Will Narendra Modi succeed in 2019? When it comes to predicting chances of his success in the next Lok Sabha elections, it is too early to make any prediction even as several surveys have shown there is no formidable challenge to him. However, there is one area in which the prime minister is set to succeed, says former Union minister and BJP leader Arun Shourie. But it is something the ruling BJP may not want to happen.
Talking to NDTV, Shourie has predicted that Modi will “succeed” in uniting all opposition parties. But, how? The former Union minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led first NDA government says the fear of “extermination” will unite all opposition parties.
“Mr Modi is working very hard to put the opposition together and he will succeed. Because he has convinced them that yes, ‘I will exterminate each one of you,” Shourie said, adding unless all parties get together with everybody, each one of them will be “taken apart”. Shourie, who once admired Modi, blamed this approach of BJP as the reason behind the rise of new leaders like Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat. They were “Modi’s creations”, he said.
With Lok Sabha elections still over a year away, several attempts have been made to unite opposition parties. Recently, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi hosted a dinner for opposition leaders. Some prominent faces absent in the meet were Mayawati of BSP and Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, but their representatives were present.
The Samajwadi Party and BSP had joined hands for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections. They successfully defeated the BJP in both seats and even managed to shock UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath by taking Gorakhpur away from him after over two decades.
Another attempt of creating a non-Congress and non-BJP front is also being made by the likes of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and Mamata Banerjee. Will they succeed?
Shourie told the channel that at present “everybody is talking to everybody”.
The former Central minister, however, said this is not yet the right time for opposition to form a single front against the BJP for the 2019 elections. Also, it is not necessary for the anti-BJP parties to put a credible and consensus face to take on Modi next year. Shourie cited the example of 1977 General Elections elections when Indira Gandhi was defeated by faceless but united opposition parties.
Is Narendra Modi invincible?
Shourie believes Modi’s aura of invincibility was “punctured” in Uttar Pradesh by-elections.
But, will the opposition manage to dethrone the prime minister?
The former Union minister said all will depend on “what the opposition do” and what they should do is put up a single candidate against BJP in each constituency.
In January this year also, Shourie had raised the idea of united opposition to take on BJP. Speaking at the launch of a book in Delhi, Shourie had said only 31 per cent people had voted for BJP at the peak of Narendra Modi wave. The opposition had managed 69 per cent votes and only, if they fight together, BJP will bite the dust.
Shourie has, however, cautioned, that the opposition do not need to form a common front “just now”. He said that 3-4 fronts should come up and then they should look for a convenor.