As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections come closer, the political environment of the country starts to get tenser. While the opposition buckles up for its expedition to power, the ruling party gains all strength for the throne fight.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is nearing its 5 years of ruling the country, had its national executive meeting on September, 9th. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, while addressing major leaders from across the country, coined a new slogan for the 2019 general elections- Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP. While the BJP looks fairly confident about a winning streak, the opposition is claiming Modi is fastly losing his charm. Amidst the speculations, will Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP save the day for the RSS brainchild?
The National Executive Meeting
The two-day meeting, earlier scheduled to be on August 18, 19, had been rescheduled to September, due to the deteriorating health of late former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The closed-door meeting has come a short while ahead of the elections in three crucial states- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh. BJP is currently in power in all the three states. The outcome of these assembly elections, therefore, will play a major role in steering the waves of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
As Modi addressed the BJP leaders, he also mentioned that the new slogan will also be a tribute to the memory of former Prime Minister, as well as part founder of BJP, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee passed away on August, 16 this year. Union Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, while briefing up the press said that “The new slogan, ‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’, means a victorious India which cannot be dominated by anyone and a party committed to its core principles and values”.
BJP on 2019 elections
While speaking to his party men, PM Narendra Modi sounded fairly confident about the outcome of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Taking a jibe at the opposition, and the talks of a coalition, he said that “People who do not see eye to eye are thinking of a grand alliance. It is vindication of our work”. This comes in straight contrast to the opinions of many, who see the alliance as a potential threat to the BJP government. However, Modi was not alone in his positive state. On the first day of the executive meeting, the party President, Amit Shah, had declared that the party would contest the 2019 elections based on its good performance of the past five years.
Narendra Modi was, as always, sharp with his confidence and words in the meeting, at one point saying that “We do not see any challenge”. However, how right is he in saying so?
The public’s verdict
While there may or may not be an entire truth in the opposition’s claim that Modi is quickly losing his trusted vote bank, there is some substance to be found. Rahul Gandhi, who was a walking “laughing stock” for many in the ruling party, has surprisingly come forward as a good PM candidate for many civilians.
According to India Today Mood of the Nation Poll, July, 2018 poll, Rahul Gandhi is the best PM face for the opposition against Narendra Modi. While he still lagged behind Modi in overall voting, his popularity as an alternate to the former has increased by 14 percent (now at 46 %) from a similar poll of 2016. The Congress president’s popularity was the highest in South India.
While BJP managed to win by a swooping majority in the 2014 elections, the tides seem to be at least a bit more challenging for them this time around. How the party performs in the upcoming three state elections will be of crucial importance- both to its reputation, and its potential win in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Meanwhile, the opposition continues talks about a “Mahagathbandhan” to eliminate any chances of the saffron party coming in for a second time. Neither of the two sides have a smooth sea to sail into, and the final verdict on their voyage will only be out in 2019.