Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are seeking re-election in the 2019 Indian general election. As India heads to the polls, here are the main factors that will determine if PM Modi and the BJP will win a second term.
Modi’s Achievements and Popularity
The BJP’s main argument for re-election centers around Prime Minister Modi’s achievements and personal popularity. The BJP is highlighting:
India’s economic growth has accelerated under Modi, reaching over 7% annually. The BJP is taking credit for this growth and arguing that only they can sustain and build on it.
The Modi government has prioritized infrastructure development through initiatives like100 Smart Cities Mission and improving road and rail networks. Many see this as a step in the right direction.
The Modi government has launched welfare programs aimed at farmers, rural citizens and the poor. Initiatives like Jan Dhan bank accounts and subsidized cooking gasachieved some success.
Strong, Tough Leader Image
Prime Minister Modi has cultivated an image of himself as a strong, decisive and tough leader. This “man of action” persona has wide appeal among the Indian public.
However, critics argue that India’s economic growth has not trickled down enough and failed to create enough jobs. There are also questions about the success and sustainability of some of Modi’s welfare schemes.
Opposition Unity Against BJP
For the first time, most major opposition parties have aligned and are running a united campaign against the BJP. Their main election plank is “Anything But Modi”.
The main opposition Congress party and powerful regional parties have come together and agreed not to compete in many constituencies. This enables them to consolidate the anti-Modi vote and mount a stronger challenge to the BJP.
However, the opposition alliance still lacks a clear leader or a compelling long-term vision. Each party mainly seeks to defeat Modi rather than promote a viable alternative governance agenda.
The BJP’s Strong Election Machinery
The BJP remains a formidable election machine with enormous financial resources, widespread organizational strength and a large network of volunteers at the grassroots level.
The party’s powerful social media presence and use of technologies like automated calling also gives it an edge in reaching large numbers of voters. All this helps mobilize support for the BJP and Prime Minister Modi.
Key State Election Results
Recent state election results in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh- where the BJP lost power to the Congress party – have dented the image of the BJP as an invincible electoral force.
However, the BJP remains strong and retains power in most key states. It still has a good chance of winning a large number of seats in these crucial states in the general election.
Inflation, Unemployment, and Rural Distress
Rising fuel prices, high unemployment and rural economic distress could become major liabilities for the BJP in the election.
Farmers’ anger, weak job growth, and rising costs of living have created vulnerabilities for the BJP even as Modi’s personal appeal and nationalism rhetoric remain potent. How voters prioritize these issues will determine the election outcome.
While Modi and the BJP start as frontrunners to win re-election, it remains a highly competitive race. Opposition unity, economic concerns and recent state losses for the BJP make the election less predictable. Much will depend on campaign strategies, voter priorities and BJP’s ability to overcome anti-incumbency sentiment. So, a second term for PM Modi is far from guaranteed. A lot remains to be decided on the ground as India heads to the polls.
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