File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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It is quite normal for any elected government to remain popular in its first year of governance. So it should not surprise anyone that the Narendra Modi government remains very popular as it completes one year in office in its second term. Evidence from recent surveys does testify that Modi’s popularity has increased during the last few months, especially because of his efficient handling of the coronavirus crisis in India. The mood of anti-incumbency generally sets in after a government completes half of its term, i.e. two-and-half-year in office.

So, the question to be asked is whether anti-incumbency would set in against the Modi government when it is mid-way in its second term or not? There can’t be any definitive answer to this question.  Going by the current mood of the people and the complete disarray in which the Opposition is at the moment, I am sure the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is comfortably placed to win the third national election in 2024.


Also read: First year of Modi 2.0 full of historic achievements & tough decisions: BJP leaders


Modi’s popularity is the key

The BJP under Narendra Modi has defied various electoral patterns during the last six years. Before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, hardly anyone believed that the BJP would be able to improve its 2014 performance and that the party’s seat share would peak in many north Indian states. It was believed that that BJP might find it impossible to repeat its electoral performance of 2014 in states like UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Delhi. But the party defied all past electoral patterns, not only repeating its electoral success in many of these states, but also improving in some of them, taking its vote share beyond 50 per cent in many of them. Before the BJP in 2019, no other political party except the Congress, has managed to win two consecutive terms. Its electoral performance, coupled with the popularity of Prime Minister Modi will help the party defy any anti-incumbency half way through its term.

Modi today is as popular (if not more) as Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi were in their times. Surveys conducted in various countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic have rated Modi higher than his global counterparts in handling the crisis.


Also read: Ayodhya to Covid, India is marching forward, says PM Modi in open letter to country


What has worked for Modi govt

What also makes the Modi government popular is its ability to pass long-pending controversial legislations. The dilution of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir; Triple Talaq law and the Citizenship Amendment Act have all made the majority Hindus jubilant, keeping them loyal to the BJP. Modi government’s schemes launched in the first term, like the Jan Dhan Yojana, Ujjawala Yojana, Aayushman Bharat, and PM Kisan have helped the farmers, women, poor and other economically margianslied sections of the society. This also enabled the BJP in mobilising additional votes among the Dalits, Adivasis, and the lower segments of the Other Backward Classes in 2019 elections. Push towards digital India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Goods and Services Tax are other important steps which have had far reaching impact on governance and added to the Modi government’s popularity.

What is unique of this government is its ability to turn crisis into an opportunity. When the demonetisation was announced suddenly, leading to immense hardships for a large number of poor and lower-class people, the government successfully turned it into a narrative of fight of the poor against the rich. Just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when concerns were being raised around the economic slowdown and farm distress, the Balakot air strikes provided the government an opportunity to swing the mood of the Indians in its favour.


Also read: Worst yet to come, Centre will realise nothing’s left for poor as economy reopens: Owaisi


Corona crisis another opportunity

Today, lakhs of poor migrant workers are suffering due to a sudden lockdown and India is facing its worst economic crisis. But the Modi government has been able to convey to the people that not only has the lockdown been successful and timely, but it has also helped save thousands of lives. The constant comparison with the number of deaths in India due to coronavirus with other developed countries has helped this government in building a positive narrative that has been accepted by a large number of people.

Going by the current political climate and the mood of the people, I have no doubt that the BJP will win a third term in 2024. It is unlikely that the party would easily give away the advantage which it has at the moment. It is also unlikely that people would suddenly begin to show trust in opposition parties and leaders. An electoral competition in 2024 is possible only if things turn upside down. Chances are bleak, but there still remains a possibility. We have seen an extremely popular Congress government led by a popular Prime Minister (Rajiv Gandhi) fall apart only in a few months and lose the next election.

Sanjay Kumar is a Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. Views are personal.

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20 Comments Share Your Views

20 COMMENTS

  1. Narendra Modi government has just completed the first year of its second edition. Even though the government

    performed in every field of administration viz economy, health, education, internal security etc, it was consistent in invigorating communal hatred and religious polarization throughout the year. Widespread hate campaigns were directed against minorities, Muslims in particular. The basic tenets of the constitution were thrown away and the democratic ethos were attacked most intensely. The year saw the gross misuse of government machinery and public institutions for pursuing sectarian agendas of RSS and the administration resorting to unprecedented excess power for silencing dissent and imprisoning the rivals.

    The fanatic CAA and NRC threatening the Muslims of citizenship denial, passing the triple talaq bill in an utter encroachment on minority rights, introduction of new dangerous provisions on the draconian UAPA, abrogation of article 370 shattering decades long trust and constitutional guarantees accompanied by brutal persecution of Kashmiris, the carnage in Delhi perpetrated by hindutva brigades and backed by government machinery, the conversion of police forces into bigoted saffron mobs, misuse of lockdown for clampdown on anti CAA protesters and targeted arrests of Muslim youth and indiscriminate slapping of UAPA – these are the glimpses of the first year of Modi government 2.0. It has turned our country into a republic of hate.

    The deluge of hate created by the hindutva government should not be allowed to wash away our secular democratic http://www.siyasat.net

    • Entire world even Arabian Muslim has no issue with modi. It’s only Indian muslim with Pakistan blood has issue. There is no way to make indin muslim understand.

  2. Mr Sanjay Kumar, you are a naughty heartless Author & your Article is like thika mirchi to all Modi Haters. How they can sleep after reading your Article. They were all scratching their head thinking how to remain un-employed without ministry post/power till 2024 & now your Article extending un-employment till 2029. Mr Sanjay, too much injustice on your part. Suggest some pain balm,some medicine for insomnia.

  3. Hahahaha Modi is nothing he become second time pm because of paid madia his is most curruption and stupid pm now in India every one is trouble

    • You are an idiot & Congis man. In these 6 years there is NOT a single scam on any of the ministers even. Really you are a jaundiced person, who always seen Congis big big scams in earlier years. Idiot, bevacoof.

  4. Point missed by Modi critics is that the public trusts him and his honesty. As with doctors they know he doesn’t have the cure for every illness but feel he does his best.

  5. 2024, 2029,2034,2039,2044,2049,2054,2059,2064,2069, 2074,2079,2084,2089,2094,2099 and so on…. BJP will win and Modi would continue to be PM forever until next wave of Corona -2 . What kind of analysis is this. First people were told that they have to stay inside, but migrants were out within few days of firat lockdown and then we were told wash hands, keep distance and wear mask to keep the Corona away. Now we have been asked to live with Corna which is what we were doing before lockdown and when cases started getting reported. People are being fooled and would continue to get fooled sill Modi’s popularity would remain intact.

  6. Yoga the biggest contribution of India to the world prescribes breath watching (of course your own breathing process) as a remedy for the mental turmoil one undergoes while watching the migrant workers gasping for their breath. Mind you the observer is not gasping. The observed is the grasper. What can you do what can Modi do. He is preoccupied with watching every move the birds in Pakistan are making. The migrants will be taken care of by fellow migrants . Amen

  7. More the hatred spewed by the liberals on the NDA government, the more is its popularity. The liberals are so incensed by its inability to sway the masses that they have even stopped counting the infections and dead bodies in Maharashtra.

  8. Dear sanjivkumar, is this assessment taking into considerations of EVMs.I can bet if elections are conducted today BJP will notmore than 25% votes. No party can overnight double amount of votes. Hindu muslim and Balakot strikes are a cover up for EVM manipulation.

  9. Have the monkeys running that Pvt Ltd company called Congress asked themselves why the people of India hold PM Modi in such high regard?
    It is time that the Congress looks in the mirror – it may not like what it sees.

    • If a clown like Trump can get away with murder (See column “Why does Trump get away with everything?” Washington Post, May 27, 2020), that too in a country like America, what is so surprising that, after 6 years there is no anti-incumbency against Modi in India?

  10. This govt has done one thing which no other govt able to do . Made Supreme Court, Media,and parliament under caged.

    • If the BJP succeeds in dividing the opposition parties, their sucees is a foregoing conclusion. If they come together like in Maharashtra, they can form a Government. Public memory is short. The blunder committed by BJP in handling the Pravasi Masoor issue will be wiped out from the Public Memory. by 2024. Shri Sharad Pawar is the only ray of hopes.

    • BJP can win the elections in 2024 .if the opposition parties, continue to fight with each other. If they come together then it will be a situation like Maharashtra.

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