In 2002, they said Narendra Modi would be sacked as Gujarat Chief Minister. Then they said he would lose the State elections that year. In 2007 they said he would lose the Gujarat elections yet again. In 2009 they predicted that his national career was finished.
In the run up to the 2014 general elections, first they said that the BJP would never make Modi as their Prime Ministerial candidate, then they said the allies would never accept him, after that they said that the people would never accept him, finally they said that the NDA would stand no chance of getting the half-way mark which was later revised to the BJP tally.
That’s a 100% failure record, so now if they are saying that Modi is facing a tough 2019 it actually means that he is heading for a landslide. Here are 8 reasons why…
1. Congress was the largest party whenever they made a comeback.
At the Centre, the Congress made a comeback in 1980, 1991 and 2004. So then why can’t it do it for the fourth time in 2019? The answer lies in the fact that at all those three times, the Congress was by far the largest party of the land.
In all those three occasions, Congress had the most manpower and most money. Congress has nearly always had the most MPs in the Rajya Sabha, most Chief Ministers and most MLAs. Historically they’ve just lost seats in the Lok Sabha but retained their power everywhere else. This is the first time it is not so. The BJP has emerged as the big daddy in Indian politics with no close second.
The BJP beats the Congress on all counts…
(1) In the Lok Sabha it leads 271-48. (No competition)
(2) In the Rajya Sabha it leads 71-50 and if you add BJP allies, then it’s even further ahead.
(3) In the list of most populous states, the largest Congress has is Punjab at No. 20. Apart from that they have the smaller Mizoram and Union Territory Puducherry. In contrast there are 16 BJP Chief Ministers and more as allies. Scoring big in the Assemblies leads to scoring big in the Lok Sabha. Losing States means you’ll lose the Centre again.
(4) There are 1500+ BJP MLAs and the Congress has less than half of that.
(5) BJP is by far the richer party.
And finally an interesting point…
(6) In the 2014 elections, 10.7 crore people voted for the Congress. In the last four years, their support has drastically reduced. What about the BJP? Well their primary membership itself stands at 11 crore plus!
In the past Congress was an elephant that always returned due to its sheer size. Well now the Congress has shrunk to insignificance and the BJP is the elephant. It is a rising elephant in power to boot.
2. Modi has become the default operating system.
Once, Pappu (Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi) said that the Congress was the default operating system of India. He was right. But only till 2014! As mentioned above, Modi has uninstalled the Congress and made the BJP the default operating system.
That didn’t happen in the previous occasions. In 1980, the Janata Party disintegrated. In 1998, the Janata Dal disintegrated. Even the BJP started weakening from 2002 onward thanks to Godhra (it didn’t dent Modi, but it depressed Vajpayee), Operation West End and the media’s relentless attacks on the BJP.
The President, Vice President and Governors are all BJP appointees for the first time and it is the Congress that is still reeling from scandals.
The Congress gave us Independence in 1947 and for decades people blindly voted due to that. However there’s hardly anyone left alive today who was old enough to see India getting that Independence. Today the mantra is development & governance and Modi & the BJP are more associated that.
3. Modi’s 2018 image is even better than his 2014 one.
Indira Gandhi’s 1975 Emergency sunk her and she called the elections in 1977 in an act of desperation and lost. The Janata Party fought itself to extinction by 1980. Rajiv Gandhi came as Mr Clean in 1984, but by 1989 he was disgraced thanks to Bofors, the HDW scam, the Shah Bano case, the anti-defamation bill etc.
The Janata Dal leaders fought themselves to oblivion by 1991. PV Narasmiha Rao started with a bang in 1991, but from 1992 afterwards, he saw one scandal after another: The stock market scam, the Babri Masjid demolition, the JMM bribery case, Lakhubhai Pathak, Hawala, St Kitts… it wasn’t really surprising that he lost. Nationally the Janata Dal itself disintegrated by 1998.
AB Vajpayee’s golden period was 1996-99 when he led the BJP to be the single largest party in three straight general elections (1996, 1998 & 1999), affected Pokhran thumbing his nose at America and winning the Kargil War. From 2001 he had Operation West End, Godhra and by 2004 was a pale shadow of himself and it was not surprising that he lost.
Even UPA’s 2009 victory was soured in 2010 itself with the unearthing of the Commonwealth Games scam after which we had August Kranti, 2G, Coalgate, Choppergate etc.
However well into 2018, it is the Congress of the back foot and its scams are still coming out with great regularity even though it lost power four years ago. Modi continues to be Mr Clean, Mr Governance and Mr Development. To recap, Rajiv, Rao, Vajpayee (1999) and UPA2 unraveled in the first couple of years whereas Modi is still going strong after four years and there’s hardly any time left to counter that.
4. Modi has a lot to show for his term.
For the first time in Independent Indian history, India became a power surplus nation. LPG connections soared as the middle class subsidy was transferred to the poor. Bank accounts for the poor went up. GST unified India in the end. Demonetization mopped up tens of thousands of crores of black money and reduced counterfeiting.
When Latur faced severe water crisis, the Jaldoot Express (trains of water tankers) sorted out the problem. The Railways recently saw the lowest accident rate in 40 years. Road building has been speeded up. There is focus on real urgent pressing issues like building toilets.
Shastri reformed India but died early. Rao liberalized and transformed foreign policy but soon got bogged down by scams and inaction. In contrast, the Modi Express has been chugging along at full steam since 2014.
5. Pro-incumbency is the norm at the centre.
Jawaharlal Nehru was not the popular choice for Prime Minister within his party and was foisted on the nation by Mahatma Gandhi. But still when he took over he won all the elections in his life. His daughter Indira also won all the elections save one where she had imposed the dreaded dictatorial Emergency.
The Janata Party and Janata Dal disintegrated and only the slew of scandals sunk Rajiv in 1989. Vajpayee in 2004 was not expected to complete his term had he been elected and he was scandal-ridden and overshadowed by LK Advani. Manmohan got re-elected in 2009 even though he was mediocre in UPA1.
At the Centre pro-incumbency is the norm and Modi is in his prime and young enough to complete two more terms so it is unlikely that India will vote against him in 2019.
6. The Opposition has made a total mess of itself.
Ram Manohar Lohia’s anti-Congressism unified the Opposition when they captured the States for the first time in 1967. Jayaprakash Narayan plotted Indira’s downfall and installed the Janata Party in 1977. VP Singh was the most popular leader in 1989 and he too united the Opposition.
Vajpayee was the tallest leader in the 1996, 1998 and 1999 elections and BJP was the single-largest leader in all three. (Manmohan) Singh was King in 2009. Similarly Modi is the emperor today and it is the the entire opposition that is disunited.
Pappu is a joke and no other regional leader is within a mile of Modi. Post-2014 law and order has been a disaster in non-BJP states like Akhilesh Yadav’s Uttar Pradesh, Lalu Yadav’s Bihar and Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal.
In 2019, the Opposition is not in a position to challenge Modi.
7. BJP will make gains in the South, East and Northeast.
In 2014, the BJP stormed the North and West. There is no reason to believe that they will not improve their performance. But even if they do shed seats, they will gain them from the rest of the country. The BJP has already stormed the Northeast.
It is sure to pick up seats from the East (West Bengal & Orissa) and also from the South. It could open its account in Kerala and do better in states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It may increase its share in Karnataka where the Congress and JDS are fighting each other to the death.
8. Modi Haters are following the same stale 2002 strategy.
Maut ka saudagar. (Merchant of death). Nazi. Hitler. Fascist. Dictator. Muslims under siege. Christians under siege. Rising intolerance. Dalits under siege. Danger to the press. #Awardwapsi…
Modi haters and his political rivals used that strategy in 2002. And lost. They used that strategy in 2007. And lost. They used that strategy in 2014. And lost. So why are they still using this losing strategy for 2019? To lose again?
9. He’s is still India’s greatest campaign manager… ever.
It can be argued that without Modi the BJP may have won only 200-220 seats in the 2014 general elections. Then they won state after state due to Modi’s massive rallies and cunning campaigns. In Gujarat State elections the BJP would have surely lost had it not been for Modi. Recently in Karnataka most polls showed Congress ahead but after a Modi blitzkrieg, the BJP emerged as the single largest party.
Modi is still in top form. He is still the number one campaigner. He still has Amit Shah, who’s the best poll strategist. Modi will still be tough to beat in 2019.