The meaning of 294-227

As of 4.25 pm on June 4, the NDA alliance stood to win 294 seats in the Lok Sabha while the INDIA bloc was set for 225 seats. This is more than a pleasant surprise.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) consumed everything in its path in its aggressive bid to stay in power. If it is being pushed back, it is not a feat that can be the product of nothing.

After a decade of resistance without outright victories, in a manner of speaking, the pushback is a resounding abnegation of the BJP’s politics, and by doing that it embodies what the resistance has stood for: good-faith governance informed by reason and respect for the spirit and letters of the Constitution.

Embodiment is a treasure because it gives form to some specific meaning in our common and shared reality, which is important: it needs to breach BJP supporters’ pinched-off reality as well. There needs to be no escaping it.

Embodied meaning is also a treasure because the meaning is no longer restricted to “just” shouts of protest carried off by the wind, words left unread or protests the national government saw fit to ignore.

This is 294-227 — or whatever the figures are once the ECI has declared final results in all constituencies.

It’s a win for democracy, but a lot of my elation is coming from the notion that the outcome of the polls also demonstrate not only that journalists’ work matters — we already knew that — but that we’re not pissing into the wind with it. It’s being read, heard, and watched. People are paying attention.

Congratulations. Keep going.