The Narendra Modi government recently completed four years in office. During its four years, the government has accomplished some remarkable achievements like rural electrification, Jan Dhan and Ujjawala LPG Yojana when it comes to social welfare schemes. On the economic front, the government introduced three major reforms. One, the goods and services tax (GST), the second is Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the third reform is Benami Property Act. These are the key achievements which will galvanise the saffron party in winning the 2019 election battle.
When I was in college in 2012, I can clearly recall the country was grappling with institutionalised corruption and a constant threat to the national security. Those were the terrifying days. I had lost hope in the UPA government. But then Modi came as an alternative to the Congress. In 2013, he was seen as someone who could lift India’s economy up and provide a corruption free government. The BJP announced him as the prime ministerial candidate and it changed the Indian politics forever. PM Modi has been successful in running a clean government which he promised in 2014. His track record on anti-corruption has been excellent so far. Demonetisation was a courageous step to weed out the black money.
The Bhartiya Janta Party has been winning almost every state assembly elections since 2014 general election. The only election they lost was against Mahagathbandhan in Bihar. In the Karnataka assembly elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats.
Despite Congress losing the election, it managed to form a coalition government with JDS. The Congress-JDS government has naturally irked the people of Karnataka who were angry with Congress government. In addition to that, Kumaraswamy recently said he is at Congress’s mercy and did not get people’s mandate. His statement seems to indicate that the longevity of the government depends on the Congress. If anything goes wrong, Kumarswamy would easily shift the blame to Congress. The current state of affairs present a big opportunity for the BJP and it is a blessing in disguise for the party.
The alliance with JDS has short term gains for the Congress and it has undoubtedly ceded space to JDS. Kumaraswamy was able to get 22 of the 33 portfolios for its MLAs. In the long run, it will damage the chances of Congress in the state. The alliance has infused life into JDS which was considered a dead party before the election. It is worth noting that the same episode happened in 2015 Bihar assembly election. The Congress party transferred the entire campaign to RJD and JDU. RJD, a party which had won just 22 seats in 2010, got the highest number of seats in 2015.
The Congress party is presently facing an existential crises in Uttar Pradesh. It was reduced to 7 MLAs in the 2017 assembly election. The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party will have a bigger say in seat-sharing in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the congress will be forced to surrender the space. This is going to have an impact on the NCP-Congress alliance and the NCP will try hard to bargain with the Congress. My political understanding tells that ceding space to the strong regional parties will cost the Congress dearly.
It is very much evident that all the anti-BJP parties including Nehruvian intellectuals and journalists are rallying together against Modi led BJP. Ganging up against Modi will be playing into the hands of the BJP. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party will certainly have an edge over the opposition. The BJP’s 5 years governance versus Congress’s 60 years will dominate the 2019 election.
The Karaina by-poll result reflects that there is a growing disenchantment with the BJP among farmers. And other major concern is of urban voters. The urban middle class voters are the core strength of the BJP and they did come out in large numbers to vote against the Congress. But this time around, they are disappointed with the Modi government on taxation policy. The BJP lost 2004 elections due to low voter turnout among middle class populace. If one takes a closure look at Modi’s welfare schemes for the poor, he has clearly learned lessons from the past. My suggestion is that Modi needs to promise something big to the urban class before the elections. Motivating the urban and fence-sitters voters to come out during the summers and vote is a tough task. One thing is for sure that both Modi and Shah will leave no stone unturned in 2019 to win these voters back.
Despite the disappointment among some sections of the voters, PM Modi continues to enjoy the popularity due to his personal integrity. He does have a vision for India unlike the opposition.
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