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Charisma Continues for Modi, so does dilemma for Congress

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on December 08, 2023 with No Comments


Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has witnessed another election cycle, and has a put another stamp of stunning performance on the Hindi heartland. The outcome has come as a surprise as the election pundits in India had not given much favourable results for BJP. The party battled 18 years of anti-incumbency. In Rajasthan the BJP was fighting against some good work done by Congress Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the most of the exit polls had given both Congress and BJP almost an equal chance. And in Chhattisgarh, BJP faced a indomitable leader in Congress’ Bhupesh Baghel and none gave BJP much chance in Chhattisgarh However, the results are far better than the exit polls for the BJP.

In all the three states, the BJP didn’t declare a chief ministerial candidate, and the narrative was set around Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Though the campaign and the promises focussed on the respective states, mainly the achievements of the central government directly under Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and this delivered results for the BJP showing that’s Modi’s style of welfare and nationalism carries credibility with the voters. The victory in the three states put another stamp on Narendra Modi’s ability to transform difficult elections to easy victories.

Even one state that the BJP has not been able to win, in  Telangana, it has increased its tally in comparison to 2018.

Heading into the 2024 elections, the results cement Narendra Modi as the single-most influential political figure in India and seems invincible.

These results also bring in focus Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharage, Rahul Gandhi and Congress party. Rahul Gandhi may no longer be the party president, but  he has clearly continued

to position himself as a strong leader against Narendra Modi,

leading the grand party’s campaign in all five states. In Telangana, the Congress has won for the first time in history, taking advantage of searing anti-incumbency against K Chandrashekar Rao, but in the crucial Hindi heartland, where the Lok Sabha elections will be won and lost, the Congress finds itself wiped out. Rahul Gandhi attempted to make the demand for a caste census a central issue, but there is little evidence that this found traction; labelled the BJP a party of the rich, but the poor continue to back Modi; and offered the Congress

as a developmental alternative to the BJP, a promise that voters across three states rejected. Going forward, it is difficult to imagine what the Congress, or Gandhi can do to change the narrative. At the same time, Khrage took over as the Congress president in October 2022. Under his leadership, the party won state elections in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, and there was talk of a revival in its fortunes. In some ways, wresting Telangana from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi is a continuation of that trend — however, in the results clearly show that the Congress has much more work to do in Hindi belt.

Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Kharge now leads a party that seems to have no answers to what works in the Hindi

heartland. If that remains the case, there is no pathway to a change of guard in May 2024.


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