Five years ago, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) was riding the popular sentiments against the then incumbent UPA government and the phenomenon came to be known as ‘Modi-Wave’. Thus, it managed to sweep the Lok Sabha seats in northern, central and western India. The BJP became the first party to cross the majority mark in the house after 30 years in India’s electoral history.
After an eventful five years, the party is set to fight the Lok Sabha elections again under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the majestic image of Mr Modi was tarnished after the results of assembly elections were announced in the three Hindi heartland states. The assembly elections have busted the myth of the BJP being invincible under Modi-Shah duo. Rahul Gandhi’s popularity has been increasing constantly, but Narendra Modi remains the first choice of a large section of people.
The regional alliance stitching together the anti-BJP fragments have been formed in different states. These alliances can prove to be a potential contender against the BJP. It is a fact that path to Treasury Bench of the house goes through Uttar Pradesh, having the maximum number of seats. Out of the 80 seats here, the BJP-led NDA alliance won 73. Given that, the Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha elections 2019 opinions polls predict a considerable success of SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan in the state. The grand alliances in several other states, such as Jharkhand, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, are set to gain from the regional arithmetic.
A number of policy loopholes and governance setbacks from the BJP’s side would also ensure the part success of the opposition alliances. The rising unemployment, poor implementation of Demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) etc. would sway away from a section of the core vote share of BJP in the urban working-salaried class. However, the emerging distress in the farming sector has resulted in large scale protests among the rural population. This surely is one of the biggest headaches for the saffron party in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
After receiving negative feedback from its core vote-bank — the upper castes — over its overdrive to woo the Dalits and OBCs, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sent out a message to Thakurs, Brahmins and the Vaishyas by providing the reservation to the Economic Weaker Section (EWS) of the upper caste in public and private education and employment. It seemed during the assembly elections of the three Hindi heartland states that the BJP’s upper caste vote-bank was drifting apart from them but they managed to consolidate it through the 93rd and 103rd Constitutional Amendment Bill.
The BJP had promised in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections 2014 the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya but for the past five years, BJP has been insisting that they do want the construction of the ram temple but only through the judicial proceedings. This has also made the core Hindu voters of the saffron party upset.
Various Lok Sabha elections 2019 opinion polls show that NDA may fall short of a clear majority although it will emerge as the single largest party. According to the INDIA TV- CNX Opinion Poll, NDA (minus AIADMK) may get 245, UPA 146 and others (plus AIADMK) may get 152 seats. However, the Times Mega opinion poll suggests that 83% of people want NDA to retain power with the majority wanting Narendra Modi as prime minister. But what is interesting is that 36% of the people consider ‘no progress on ram temple’ as the biggest of the incumbent government. In such a scenario, the Third Front would also assume some kind of significance.
In a hung Parliament, some analysts think that regional parties will offer to support the BJP provided it ditches Modi for some other leader like Gadkari. I think the chances of the BJP ditching Modi are zero. The BJP would rather sit in the Opposition and watch an unstable Third Front coalition collapse after a year or two.