We are living in the era when Modi brand is dominating Indian politics. No leader in Indian politics is anywhere near to challenge Modi in electoral politics. If we elections took place today, we can safely assume BJP will likely to return to power with much higher number of seats to the parliament than in 2019. This is despite the fact the Indian Economy is sliding every day leading to huge number of job losses, Worrisome surge in Corona cases in all parts of the country, Students distress & border row with China.
As I said, despite these existential crisis- He remains the most popular leader. Wonder Why?
- Clean Image & No Corruption Charges
- Hard Working
- Tough Decision Maker
- He is one of the few leaders who never promoted his family in politics
& most importantly… at present there is no leader in opposition who can challenge Brand Modi. Self-centered fractured opposition is only helping Modi to climb the popularity charts.
So, should we safely assume that Modi cannot be defeated?
Politics is the only game where all outcomes are possible. History is testimony to the fact that even great leaders lost elections. We don’t need to go too far; the two biggest examples of independent India history could be Smt. Indira Gandhi losing in 1970’s & Shri Atal Bihari Bajpayee losing the elections in 2004. Both leaders were on peak of the popularity charts when they lost these elections. Importantly there was none as one opposition leader who match the stature of these leaders but still, they lost the elections. Many believe that both these leaders took self-destructive decisions which led to the loss of elections be it emergency or India shining campaign. Should Opposition expect the same favor from Narendra Modi. It’s unlikely that Modi will give them any chance.
Can PM Modi be defeated—the answer is yes. How—must be explored
There are few things which opposition must avoid to create an atmosphere which will help them to connect with people
- Don’t play into hands of PM Narendra Modi- The biggest mistake opposition did in last six years was making personal attack on Mr. Modi. From Chaiwala to Chaowkidar, they only give tools to Modi which he encashed wisely to get climb up the popularity ladder. Opposition especially Congress has not learned any lesson from last Delhi Elections. They should target BJP not Modi. He is too stronger a brand in the minds of people. People will fight for Modi. So, the best approach is to split Narendra Modi & BJP while attacking the government.
- Do not use armed forces to attack PM Modi & Government– The other continued mistake opposition is doing is to indirectly bringing army in debates & discussion. To best of my understanding they are trying to use armed forces as catalyst for mounting attacks to the government. Indian armed forces are one of the most decorated forces in the world. There conduct since independence is synonyms with the growth of democracy in the country. People of all economic background, caste, creed, religion have huge respect for armed forces. If you question them even indirectly, people will question you. It’s essential to keep armed forces away from political debates.
- Continuous shift towards minority appeasement must be stopped– India is a proud secular country since independence. Its unique to India that people from diverse culture, religion & caste are living harmonious since many years. But in last few decades many political parties went on to appeasement politics so much so that appeasement of minority is percieved as new secularism in the country. It worked against them & people from majority religion started feeling marginalized. Due to this even they rally fully behind Modi. Ignoring majority population never going to benefit the opposition parties.
There are communities with whom opposition must try to engage who can become their Non Paid promoters & eventually will drive them to Office
- Connect with Middle Class– One of the most neglected community in the electoral politics of country is middle class people. It is the middle class who pay highest taxes, get least of the benefit of government schemes. Biggest buyers or consumer. In short driving force of the economy of any country. But these stats may not interest the opposition party to launch a campaign for connecting middle class. I just wanted opposition parties to know that middle class is one of the most influential class in the country. It will be easy to understand if we reflect upon the campaign of Narendra Modi in 2014 & Arvind Kejriwal prior to that. Its middle-class aspirations to see Modi for the top job & their influence in Social circles helped Modi to reach the poorest of the population. Kejriwal campaign against corruption which helped him to come to power in Delhi is funded & driven by Middle class. Yet opposition is making no effort to reach out to the middle class & be there voice for the political campaign against Narendra Modi.
- Unite the students against the government– History is witness to the fact that even strongest of the leaders couldn’t survive against the united force of students. In last few years, Students of this country is facing lot of hardship. You may have read in newspapers that examinations getting postponed of SSC, UPSC etc. Poor students just have one or two years to make or break the competitive exams due to financial problems. By the time exams tool place or results are announced, they already have compromised with the life & started doing what they can do the best for living. Many talents & life is getting wasted due to inconsistency of government in conducting examinations.
- Small Business/Trader Community– In 2014 it’s not Narendra Modi who won the election, its UPA which lost the election. One of the reasons was frustration of the business community especially traders. The situation is no different in 2020, Post demonetization, SME finding difficult to run the business & shops are getting closed. But Opposition parties are busy in running campaigns for Corona, SSR case, border row & appeasement politics. The SME & Trader community feeling sidelined in opposition agenda & have no alternative than to support PM Modi.
At present no one enjoys trust of Middle class, Students & Trader Community. It will not be easier for opposition parties to gain trust of these three. They have seen these political parties to work for self-interest & promote family in the parties. Also, these political parties don’t have policies to gain trust of these three communities. One must understand that these are educated people & took rational decision. You can’t gain their votes just by using political jargons. Opposition parties must try framing policies which can address problems of these communities & connect with them. Don’t wait for the elections to create party manifesto. It’s not easy & will not happen overnight; one need to be have patience & consistency. Here is the thing, if opposition is planning to defeat the charisma of PM Modi in 2024, they must start preparing from today. You win three communities by your side & they will win elections for you.