If anything, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance at Howdy speech has once again brought home the point about his formidable capacity to set and control the political discourse in the country. And at the same time even bring the world largely in conformity with India’s narrative on the issues like Kashmir that also concern the world. True, India’s inherent strengths like its being one of the largest economies of the world does help the country’s foreign policy. But Modi’s own contribution to build a favourable world opinion about India is no mean. Similarly, within the country, the PM has been the biggest PR man of his party. His articulation of his government’s performance is a testament to his masterful oratorical ability. No matter the setbacks or for that matter the ongoing slowdown in the economy, Modi invariably ends up making a successful case for his government. He mentions all the policy decisions which have made a positive impact but eschews talk of the measures that have not worked. And the PM’s mastery is 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 BJP’s victories in election after election are anything to go by, Modi continues to be the darling of the people. Despite being in his second term, 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. 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 Modi’s charisma. The opposition has failed to form a common front. The BJP is now also 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 Southern states too. 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. Rahul Gandhi has given up. Sonia Gandhi is now interim Congress president. So far, there is no telling when and if Congress will be able to elect a new leader who has the potential to morph into a challenge for Modi. 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 more victories in the upcoming Maharashtra and Haryana polls. The only choice for the opposition in India is to either unite or perish.