The only thing predictable about Indian elections is that they are unpredictable. After four years, Modi and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) remain the favorite in most of the large states of India. It contributed to great opposition coordination for the 2019 election. But times are tough for the BJP. The policy of BJP in the last four years was to consolidate the Hindu vote on the issues of cow, Sanskrit and Ram temple. Now BJP faces a number of challenges before elections:
The first issue is of the consolidation of the Hindu vote.
Cow protection is being perceived as anti-Muslim and anti-Dalit. Ground reports from Uttar Pradesh indicate that farmers are facing huge distress because of stray cows destroying their crops. The BJP-ruled states are witnessing bouts of violence against Dalits and Muslims in the name of cow vigilantism. Cases of violence against women also remain high.
LOK SABHA Elections
The BJP won 282 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections. The BJP-led NDA bagged a whopping 336 seats. In Uttar Pradesh alone, which has the maximum 80 seats, BJP was victorious on 71 seats.
It would be a major challenge for the party and its alliance to repeat or better its performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Winning the difficult states
The BJP faces difficulties in six states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Odisha, Mizoram and West Bengal. The party is trying hard to get a foothold in these states.
Job creation still remains a far cry despite the BJP government being on the verge of completing five years in power. Instead of more job opportunities, thousands reportedly lost employment after demonetisation. Skill development has yet to show any tangible results.
The bank scams and the government’s failure to stop diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and Kingfisher owner Vijay Mallya from fleeing the country have certainly dented the government’s image.
The ‘surgical strike’ of September 2016 on terror launch pads in Pakistan had preceded the economic shock of demonetisation.
Foreign policy failures and border skirmishes
India, under Modi, has failed to dissuade China from getting entrenched in the Doklam region, failed to win over Nepal after a suicidal economic blockade of the landlocked Himalayan nation, failed to raise large-scale investments from abroad in spite of endless trips of the PM (except from Japan) and failed to put a break in Pakistani violations along the Line of Control, leading to a higher number of Indian soldiers getting killed on the border in the last four years.
BJP’s internal challenge
Apart from the Advani-Joshi-Sinha populated BJP Margdarshak Mandal and others like Shatrughan Sinha, several current central ministers such as Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh are apparently unhappy with the concentration of power in the hands of the PM.
Where is Lokpal Bill?
Despite the passage of four years, the Modi government has not appointed a Lokpal. The issue seems to have been sidelined.
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