Nothing is guaranteed, especially in Indian politics, for there are so many stakeholders and competitors to power. In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would likely seek votes in the name of reforms carried out by his government. His personal appeal is also unmatched in Indian politics today. But, with the benefit of hindsight, we know that mere reform or personal appeal does not translate into votes.
For instance, former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao of the Congress introduced the biggest ever reform in the country – of breaking the shackles of socialism and taking the country on the path of liberalisation. But he lost the election battle. Years later, BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee had both – an unmatched personal appeal as well as many reforms to bank on. However, these two couldn’t stop the Congress from snatching power from the BJP in 2004.
The science of elections in India is a big mystery, like the country itself and social scientists have always struggled to predict how people will or will not vote.
Right now, BJP appears confident that Modi’s appeal and reforms will help it sail through in 2019. However, a storm is slowly brewing across the country because of the very reforms Modi has introduced to realise his vision of “New India”. This picture here can be said to be an early depiction of the storm Modi may face in 2019.
Who could have imagined earlier that a senior leader from the BJP (Yashwant Sinha), a senior Congress leader (Manish Tewari) and the head of Aam Aadmi Party (Arvind Kejriwal) would share the same stage and such camaraderie. In other times, this picture may not have mattered but now it can’t be ignored.
The smiles on their faces should be read as the signal of the storm that would try to stop Modi in 2019. Kejriwal even declared this in advance, saying the next General elections will be between Narendra Modi and the rest of the country. “The people are going to fight the 2019 elections. Parties will not fight….The battle is going to between your (pointing to Sinha) leader, your big leader and the people,” The Indian Express quoted Kejriwal as saying.
The Delhi CM further said “whether the Opposition will come together or not… that is arithmetic…but the way I can see the churning that is happening among the people… people can forsake food but cannot compromise with freedom”.
Congress has already launched a political war against BJP across the country, while discontentment from within the saffron camp has come out in the open in the form of leaders like Sinha. Soon, other small forces from states are likely to come forward to fight against Modi.
Modi has battled many a storms. 2019, however, could be his ultimate, for this picture tells 1000 words.