Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi win the General Elections 2019 easily? It is believed that his rising popularity would make it a no-contest. In the last three years, Modi government has taken many steps to boost the confidence of people who voted him to power in 2014. But at the same time, his decisions have troubled many people in different ways across the country. New forms of protests have erupted in several parts. If curative steps are not taken now, the road to 2019 would be full of many hurdles.
Here we take a look at five issues that may hit PM Modi’s chances in the next General Elections:
First DeMo, now GST
The demonetisation decision of November 2016 hit everyone all over the country. While a large number of people expressed their solidarity with PM Modi’s decision by voting for the BJP in elections since November last, there were also protests and reported stories of misery experienced by people post demonetisation. Now the implementation of GST, which opposition has termed as a hurried decision, has left scores of traders disgruntled. They are protesting in cities like Surat, Ahmedabad and in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala. Traders are believed to be BJP supporters. It remains to be seen if they would continue with their faith in the saffron party.
Farmers’ distress and protests
Farmers are distressed and protesting in many parts of the country, forcing the BJP to come up with loan waiver schemes in states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Many analysts say that one of the reasons behind farmers protest is demonetisation. Astha Kapoor, a strategy consultant, writes on dailyo.in that Modi government’s policies like demonetisation, pushing of Aadhaar and rapid digitalisation “have further alienated the farmer.” She says the farmers’ protests may just be “a start to what will be a huge movement of farmers against the technologies and processes” being enforced on farmers without “logic or benefit.” On June 12, 2017, Hindustantimes.com published a ground report from Madhya Pradesh in which a number of farmers blamed demonetisation as one of the reasons behind the farmers’ unrest. Post demonetisation, the farmers alleged they were exploited by the traders.
It remains to be seen how the loan waiver schemes are implemented. Any fallout on the part of the government, or corruption, may bring the farmers on streets again.
Beef row, Cow vigilantes
The government’s steps to control beef consumption haven’t been accepted by everyone happily. There have been protests that do not seem to be ending. Some motormouth BJP leaders have only added to the woes. Moreover, attacks by ‘gau rakshaks’ have lowered many people’s faith in the Centre. Take the case of the lynching of Mohd Akhlaq in Dadri in 2015. All of his killers are yet to be brought to justice. More recently, Pehlu Khan was killed by ‘gau rakshaks’ in Alwar but a Rajasthan MLA, instead of seeking justice for him, told the state Assembly that Khan had cases against him. It turned out to be a lie and was reported by The Indian Express.
PM Modi has himself attacked the cow vigilantes on some occasions. But many believe he needs to take action against the criminals. Mere words are not enough. Pratap Bhanu Mehta wrote for The Indian Express in June that the lynchings carried by cow vigilantes are “fiendishly redefining citizenship…This violence establishes a new political dispensation, where a group of people claim direct sovereignty.” Even the Supreme Court asked the Cente in April as to why the ‘gau rakshaks’ shouldn’t be banned.
Kashmir, Pakistan, China
Kashmir is on the boil. Relations with China and Pakistan have deteriorated. India is facing a war-like situation against China on Sikkim border and against Pakistan in Kashmir. The opposition says these are Modi government’s policy failures. If the government fails to solve these issues in time, 2019 may prove to be difficult.
Patel, Jat and Rajput agitations in Gujarat, Haryana, and Rajasthan
Patels in Gujarat, Rajputs in Rajasthan and Jats in Haryana are in agitation mode against the BJP governments in their respective states. They are demanding reservations and state benefits. These communities are influential voting blocks in their states.