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  India   All India  11 Mar 2019  BJP eyeing ‘Modi vs none’ battle

BJP eyeing ‘Modi vs none’ battle

THE ASIAN AGE. | YOJNA GUSAI
Published : Mar 11, 2019, 6:12 am IST
Updated : Mar 11, 2019, 6:12 am IST

Soon after the poll schedule was announced, Mr Modi wished all political parties and candidates the “very best for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)

New Delhi: As the Election Commission on Sunday set the ball rolling for the crucial Lok Sabha electoral battle, voters will decide whether they believe in BJP’s slogan “Modi hai to mumkin hai (everything is possible with Modi)” or the Congress rhetoric on “Chowkidar chor hai”. Claiming  that the Prime Minister’s popularity is high even after five years, saffron poll managers want the BJP campaign to focus on turning the electoral battle into “Modi vs none” in a virtual repeat of the 2014 strategy of “there is no alternative” (TINA).

While the BJP is asserting that it has fulfilled its 2014 Lok Sabha poll promises under “karmyogi” Mr Modi, the Congress is striving to burst attempts by the Prime Minister to seek a second term by showcase his anti-corruption credentials.

 

Farmers’ unrest, unemployment, few depressing economic indicators and anti-incumbency against some BJP MPs remain to be key problem areas for the ruling BJP which is striving to showcase development carried out under the Modi government.

The yet-to-be-stitched up Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) of Opposition parties will only help the BJP’s poll narrative to get bolder if it does not start speaking in unison soon.

The seven-phase elections, whose results would be declared on May 23, are also likely to show whether the “nationalist card” played by the BJP after the Pulwama terror attack and the Indian Air Forces (IAF) strike on terror camps in Pakistan end up impacting the party’s prospects.

 

In 2014, NDA had won 336 parliamentary berths out of 543, with the BJP alone bagged 282 seats. UPA had won 59, with the Congress managing to win only 44.

Soon after the poll schedule was announced, Mr Modi wished all political parties and candidates the “very best for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections”.

“We may belong to different parties but our aim must be the same — the development of India and empowerment of every Indian!” tweeted the Prime Minister. He also urged voters, including the 1.8 crore first-time voters, to actively participate in the democratic exercise so that the Lok Sabha polls “witnesses a historic turnout”.

 

The seven-phased elections, beginning from April 11, are seen as the toughest poll battle for the BJP, the Congress and some of the regional players in particular the SP, the BSP, the RJD, the BJD and the TDP.

Mr Modi had on many occasions pointed the pros and cons of a “majboot sarkaar (strong government with a majority)” verus “majboor sarkaar (a helpless government)” seeking a second term for the BJP-led NDA. For the Congress, any reduction in its current Lok Sabha strength, would not only mean losing the ground to the BJP but significant decline of its bargaining power within the Opposition camp.   

While the SP, the BSP and the RJD faced massive losses in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJD and the TDP will have to prove that their supremos — Naveen Patnaik and N. Chandrababu Naidu respectively — can firmly hold the ground against Mr Modis unabated popularity.

 

In both BJD-ruled Odisha and TDP-ruled Andhra Pradesh, Ássembly polls will be held simultaneouly with Lok Sabha polls.

Though the caste arithmetic seems to be in favour of regional satraps, in politically crucial states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, BJP poll managers are hoping that the development plank will overshadow caste politics. The Modi governments decision of 10 per’cent reservation for general category was seen as a balancing act of the BJP’s aggressive wooing of the numerically crucial dalits and the OBCs.   

While effort were made by the RSS-led Sangh Parivar to revive the emotive Ram Mandir issue, seen as a major polarising factor, it failed to take the generated the expected hype.

 

Region wise, the only region which is troubling BJP poll managers the most is the South, mainly Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where the NDA’s performance depends more on regional allies.

In the North-east, the BJP has allied with smaller parties and has been highlighting how it fulfilled the promises made in the 2014 manifesto titled Ek Bharat, Shreshta Bharat — Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”.

Urging people to “bless” his party in the Lok Sabha election, BJP president Amit Shah said on Saturday that the Modi government has taken bold decisions for their welfare in its first term and will ensure Indias giant leap to make everyone “happy and prosperous” in the second.

 

Making a strong pitch for the re-election of the BJP-led dispensation, Mr Shah said it has achieved “phenomenal results” in various spheres of governance during this term. He put out a series of tweets with hashtag #PhirEkBaarModiSarkar (Modi government once again).

Tags: election commission, narendra modi
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi