Results of Ukraine Presidential Election: A message for Narendra Modi

Agha Iqrar Haroon is a Development Observer. His area of work includes Central Asia, South Asia and Eastern European regions

Agha Iqrar Haroon

Till today, it seems the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP government are building their forthcoming general elections campaign on three pillars —– War mongering — Fanning hatred against Pakistan and Muslims and telling Indians that Indian Occupied Kashmir will slip if Indians would not vote for him in forthcoming general elections. He is forcefully promoting Pakistan as Indian’s top enemy and the major threat to Indian existence.

There is no doubt that it looks that he is successful in his strategy and social issues are far away from being discussed although elections are knocking at the door.

State controlled Indian media is avoiding to talk about 2014 election promises of BJP including of 10 million jobs for youth, rising and shining India, industrialization in remote areas, better life for farmers and free education for poor strata of society. There is a long list of 2014 elections promises which are far from reality rather poverty is eating Indian society and it stands at 130 out of 189 countries in the latest Human Development Index (HDI).

Can BJP win elections by only war mongering and fanning hatred against Pakistan instead of addressing real issues like poverty, joblessness and expanding fault-lines within society?, this question got answered from results of Ukrainian Presidential Elections.

The incumbent Ukrainian President Poroshenko faced embarrassing defeat in the first round of March 31 Presidential Election to a newly formed political party and to a person who has no background of politics. TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy won the first round of the Ukraine Presidential Election with 30.24 % of the vote. While sitting President Petro Poroshenko came second with 15.95 % of the votes. Runoff elections will be held on April 21 as no candidate managed to get 50% of total votes polled in the election. There is a possibility that the powerful and one of the richest men in Ukraine – Petro Poroshenko – may collect support of other individuals or political parties to change the results in runoff elections.

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Petro Poroshenko came in power with perceived support of the United States after November 2013 Revolution of Dignity which is also called as Euromaidan.

Results of this revolution were deadly for Ukraine which is now into three parts —- Ukraine having capital in Kyiv, Eastern Ukraine ruled by Russian backed separatists and Crimea which was annexed by Russia through blatant aggression.

Ukrainian hryvnia (currency) was 8 per US dollar at the time when Dignity Revolution started and now it is around 27 per US dollar.

Poroshenko came into power when the country was in war at its eastern region. The former president was thrown through Dignity Revolution under corruption charges; therefore, fixing corruption was one of the main agenda and the top election promise of President Poroshenko. Since Russia blatantly disintegrated Ukraine, giving a lesson to Russia and another promise and fanning hatred for Russia was useful because Russia historically subjugated Ukrainians and their culture.

War was already in the eastern region; therefore, fighting war and defeating Russia also became a popular election slogan ruling strategy of Poroshenko who did several strategic reforms to eliminate Russian imprints from the Ukrainian society.

The Communist Party of Ukraine (the successor to the Soviet-era Communist Party of Ukraine) was banned under the decommunization process, which also led to the removal of communist monuments and renaming of public places named after communist-related themes including renaming of cities, villages, streets and areas to delete former Soviet Union or Russian Federation related names from the Ukrainian society. Around 51,493 streets and 987 cities and villages were renamed, and 1,320 Lenin monuments and 1,069 monuments to other communist figures removed.

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Apparently, President Poroshenko spent more of his energies in war instead of negotiating peace, hating Russia and finding help from the United States and Europe to punish Russia than working out on creating job opportunities for youth, poverty alleviation, snubbing corruption in the system and fulfilling his positive and constructive election promises.

Results of the first round of election indicate that his apparent strategy of utilizing his energies against Russia instead of using them for Ukrainian public miserably failed.

Ukrainian voters in the first round rejected President Poroshenko and the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and voted for a novice whose election campaign was simple with a promise of fighting out corruption, negotiating with Russia under Minsk Normandy Accord for bringing prosperity to Ukraine through ending war in eastern regions.

TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his election campaign talked about bread and butter, affordable electricity and gas utilities and control on ever-increasing price hike and devolution of national currency.

The Ukrainian election indicates that the people are more interested in their daily problems, a better future and peace not for war mongering or fighting with neighbours. If promoting war could be successful, then there was no need for the runoff election in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Modi must remember there is no runoff of election in India.

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.