Most likely, it is going to be Narendra Modi, if exit polls and current leads across the country are to be considered.
The Game of Thrones in India has begun with all its intensity, passion and aggression. Easily outpacing the eyeballs garnered by the Hollywood original. All players are fully engaged in the political battlefield trying to win the war of perception, mind, and hearts.
It is not going to be easy, and the path to power is set to see many reputations built and destroyed. At stake? Majority control of the 17th Lok Sabha and to right to administer the country for the next five years.
The world’s largest democracy will begin showcasing its people’s power from 11 April 2019 till 19 May 2019, and their choice will be revealed to the world on 23 May 2019.
Remember the excitement, anticipation and action during 2014 Lok Sabha elections? 2019 is all set to beat that!
Post-2014, hectic international and domestic engagements saw PM Narendra Modi cement his position in India’s political history, which makes him favorite No 1 for an encore in 2019.
His party believes he can once again repeat the magic of 2014 and are placing all their bets on him. Such has been his political dominance that India’s oldest political party is yet to present a credible challenge of its own.
The Congress party has been in the wilderness for four and a half years with wins in the recent assembly elections in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh offering a sliver line of hope for a revival of sorts.
The collective opposition, comprising a motley of regional parties, remains unsure of rallying with/behind or independent of the Congress. With less than a month to go, a credible alliance challenging the BJP-led NDA is yet to emerge.
With this backdrop of uncertainty, Narendra Modi has the best chance of once again becoming the Prime Minister of India.
Rahul Gandhi is appearing as the biggest challenger but remains a distant second. Catching up with Modi at this stage will take more than the controversy surrounding the Rafale fighter aircraft or the recent entry into active politics by his sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The opposition remains divided over his potential as a future Prime Minister.
In terms of administrative competence, only Chandrababu Naidu – CM of Andhra Pradesh, can mount a serious challenge to PM Modi but has limited political influence outside his state.
Mamata Banerjee, CM of West Bengal, though claiming otherwise, nurses PM ambitions but her unpredictable temperament and lack of political acceptance outside her state, limits her chances for the top job.
Mayawati has lost a large chunk of Dalit supporters and is yet to gain ground to make a serious claim for the PM’s chair. Her new-found ally, Akhilesh Yadav-led SP, may help her with seats in U.P. but may not be sufficient to make her a frontrunner. Nitish Kumar, CM Bihar, once a possible contender, remains politically weakened and is ruled out.
So, who gets to sit on the PM’s chair will be known on the 23rd of May. Watch this space for all the latest in political action in the run-up to that much-awaited day.