Is Modi’s Popularity Actually Waning?
Since the past 4-5 months, digital media is full of articles which speak about Modi’s waning popularity. Several noted journalists have devoted time & effort to prove that Modi’s 2019 re-election bid won’t be simple. But is that really how it is?
All these articles follow the same script. Political pundits speaks fervently about the “moral victory” for Congress in Gujarat elections. They then go on to cite examples of bypoll losses in MP, Rajashtan. The DUSU election loss of the BJP also finds a mention in the articles! The fact that DUSU has negligible bearing on these journos. We are then informed about the BJP’s dwindling fortunes in Rajasthan, MP & Maharashtra. UP too apparently not happy with CM Yogi. The rogue right wing sanghi units too are said to be one of the factors responsible for Modi’s downfall. Rising unemployment, recent scams & inflation, we are told will be the final nails in PM Modi’s coffin.
These pundits predict 150-220 seats for the BJP in 2019. One even went on to say that BJP’s loss is actually a win for democracy!
Let’s analyze each & every aspect behind PM Modi’s supposed downfall.
It is true that the BJP is on a shaky wicket in Rajasthan. Vasundhara Raje government is facing a strong anti-incumbency wave. While we were on a recent trip to the state, people told us about the complete apathy shown by Mrs Raje. There are reports of severe infighting among the BJP cadre in Rajasthan.
The recent farm loan waivers will somewhat help assuage the anger of farmers.
Journos report with glee how Vyapam, inflation & rising unemployment has led to a strong anti incumbency against the MP government led by CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan fondly called as Mamaji.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a three CM of MP. He was one of the front runners along with then Gujarat CM Modi as BJP’s PM candidate. His tireless efforts have led to MP turning into a strong saffron stronghold. The excellent roads, social welfare schemes, drastic improvement in overall infrastructure has earned CM Chouhan a lot of goodwill among the people. While it is true that Vyapam scam has tarnished the MP government’s image, it won’t be enough to defeat the BJP in MP. The citizens of MP still haven’t forgiven Congress for its corruption & scam tainted governments in the past. Besides there seems to infighting between the Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath & Digvijay Singh factions.
We strongly feel that rumors behind BJP possibly losing MP are totally baseless. The love for CM Chouhan among the voting public has to be seen to be believed. MP like Gujarat will continue to remain a BJP bastion.
UP & Maharashtra
Another claim by journos is that newly elected CM’s of Maharashta & UP are fast losing popularity. The two largely populated states are likely to vote against the BJP in the coming elections. The journos claim that the Marathas are unhappy with the state government. Shiv Sena parting ways with BJP is said to be due Congress’s growing popularity, thanks to Rahul Gandhi’s renewed confidence.
CM Fadnavis is a first time CM. As we write this article, the work on metro trains are progressing at a brisk speed. Some phases of the metro are likely to start in 2019 before that state & general elections. For a city crumbling under the burden of its growing populace, the metro will earn the CM a lot of plaudits. The earlier UPA government took close to a decade to finish a single phase of the metro. The current phases connect one end of the city to the other. The Shivaji Memorial & Bullet Train project too has its share of takers. The CM has cracked down on corruption among the bureaucrats & was prompt in introducing RERA. His recent investment summit where MOU’s worth thousands of crores were signed has earned him a lot of goodwill. As far as the rural voters are concerned
the farm loan waiver, better roads, electricity & water supply has earned Fadnavis a lot of goodwill. Maharashtra is yet to forgive UPA for its apathy towards farmers & large scale corruption & is unlikely to vote for them anytime soon. Shiv Sena is frustrated by BJP’s growing clout in its state. In the BJP-UPA fight the Shiv Sena seems to have become irrelevant. Uddhav Thackeray lacks the charisma of the late Bal Thackeray. There is no other proilic leader in the Shiv Sena who could draw votes. Its core TG of jobless Marathi youth seems to be dwindling due to the huge economic strides in the state. Unemployment is very low & Marathi Manoos is not as disgruntled as he used to be.
UP was once considered to be the crime capital of the country. Several gangs operated fearlessly in the state. These gangs worked under the patronage of successive state governments. Be it Congress, SP or BSP, all had connections with the underworld. The underworld would help them in booth capturing, poll funding, silencing of opponents etc. The politicians on the other hand turned a blind eye to the murders, dacoity, kidnapping, extortion committed by their preferred underworld partners. While Bihar & MP shunned corrupt governments, UP continued to vote scam tainted CM’s to power. It was 5 years of SP misrule & lack of faith in BSP & Congress coupled with Modi’s charisma which led to a landslide BJP win. It was then that Yogi Adityanath was named the CM by the BJP top brass.
As we write this article criminals are running scared in UP. There has been a record number of encounter deaths. Criminals are begging cops to arrest them & put them behind bars instead of getting shot. Criminals are reported to have either fled the state, shot to death or are behind bars in UP.
The charismatic UP CM had warned criminals to leave the state or face the consequences. He seems to have stayed true to his word. The recent investor summit held post the one in Maharashtra will have a cascading effect on the economy. The farm loan waiver will make the rural voters vouch for him even more. While the BJP government had a not so rosy start with the government hospital related deaths, right wing crimes etc, the CM seems to have put the BJP in the drivers seat in UP.
It can hence be safely deduced that Maharashtra & UP too are likely to vote saffron in 2019.
The Nirav Modi, Rafale, Jay Shah, Mallya scams are often claimed to be one of the biggest reason by UPA leaning journos to be the reason behind growing discontentment against PM Modi.
Citizens are aware that the Nirav Modi scam has its roots in the UPA government. While one right wing journo blamed BJP of being ignorant, the voting public is not too hasty to pin the blame on the BJP. After all no minister from the NDA has been accused in the scam. It is in fact the then Finance minister Mr Chidambaram who is seen to be the culprit behind the scam.
Rafale & Jay Shah seem to be non issues. Why else hasn’t the ED, CAG or CBI filed any cases against the NDA government if there indeed is any wrongdoing? If the ED or the CAG can file cases against UPA government for the telecom scam or Coalgate, why can’t it file cases against the NDA?
Be it Nirav Modi or Mallya, people don’t seem to blame the government for letting them run away. Especially in Nirav Modi’s case, how is NDA supposed to know of the scam before the CBI files a case against the fraudster? the same goes for Vijay Mallya as well. There were no criminal charges against Vijay Mallya when he fled the country.
Now let’s look at what the BJP is doing differently to counter any loss of seats from UP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan & MP – the states which Modi won with a huge margin in 2014.
The BJP earlier had barely any inroads in the east. The Congress has barely done anything noteworthy for the NE states. Its presence in these states since the 40’s have time & again to its rescue. The BJP earlier was largely a north indian party. Its success in Karnataka & strong alliance with the TDP in AP has made it a stronger player nationally. But Modi’s emphasis on North East is a masterstroke.
The voters of NE states are disenchanted by the successive governments owing to lack of development as compared to other Indian states. Assamese voters who were angry with the minority appeasement politics of Congress & influx of Bangladeshi immigrants has voted for BJP. The Assamese CM Sorbononanda Sonowal has deported several Bangladeshi immigrants since coming to power. Tripura may cease to be a leftist stronghold by the time this article gets published on our site. Nagaland may see a NPP-BJP government coming into power. Only Meghalaya may see a Congress government.
While the NE states loyalty to Congress was one of the major reasons for PM Vajpayee losing the 2004 elections despite a buoyant economy, it will cease to be a thorn in BJP’s flesh in 2019. In fact it will be BJP’s strength.
After close to 4 years in power, PM Modi’s image is squeaky clean. While naysayers continue to criticize demonetisation & GST, the voters seem to think otherwise.
Demonetisation which happened in Nov’16, was cited as one of the reason for BJP’s historic win in UP elections in Feb’17. While several criticized the timing & execution, the voters rewarded Modi for his stance against black money & corruption. GST may have had a edgy rollout, but by 2019 all the teething troubles will be history.
Apart from maintaining a squeaky clean image, PM Modi is seen as a doer.
While beef ban, right wing extremism are genuine issues, the voters are ready to look the other way for the sake of country’s progress. PM Modi is revered globally as an administrator. Politicians, Kings, businessmen across the globe speak highly of our PM. A large section of the people we spoke to seem to believe that the country does not have a better alternative than PM Modi.
The journos who write against BJP are largely frustrated by the lack of freebies & perks doled out by the PM Modi government. They are no longer invited to accompany the PM on his trips abroad on taxpayers expense. The donlt want to acknowledge BJP’s stellar performance in the recently concluded civic polls in Surat, the victory in ZP polls in Mahrashtra, the bypoll victory in Delhi, the expected gains in Karnataka etc. Barring Punjab there is no state which can be considered a safe bet for Congress.
Paid or bitter journos fail to see that in 2019, the people will be voting for Modi. Unlike in state elections, where the people know that Modi won’t be their CM, when it comes to general elections they know that their vote can make or break Modi. It is highly unlikely that the Bhakts will turn against their god. So even though Rajasthan may cease to be a BJP ruled state, it will vote for Modi in 2019. The voters in India are now mature enough to vote for different parties to power in state & general elections.
We can thus safely conclude that BJP is likely to continue to stay in power at the centre post 2019. Like my driver in Rajasthan told me “Modiji ka toh naam hi kaafi hai”
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