– Arkabrata Bala
As the new year has started on its wheels of progress, the fate of the ruling party and its strident opposition will be going to unfold. Will Narendra Modi government continue to reign? Or will there be a turnover? That’s the million dollar question lurking in the heart of the country. It’s perhaps the toughest challenge of Narendra Modi to stand straight with his alliance partners and welcoming new members under its flag. The report card of 2019 election will be assessed merely on the performance in these 5 years. As media has put the last five states’ elections as a semifinal and back to back losses in all the states spoke for the hope that has been growing dismal. But the ruling BJP hasn’t shown any sign of despondency and are hoping to come back strong. But political analysts haven’t shied aloof from inferring that Modi spark won’t be the sole factor as it was in 2014. The loss in those states will sparsely affect the upcoming elections and might dent the share of votes towards the BJP. Even if BJP returns to power it won’t be as walloping as it was in 2014. The probable alliance of the two regional parties in Uttar Pradesh has made situations durable for the BJP and on the opposite aspect fuelling the strength in unity amongst the opposition parties. Already Modi and his supporters are crunching over the anticipated loss of 133 seats, almost near to 50 per cent of what it has in the present parliament. Reeking of apprehensions, the NDA needs to knot new amiable ties and make up effective poll strategies to save themselves from the wave of maha gatbandhan.
The present state of the ruling party
Modi and his faithful lieutenant, Amit Shah don’t have the reputation of walking beside its NDA allies. It might have been that they have become sullen and aren’t yet decided of extending their support before the 2019 election. Shah has taken steps to ensure their support and Modi is working on increasing their allies. Worries might perforate whether or not these new allies would allow Modi to become the Prime Minister. Some of his allies may condemn his polarising approach of governance despite his ‘sabka sath sabka vikas’ shibboleth. Some of his speeches have now become topsy-turvy of what promises he had made before ushering the throne. Though it has been acclaimed that Modi might not become the Prime Minister if BJP falls short of numbers, some of its leaders are already imagining of stepping into his shoes in the next tenure. Gossips of which BJP leader enjoys more popularity and satisfactoriness among parties are most often being heard in political circles nowadays.
Modi has launched numerous welfare schemes, renumerated and finished off some of the old unfinished projects and have also gone towards adding that these facilities have reached and befitted more people than in the previous regime. All these will be put to test when the tinkling of the 2019 elections will reverberate through the entire nation. The Prime Minister will also have to cut through his presidential style of functioning and grant some leeway to top leaders as well. This will set a new trend amiable for unity amongst its alliances. As of now, things are quite likely the opposite of where the party leaders are obsequious to the dictations by their one and only boss.
Thoughts of the opposition and beliefs of the Modi workers
Inferring from the state elections’ results in Uttar Pradesh some of the opposition leaders went on asking the BJP to prepare for 2024 elections, not 2019 elections. Modi was at his zenith of political career during that time. Later on, with two political parties joining hands the adversaries saw a ray of hope. Further on, it gleamed after the December 11 results. But the BJP workers and party leaders are heavily banking on Modi’s popularity. They believe many voters from the recently lost states may vote for him in the upcoming general elections. However, the ice which was once considered invincible seems vulnerable now.
How did Modi transcend from state politics to national politics
To search for an answer to this question, let us first analyze as to how Modi came to power in 2014. In a recent conversation on Indian electoral politics in the University of California, Berkeley, political scientists Pradip Chibber and Rahul Verma unequivocally admitted that a coalition of traditional and new voters, along with micro social groups in various parts of the country helped Modi in 2014. The backlash of the multiple scams and deceit that thoroughly mutilated the then government paved the way for the efficient alternative and market-friendly ministership of Narendra Modi. The price to pay for the loss was the administrative lassitude and lack of inept decisions. The people didn’t have the courage to brace themselves for lending them another term and so all sections of the society alike unanimously took part in the Modi wave. That was the ‘Modi effect’ in 2014.
Modi’s assets in his 5 years
Now it’s 2019. Today it’s time to answer whether the voters have been benefitted under the rule of Modi and if yes, how. Let’s consider all the developments chronologically. Soon after Modi came to power one of the first programmes launched by him was the ’Swach Bharat’ campaign in October 2014. The programme was aimed at making the citizens of the nation liable to maintain hygiene and cleanliness. The programme was successful in inculcating a sense of responsibility and civic duty. In March 2015 he brought about another programme facilitating people to buy cooking gas at market price. The result brought about success as within a year around 8.22 million people, as claimed by the government came under its umbrella. On the verge of recuperating from the unwholesome scams, people were very much willing to sacrifice certain personal interests for the long term betterment of the country which was quite unequivocally demonstrated during the practice of these two policies. Moreover, people are now more engrossed in participating to execute actions and changes for a better tomorrow rather than ensuring their personal fulfilment. This vision of New India has incorporated people for the general welfare of the nation.
Amidst the ups and downs, Modi dared to take an unprecedented move on November 8, 2016, when he prevented further circulation of high denomination notes. This move was taken to eradicate black money from the country. Prolonged cash shortages and long queues under the sun, even taking some lives away were among its serious repercussions. Even today debates are on about its success and failure and people are yet to reach any conclusion as the ensuing aftermaths are still unabated. The point of taking up this issue is to portray the extent of tolerance people are ready to bear to cure their own problem under the trustworthy leadership of Narendra Modi when the same move was launched in Venezuela on December 11, 2016. Soon after there was a growing dispute and the latent heat took the form of bloody violence that led to the eventual retraction of the process.
Preceding this economic shock Modi pointed his staunchest fist to launch a surgical strike on terror launch pads in Pakistan. This incident on September 2016 was a significant contribution towards tightening the holds of geopolitics, Modi taking the risk on his shoulders of the possible international backlash in defending India. The Yemen crisis of 2015 and the 2018 cross-border operation in Myanmar strengthened his image as a major and decisive leader.
Modi’s tactics to execute his plans
So far Modi has incorporated people into his working affairs such that he calls himself the primary worker and judiciously divides the burden between himself and the citizens. He incubated the thought process for their better futures. He made progress in reinventing the economy of the nation. The smart cities mission launched in 2015 along with the propaganda for vision building and transformation as NITI Aayog is all part for the wellbeing of the nation. Though there are debates of Goods and Services tax launched only keeping a small chunk of the market in mind, it has paved the path for economic rationalization which was in a dire need of help in the previous regime. Building up rural toilets and providing cooking gas to the rural women shows Modi dutifully addressing the poor’s worries and hard-earned living.
Modi has played his innings in the most unconventional way incorporating people in its work of progress, i.e. making them participants rather than positioning them as mere spectators enjoying the beneficiaries to socio-economic developments. This will make them active protagonists in the transformation story. Modi has lived up to his intentions and that will be his biggest asset.
How the oppositions have positioned themselves in the field
However, the election is not inclined towards the BJP anymore. The jibes against Rahul Gandhi don’t garner the same kind of support. Imprudent mistakes on the part of Modi and other BJP leaders have blunted their attacks on the face of the recent elections. Rahul Gandhi hasn’t shied away from directly attacking Modi and his unrelenting questions about Rafale and chronic attacks on Nirav Modi issues. But there is a giant challenge brewing up for the Congress. First of all, consolidating all the opposition parties is easier said than done. Every political party has some ideological differences from every other. So will a voter who used to vote for a particular party will overstep the fundamental differences for the sake of political gain which might not be even long term. So tethering on the brink of losing, these two parties have to come up with new, efficient stratagems to execute and achieve to the best of their abilities.