Modi’s 2019 re-election bid gets an unexpected supporter! This may dampen Opposition mood

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New Delhi | Updated: Jul 11, 2018 1:46 PM

It is unusual for any country to invite a leader of another nation in a year before which he may lose the leadership. On Tuesday, something like this happened.

moon modiNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on as South Korean President Moon Jae-in signs the visitors’ book at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (PIB photo via PTI)

It is unusual for any country to invite a leader of another nation in a year he may no longer be one. On Tuesday, something similar happened when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi got an “eager” invite from South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a 2020 visit to the latter’s nation. Jae said he will be eagerly waiting for PM Modi’s visit to Korea in 2020 and until then, they will continue close communication in various multilateral summits.

Will Moon’s wish materialise? It is too early to predict because PM Modi faces elections in 2019. His re-election bid is expected to be be tougher than 2014 as next year he will not be the challenger but the challenged. Modi will have to wade through the tide of rising opposition unity, disgruntlement among several sections of the society over many missed opportunities since 2014, and expectedly, some controversies created by some motormouth leaders of his own party.

For now, we can easily say 2019 will be anything but a cakewalk for Modi who stormed to power in 2014 on the back of a huge wave in his favour, and against the Congress-led UPA rule. However, the South Korean President’s “eager” wait for the Indian prime minister’s s visit to his nation in 2020 suggests the foreign leader is also confident of a Modi win next year. And statements on such important occasions, like bilateral summits, are not made without purpose. This may, however, dampen opposition parties’ hopes.

Watch South Korea President Moon Jae-in says he will eagerly wait for PM Modi’s 2020 visit

What surveys say

Modi can visit South Korea only after he wins the next general elections. Surveys have shown the Indian prime minister has more chances of returning to power than any other party or leader. An ABP News-CSDS survey in May this year had shown that Modi was likely to return to power if elections were held then.

The survey predicted BJP-led NDA would win 274 seats; UPA – 164 seats; and Others – 105 seats. Remember, the survey was done amid reports of farm distress and protests on several issues. Since then, Modi has tried to woo farmers like never before with the highest-ever MSP hike for crops. One may expect some more populist measures as elections approach.

CLSA’s Christopher Wood had earlier indicated a Modi win in 2019. He had said India’s economy may take a hit if Modi fails to become PM again. Following Karnataka Assembly election results this year, Wood said Modi was set to lead his party to victory in the 2019 general polls. “We met with more than 50 investors in the US/EU over the past month. Our meetings indicated many investors have priced in a ‘Modi win in 2019’ as the base case,” Wood said in his weekly ‘GREED & fear’ newsletter.

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