WITH 2024 national elections around two years away, there is little indication that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reigning popularity could be severely tested by either Congress or any other opposition party. After the resounding defeat in UP and Uttarakhand, the opposition remains in utter disarray. Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav is the only one that could put up some fight against the saffron party. The BSP and Congress could manage only fewer seats. Going forward, the victory for the BJP in four out of five state elections is going to make the opposition’s job further difficult. The continuing rumblings in opposition ranks is a bad news for opposition unity and good news for the BJP.
Truth is, the country’s opposition is in tatters and fighting over scraps. There is no major pan-India leader to take on the overarching persona of Modi. While Rahul Gandhi and many others look like minions, the likes of Arvind Kejriwal and Mamta Banerjee will still take time to shape up into credible rivals. Other than Akhilesh Yadav’s SP, caste-based Uttar Pradesh parties who were the only hope to stop Modi’s juggernaut have bitten the dust. And they are unlikely to recover until the 2024 parliament polls draw around. It looks now almost certain that the still potent Modi wave will win BJP the next general election. There is no dislodging the Modi yet. That is, if no credible political rival emerges from the shadows in the near future, a prospect that looks bleak.
The deft blend of ideology, welfarism and PM Modi’s overarching leadership is expected to help the BJP triumph in 2024. The party could even get a stronger majority than it did in 2019. While the opposition is struggling to form a common front, the BJP is busy strengthening its base by single-mindedly pursuing its ideological agenda. And considering its electoral machinery has become all-encompassing, it is likely to get a political foothold in the important Southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. A reasonable success in the South after the political dominance in the North will make the BJP invincible for decades to come.
Also compared to the BJP, the opposition has no discourse. The opposition in India has only, what the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar once said, “a reactive narrative”. The BJP, on the other hand, can always bank upon its strong ideological moorings. This has enabled the party to forge a monolithic Hindu vote bank. The strategy has been a factor in the rise of BJP as a national party, up from two seats in 1984 polls to 85 in 1989. Things can still turn around for the opposition if the different parties unites. A coalition at the national level might halt the BJP’s march, though there is no such guarantee given the PM Modi’s spell on masses.
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