Fresh from its victories in the three state elections in the Northeast, one would think the ruling BJP would rest, however briefly, on its laurels.
By most accounts, the saffron party already has an inertial and incumbent’s edge for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with the towering influencing factor of Prime Minister Narendra Modi backed by an exceptional election-winning machinery and a culture of hard work. This contrasts, quite incredibly, with the confusion and chaos, contradictions and complacency in the ranks of the Opposition parties.
For the BJP, under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, neither the broken down system of the Congress Party nor the disunited and internally squabbling circumstance marking most regional parties is a reason to lie back and relax on its own preparations for an election in which they hold most of the aces, and are way ahead, both in perception and election fighting capability.
The party recently created a special initiative to focus on nearly 160 Lok Sabha constituencies, in which in previous elections it has seldom won, or lost by a close margin. This cluster-based focus helps it divide the entire election into easily manageable pieces.
At this point, one would think the Opposition too would come and make its list of 100-odd seats that the Congress can win and the other 100 where the non-BJP Opposition can hold fort, and together, if they could defend 200 seats, they would be in the game.
But no. Instead, some of the parties, like the Trinamul Congress, want to contest all alone; even as some others declare there can be no giant-killer possibility against the BJP unless the Congress is involved; even as others like the BRS or AAP have their own tangential gameplans.
Meanwhile, the BJP, which does not see the 2024 battle as one but with a clear micro-perspective and grassroots-up game, one in which it is prepared to put a different game plan in each of the 540-odd constituencies, is already prepping its booth-level machinery in these constituencies.
As part of it, there would be special outreach programmes and events showcasing their biggest star, Prime Minister Modi, in states where they need to make an impact — especially the southern states, West Bengal and Odisha, among others. State-wise issues to more localised issues and promises are being discussed, debated and finalised, putting the entire machinery on a ready mode.
Earlier this year, the BJP launched a comprehensive programme to win over sections of the minorities while one would be safe to bet that the Congress-led Opposition would never think of winning over even a single Modi supporter to their side.
Starting the year on a very reconciliatory note, Mr Modi exhorted all his leaders and workers to reach out to religious minorities, especially the socially backward (Pasmanda) sections amongst the Muslims, besides Bohras and educated professionals, but without expecting their vote. The BJP has specifically laid out a clear roadmap for this initiative in 60 constituencies where the Muslim vote is significant.
The battle of 2024 being what it is, or whichever way it shapes, as far as current preparations stand, while the BJP is looking like Arjuna of the Mahabharata, who can only see the eye of the bird, the Opposition is akin to the blind men trying to decipher the elephant, their disparate tunes forming a cacophony with no semblance of melody or harmony.