Modi Emerges Stronger

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Modi has emerged not only as the strongest BJP leader of the country but also as one of the strongest Prime Ministers; we have seen in recent times. Under his leadership there seems to be no stopping the BJP and NDA juggernaut.

There is no denying that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has emerged stronger following BJP and NDA’s massive victory in the recent elections. The NDA won over 350 seats to retain power. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) itself won over 300 seats — its highest tally ever.

The party has already begun preparations for the imminent Legislative Assembly elections in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. State elections are also expected to be held in Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently under President’s Rule.

The three states, currently governed by BJP and its allies, are expected to head for polls in October this year. The Lok Sabha election results are expected to have a huge bearing on the state polls. In 2014, the BJP had managed to win the three states riding on the ‘Modi wave’.

In Maharashtra, the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena won 23 and 18 seats, respectively. The Indian National Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one and four seats, respectively. All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) managed to win Aurangabad while a Congress-supported Independent candidate won from Amravati.

The saffron party swept Haryana, winning all of the 10 seats there. BJP’s vote share significantly increased as compared to 2014. A closer look at the numbers shows that the BJP’s sweep was not at the expense of the Congress, but at the expense of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

As things stand, the Congress and the NCP are likely to remain in an alliance for the state polls. The BJP and the Shiv Sena had made it clear in the run-up to the general election that they will contest together in the assembly polls too. In Haryana, Congress and the JJP had fought separately. It is not clear if they would have a rethink on an alliance.

Congress is expected to remain in an alliance with JMM and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) (JVM) in Jharkhand.

NDA’s performance in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan has once again demonstrated that voting pattern differs at different levels — state and the Centre. Congress had wrested these states from the BJP in December 2018.

Therefore, local anti-incumbency and regional factors and issues could impact the elections. Popularity levels of various chief ministers and the prime minister have been different. This means, people could vote differently when PM Modi is not on the ballot. In 2014, when the BJP formed governments in these three states, it was not only riding the ‘Modi wave’, but also challenging the incumbent.

What is clear, though, is that Modi has emerged not only as the strongest BJP leader of the country but also as one of the strongest Prime Ministers we have seen in recent times. Under his leadership there seems to be no stopping the BJP and NDA juggernaut. The Congress will have to think of new strategies to stop him and its president, Rahul Gandhi will have to sharpen his leadership skills.

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