SRINAGAR If anything, the Prime Minister Narendra Modis Independence Day speech has once again brought home the point about his formidable capacity to set and control the political discourse in the country. His articulation of his governments performance over the past four years was a testament to his masterful oratorical ability.
As for as speech was concerned, he did make a successful case for his government. He mentioned all the policy decisions which had made a positive impact but eschewed talk of the measures that had not worked.
One such measure was demonitization, which created an all-round suffering and destroyed businesses. But the PMs mastery was in getting away with these silences in his speech. And therein lies his challenge for the opposition. Here is a leader who can disproportionately build on his achievements and get away with his failures.
What is more, if the BJPs victories in state elections are anything to go by, Modi continues to be the darling of the people. He may no longer be enjoying the long honeymoon that he did but the truth is there is no Modi-fatigue in evidence in the country albeit, there is deep consternation about his government among the minorities and the socially backward classes.
The PM continues to retain an overwhelming following of the people of the country. He has cruised from one electoral victory to another. In fact, he pulled off his biggest victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarkhund in the third year of his tenure, when governments usually are up against an anti-incumbency mood. There is still no opposition worth its name in the country, despite Congress and some regional parties putting up a valiant fight or two.
The reality now is that there is no pan-India leader who can match up to Modis charisma. A long contemplated coalition of the opposition parties is yet to materialize and the chances of its coming into being remain elusive.
The opposition is struggling to form a common front. The BJP is busy setting up its base in south. And considering its well-oiled electoral machinery which can be pressed into service at a short notice, the party is likely to get a political foothold in the all important states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. A reasonable success in South after the political dominance in North threatens to make the BJP invincible. The hope for the opposition is not only to unite but also forge a persuasive alternative narrative. And which is still not in evidence.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has shown some spark in recent past, but he is yet to morph into an equal challenge. The only hope for the opposition is to come together and ensure their respective support bases do not divide and sub-divide, letting the BJP score yet another victory. And this time by default.
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