The rise of the Mandal parties has commonly been traced to their promise of politically empowering the hitherto marginalized; and their declining fortunes, to challenges in engaging with the next level of empowerment—economic—their core constituencies sought.
Once the increased political space failed to translate into material improvements in quality of life, voter disillusionment grew, amidst rising aspirations and a sense of having been taken for granted. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seized the opportunity, harvesting it electorally—beginning with the watershed parliamentary elections of 2014.
The impressive repeat endorsement the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) received in the 2019 parliamentary elections may have taken some bite off the criticism leveled against it for its economic performance during its first term, but credible evidence of an economic slowdown is now mounting. It has, once again, brought the government’s ability to manage the economy into the spotlight.