Modi sets an impossible target of 400 MPs 

Date:

(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)

Speaking in Lok Sabha on Feb 5th, 2024, Prime minister Narendra Modi said BJP will win 400 MPs with its allies in 2024 elections. In 2019, BJP and its allies won 304 MPs. So, this means a jump of 100 MPs out of 543 MPs.  The only time a political party won 400 MPs was by Congress in 1984, due to Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Even in first 1952 general election, Congress won 369 only MPs out of 489. To form a government, Narendra Modi needs only 272 MPs in Lok Sabha. But probably for enthusing BJP and de-moralizing his opponents, Narendra Modi has said BJP will win 400 MPs. One of the greatest weapons in a war are not guns or bombs, but words. If you can de-moralize an enemy, you have already won the war, because the enemy will not fight properly. China has not fought a war for the last 44 years since its Vietnam war in 1979. But China frequently shows off its rockets, planes and modern guns to frighten enemies. Narendra Modi is doing well, but not enough to win 400 MPs.

General picture of 2019 Parliament elections:

1. BJP has won maximum MPs in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

2.  BJP has won the maximum possible MPs against powerful regional chief Ministers. In West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi, Telangana.    ……3. In Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, BJP has won zero MPs. In Telangana, BJP won only 4 MPs.

BJP has rectified weak states: Maharashtra and Bihar have 88 MPs. In 2019, BJP alliance won 81 out of the 88 MPs. But, suddenly in both Maharashtra and Bihar, opposition chief ministers won office and the 2 states became dangerous for the BJP. Sop the BJP ensured that the Udhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra and the Nitish Kumar –Laloo Prasad Government in Bihar fell. Now Bihar and Maharashtra are safe for the BJP. In 2019, the BJP won 81 MPs out of 88 MPs in these 2 states. But experts think that the BJP will get far less MPs now in these 2 states.  

Weaknesses in Modi’s target of 400 MPs:

1. By some miracle, Modi feels that BJP will win good number of MPs in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, though there is no ground evidence of such a possibility. You might remember that in Telangana the BJP said it was going to form the government and ended up with only 8 MLAs out of 119 and there was much boasting.

2. Similarly, in these 3 states, there is much confidence. But on the ground, there is no evidence that the BJP has increased its popularity to win MPs..

3. In 2004, Atal Behari Vajpayee was also so confident of winning 300 MPS out of 543, that BJP threw out its long-standing allies and contested those seats by itself. BJP in 2004 threw out the AGP (Assam), the DMK, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Haryana Lok Dal of Chautala and many small parties. The results were a shocking defeat and BJP won only 138 MPs.

4. Narendra Modi is fully aware of the shock defeat in 2004 of Vajpayee. There is no doubt that he is in a better position than Vajpayee was in 2004. But definitely, Opposition is making efforts to unite, and the Congress has stepped back. The Congress used to contest 450 MPs for Parliament. Now Congress is going to contest only 300 MPs. This will make a big difference, which never happened before. Can BJP win the 2024 elections? There is a general view that Narendra Modi is very popular across the country and that he is not a dynast or personally corrupt. There is wide appreciation for stopping China since April 2020 and raising India’s image across the world.  The recent major victory in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has given big momentum to the BJP for 2024 elections. Therefore, BJP looks to be in a very good position for 2024 elections.

Modi following Sun Tzu strategies of war: Narendra Modi knowingly or un-knowingly is following advice given 2500 years ago on war by famous Chinese philosopher Sub Tzu. He said “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war and then fight ‘. The meaning is that even without fighting you should win wars “by other means”. By saying, BJP will win 400 MPs, Modi is winning, before even the elections start, as he has created pessimism in opposition.  · Sun Tzu also said: Let your plans be secret and impenetrable as night and then strike like lightening “.  Modi is following this advice totally. Just see the way how BJP suddenly brought down Bihar and Maharashtra governments.   Propaganda is useful for the moment. It has a very short life.   Elections are unpredictable. But Modi looks strong enough to surely get a simple majority.  However, the target of 400 MPs looks highly impossible right now. Btu things can change either way in the next 75 days!

(Author is a Political and Economic Analyst based in Delhi)

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