Immediate challenges to BJP and Modi

Date:

(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)

There is no challenge to the Narendra Modi government in terms of having a majority in parliament. 300 MPs is a very comfortable number in parliament, and it will only go up.  But the immediate challenges are the state elections to Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand in November 2024. There is a BJP alliance government in Maharashtra and Haryana. In Jharkhand it is a non- BJP government. These states are very important because in all these 3 states the Congress is an important player. There are some non- BJP states like Tamil Nadu and Bengal, where regional parties are important opponents of BJP and Congress is absent.  In recent 2024 parliament elections, there have been mixed results for BJP in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand.  These results have given worrying signals to the BJP and elation to the opposition. But there is time left and the BJP has started corrective steps to get back the initiative in these 3 states. Modi is the prime minister, and he will definitely take corrective steps to try to win the 3 states. The results of the 2024 parliament elections have shown that while Modi is popular, the people are unhappy with various issues. So, Modi will try to solve such issues.

Maharashtra:  In 2019, the BJP alliance won 41 out of 48 MPs. But in 2024 elections, the BJP won only 18 MPs and the INDIA alliance consisting of Sharad Pawar, Congress and Uddhav Thackeray won 30 MPs. This is viewed as a big defeat for BJP. Based on this victory, the Opposition is confident that it will win Maharashtra. If opposition wins Maharashtra, it will be a major setback for the BJP and will create problems in the next 5 years. It will impact other states in e sin the next 2 years.

Haryana: The BJP had won all 10 MPs in 2019. But in the 2024 elections, the BJP won only 5 MPs, and this had led to confidence that the Congress will defeat the BJP in Haryana elections.  Haryana is right next door to Delhi and there is immense real estate wealth. If Haryana is lost to the BJP, then again it will be a major setback.

Jharkhand:  Right now, the non- BJP parties control Jharkhand government. But in 2024 parliament elections, BJP had won 9 MPs out of 14.  However, the non- BJP alliance has many parties and advantages and will make efforts to retain Jharkhand. The BJP has also taken many Maharashtrians MPs as central ministers with careful considering for the assembly elections. The BJP will also give more tickets to allies better in elections. It will be stiff fight and not a walkover for the non- Congress alliance.

BJP strategies to win the 3 states:

a. Maharashtra:  Doing a post-mortem on the 2024 elections, the BJP contested 28 MPs out of 48 and won only 9 MPs.  On the other hand, its ally Shiv sena of Eknath Shinde contested only 15 MPs and won 7. If the BJP wants to win Maharashtra assembly elections, then it must contest less seats and give more to allies and small parties.  

b. Haryana: The BJP managed to retain 5 MPs. The BJP is still a force in Haryana, which has many small parties. As Narendra Modi is the prime minister, it can exert immense influence on Haryana.  Modi has appointed 3 MPs from Haryana as ministers, with an eye on elections.  

c. Jharkhand:  Jharkhand has 14 MPs and BJP alliance has won 9 MPs. But the problem is that the anti- BJP opposition is very strong.  The BJP has taken steps to include powerful Jharkhand leaders in the central cabinet.  To win over tribals, the BJP has made 2 tribals the chief ministers of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. They are neighboring states of Jharkhand and the message to tribals is clear.  The BJP also made a tribal Smt. Draupadi Murmu the Rashtrapati. In Jharkhand, this strategy will pay off. BJP has to solve problems affecting these 3 states. a. The biggest issues affecting Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana are the farmers issues. For 10 years, Modi government has not taken right steps for farmers and this issue became a major headache for BJP in 2024 elections. The senior most politician Shivraj Chauhan, former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh has been appointed Agriculture minister. He might help address farmers’ problems. b. Agni veers:  This is the new system of recruitment of soldiers and there is immense anger. Government will have to change the system of recruitment of Agni veers urgently or it will face massive anger in these 3 states.  

c. Price-rise: One can expect massive concessions in the coming budget in July 2024 to counter price-rise. The July 2024 budget will address the state elections of November 2024. 

Modi government has been inflexible: The Modi government had been in-flexible on many issues earlier and changed its policies only after massive agitations. Farmers were against ‘farm laws’ since they were not consulted. But government dumped them only after a massive agitation. Similarly, the Agni veer system of military recruitment has been opposed. But Modi government remained stubborn and paid a heavy price in the 2024 parliament elections.  The 3- states elections in November 2024 are a big challenge for Modi government. If I can do well in the 3 states, then the path to 2029 will be easy. There is a feeling that Modi has learned some lessons, and he will present a sobering image now. Modi is very lucky that he still formed the government. It is like a near-death experience. Oen becomes very careful after a near-death experience. Similarly, one expects Modi to show his changed face to Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana. Modi has already changed. Modi is smiling a lot and hugging people. Modi knows that if you don’t change, you will perish.

(Author is a Political and Economic analyst)

1 COMMENT

  1. I have read the article very useful. The author has rightly mentioned “Modi is popular, the people are unhappy with various issues.”

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