, Congress had put up a stiff resistance to the BJP. The party had won Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. As a result, the saffron party didn't appear to be the leading contender in the general election. Most optimistic prediction was that the BJP would return with a reduced tally, forcing it to stitch together a weak coalition government, a throwback to the one run by Atal Bihari Vajpayee 2002-2007.


But the Pulwama bombing on February 14, 2019 that killed 40 CRPF personnel changed everything. The subsequent military strike on Balakot by the Indian airforce followed by the dog-fight between India and Pakistan hurtled the BJP back to the centre stage. The party swept to victory in the general election that followed soon after.

Now, what if Pulwama hadn't happened? Would the BJP have still gone past 300 seats which it eventually did? Very unlikely.
Unlike in the beginning of 2024, when the saffron party seemed destined for a landslide majority,
it seemed set to lose at the start of 2019.
At best, the party might have formed a weak coalition government. And imagine, what would have happened? Article 370 would not have been revoked. There would be no Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or National Register of Citizens (NRC). The BJP would also have struggled to construct Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
It would be just another government, much like the previous NDA government led by Vajpayee from 1998 to 2003.

And what would J&K be like? With Article 370 unchanged, the former state would have held Assembly polls by the end of 2019 and probably a coalition government led by the National Conference – which then seemed to enjoy some popular support –
would have taken over.

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What-if history can be fascinating. It hides within it the possibilities of different worlds, in some cases better and in others the worst.
World history can be replete with counterfactual scenarios. Had Archduke Franz Ferdinand not been assassinated in Sarajevo, World War I may not have happened?
Similarly, had two successive world wars not weakened Britain, India and much of the global south under the thrall of the British may not have become free? If Congress hadn't backed out of the Cabinet Mission Plan a day after backing it, India may not have been partitioned along religious lines.
The possibilities could be endless. But the past cannot be rewritten.
What happens, happens for good. Future can certainly change, modify, reform, improve, undo or build upon what happened in the past but that is in the future. In the process, the world transforms, and life evolves.

Once the past is made, it becomes indestructible, and takes on a deterministic quality.
One can endlessly
wonder as to why only a particular action followed and not the others. In 2019, the BJP appeared either headed for a loss or a reduced seat count but because of Pulwama went on to achieve a decisive majority. Conversely in 2024, the party appeared on track to secure
'400 par' but ended up 32 seats short of majority.
Such is the irony of history. The irony in this case is especially relevant to Kashmir as it has altered the course of history in the union territory.

  • Views expressed in the article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer


Kashmir Observer

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