Faced with declining popularity, Modi Sarkar at the Centre is now staring at the prospects of regional parties in many states. The coming together of the regional parties and the emergence of the Congress from oblivion before the 2019 general elections is a worrying factor for the BJP, at a time when Amit Shah boasts his party will run government in the country for 50 more years.
Apparently the BJP’s position is not as sound as it was in 2014. With a highly charged atmosphere of hatred in the country, one cannot deny that the Modi government at the Centre did embolden aggressive Hindutva forces — resulting into sharp polarisation of voters. However, attempts for communal polarisation got a brief beating with Dalit movement spreading across the country over the issue of alleged ‘dilution’ of SC/ST Atrocities ( Prevention) Act, following a Supreme Court order—putting the BJP on the defensive.
Within no time at a function in Bijapur in Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Modi sought to repeatedly invoke Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, claiming it’s because of Baba Saheb’s contribution to the Constitution of India that a person from a poor and humble background like him could become Prime Minister. Besides, he also sought to snatch away ‘Jai Bhim” slogan from Dalit organisations and parties like Bahujan Samaj Party, asking people in tribal Bijapur to raise “Jai Bhim” slogan.
Flogging of dalits at Una, killings by Gau Rakshaks, BJP leaders rallying in support of accused in rape and murder of minor girl in Kathua, Kashmir, attack on Christians and their organisations, attempts to browbeat and control the media, political interference in the Supreme Court, and last but not the least, attempts to undermine the authority of constitutional bodies have contributed in creating an unrest like situation in the country. Besides, the manner in which non-BJP governments and its leaders are being dealt with also indicates that there is an attempt to make the country free of opposition parties.
A strong opposition is critical to a healthy democracy. Though regional parties are showing indications of coming together, only time will tell whether opposition unity and a joint front is a viable proportion and whether a consensus candidate could emerge.
Slowly, the Congress is also shuffling back into the game and the tables are turning. Rahul Gandhi is drawing huge crowds wherever he goes and he has really showing that he can be an aggressive campaigner, who can match the propaganda level of the BJP and its leaders. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under fire not just from opposition parties but also from his own party men. The powerful duo — BJP chief Amit Shah and PM Modi — have still not dared to act against his own party leaders critical of them. Besides, the business community, the BJP’s greatest supporters, are angry after demonetisation and implementation of GST.
After Karnataka, assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan—the states being ruled by the BJP for the last 15 years—will be very crucial for the BJP as a drubbing in these states could blow on the face of its government at the Centre.