As elections loom, Modi’s economic reforms to dominate BJP’s political narrative

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Updated: October 27, 2017 4:35:05 PM

Election dates in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have been announced, and for Prime Minister Narendra Modi it is going to be a "litmus test" of popularity.

Election dates in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have been announced, and for Prime Minister Narendra Modi it is going to be a “litmus test” of popularity. (Image: PTI)

Election dates in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have been announced, and for Prime Minister Narendra Modi it is going to be a “litmus test” of popularity, DBS Bank has said. As ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to capitalise on Narendra Modi’s popularity even as he is not the chief ministerial candidate in Gujarat, with reportedly 50 rallies, DBS has predicted the party to shift the political narrative towards its fight against black money and efforts to ease the GST-driven bottlenecks.

The BJP and the Congress have already locked horns to seize the first anniversary of demonetisation — November 8 — as anti-black money day and black day respectively. Issues like slower growth and impact of GST implementation on smaller traders and businesses along with caste-related rifts and personal politics are going to be key concerns for the voters.

DBS says Narendra Modi’s popularity, in light of recent policy changes and reforms, particularly the Goods and Services Tax, is going to be crucial. “It will be a busy state election calendar between now and the next general elections due in May 2019. We expect the ruling party to shift the political narrative towards its fight against corruption and black money, efforts to ease the GST-driven bottlenecks (to assuage the business and traders’ community), whilst supporting the farm and rural sector with more focused reforms,” DBS said in a note.

The bank citing various opinion polls said that in both the states — Gujarat without Narendra Modi as its chief ministerial candidate and Himachal Pradesh with incumbent Congress — the BJP is expected to have a lead. However, it also said that a close to the ground, despite the survey pointing to a comfortable lead, the ruling party is wary on a few fronts like GST disruption and the economic growth.

“To this extent, these election results will provide some insights into how the recent important, yet disruptive, reforms were interpreted,” DBS said. Calling any prediction on General Election 2019 as “premature”, DBS said that elections in these two states might provide a better gauge of the “underlying sentiments”.

This week, just before announcing massive Rs 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation plan for banks and Rs 7 lakh crore Bharatmala Project, the government gave a detailed report card of economic reforms taken to put India on the path of development.

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