Dhaka, Bangladesh
Opposition lagging behind NDA

Opposition lagging behind NDA

As we move towards the next three phases of the seven-phase Lok Sabha poll it is clear that the opposition parties are lagging behind and the NDA is slowly gaining momentum. They are unable to keep important poll narratives like jobs, agrarian crisis and bread and butter issues on the front burner while Prime Minister Modi has been successful in keeping terror, nationalism, Pulwama and Balakot airstrikes in the public eye, despite his failure to deliver on many of his 2014 poll promises. While the opposition might have a good case about bread and butter issues, it is the message of Modi which is emerging as more compelling to the public, particularly in the North. Initially the BJP was on the back foot but after the Balakot air strikes in February, it has managed to sustain nationalism and terror as issues though it did not have much impact in the southern states where regional parties have been holding sway. It was the local issues which got more attention there. In any case, elections in the southern part of the country have already been completed, where the BJP got only 20 of 130 seats in spite of the Modi wave in 2014. Modi’s pro incumbency claim will be tested in the remaining three phases of the Lok Sabha elections, as the party will be fighting to retain 116 of the 168 seats that it had won in 2014. They are mainly in the Hindi heartland – Uttar Pradesh (41), Madhya Pradesh (23), Bihar (21), Rajasthan (12) and Jharkhand (11), as well as all the seats of Punjab (13), Haryana (10), Delhi (7) and Himachal Pradesh. BJP knows it will be difficult to replicate the 2014 performance in some of the states where it had peaked. That is why the party is going all out to influence the swing voters in its favour. They are targeted through mega rallies, road shows, and the show of strength in Varanasi with the NDA allies etc. The Prime Minister had held about 100 public rallies and three big roadshows in the first four phases of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Incidentally, the next three phases will witness elections in VVIP constituencies like Amethi (Rahul Gandhi,) Rae Bareli, (Sonia Gandhi) Varanasi (Prime Minister Modi), Azamgarh (Akhilesh Yadav) and Sultanpur (Maneka Gandhi). The challenge for the opposition is to bring bread and butter issues back in focus in the election rallies and meetings. The opposition has a strong case on the agrarian crisis that is sweeping the country. Farmers are not getting their dues and many have committed suicide. Poor agricultural incomes have hit growth in rural wages. The other important issue is on the job front.

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