Modi Numero Uno or Nervous after the Fourth Phase

fourth phase
After phase four of the election, the question arises, about the position of the BJP and the brand Modi is ahead of the opposition or whether the ruling party is on the back foot. Every day there is the buzz from the opposition side that the tide has turned. The prime minister will not be the PM on the 4th of June. All these are just wishful thinking or something has gone on in this election that was not expected. Whether the prime minister is trumping all his opponents as always and remains miles ahead of the political communication.

It is tough to say by now whether the election has gone unexpectedly cooperative or is just wishful talk. Because there is very limited hard data, the only thing most people are quacking on to and analyzing in depth is the voting numbers and turnout percentages. Whether there is any hard or anecdotal evidence that suggests the election has turned its wave completely lacks substantive evidence as yet. Anecdotally, it is tough to say that the entire narrative and scope are not there as it used to be led by the BJP.

The opposition says Modi is pushed to backfoot and won’t be the Prime Minister on 4 June. Even if we don’t have hard data, the conversation becomes anecdotal. If talk about the lower voter turnout, the opposition claims the loyal BJP voters have not come out to vote because they are disillusioned. Whereas the BJP will say we are a cadre-driven party and our loyalists always vote. The simple reason why this election is up in the air is the narrative.  The narrative of this election shows a very desperate prime minister making some very outrageous remarks which indicates a lack of confidence. Modi has become the brand ambassador of the Congress manifesto which is now holding centre stage. Modi is now trying to divert the attention from his very famous hate speech. The BJP is playing catch up with the Congress manifesto making it a central agenda, and narrative. The Ambani, Adani remark of the PM is nothing but his example of nervousness regarding the election being unexpectedly flipped towards the opposition.

The BJP spokesperson stated that most camps are extremely confident and there is no confusion about that. Talking about Mr Kejriwal and the opposition, it is Congress that desperately needs drama, the AAP has to orchestrate some sort of drama after Kejariwal comes out of jail. The Sam Pitruda matter is the perfect example of the drama that Congress does. So, this is the normalcy of the election season that every party has their share of controversies, as well each will point a finger at the other on this. But the empirical picture here is based on the

The election picture and the aggression during the 2019 election were as combative as it is now. The Congress was as aggressive as it is because Rahul Gandhi had called the PM directly ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’. This kind of extreme rhetoric was used then as well. So it is no less or different this time as well. The Narratives of Congress are the game to dominate the narrative, the party has come a long way in communication, by trying to do so. in the social media space. We have to understand that this kind of dominance is only in the social media space or it is there in the ground as well.

The narrative of BJP being on the back foot is something which is penetrating the minds of the people. Instead of the voter turnout and anecdotal example, one should look at the margins of the votes. As it is seen on the ground there may not be a huge sweep wave but there certainly is no hate against the BJP.

In the election season, there are two aspects to discuss. One is that this is not a single-term or second-term election for the BJP. Last term in 2019 also had 40% votes and that was enough to give him 300 seats. Is there any solid tractor found why a typical Modi voter would not vote for Modi and the BJP again? There has not been that anti-incumbency. There were always people opposing Modi, even in 2014 he got 31-32% votes. A lot of people were opposing Modi then and it was visible and better organised on social media. There must be a certain shift in voters, especially young voters. In 5-10 years the population changes a lot. The shift Is there but there is no actual data that suggests a broad shift or any big support pillar of Modi.

Putting Kejriwal in jail was as much an error of political judgment as releasing him. Kejriwal is making a huge difference in the kind of voting enthusiasm among Delhi citizens. He has had an impact in Delhi on the ground. There is ground-level chatter which has increased in favour of Kejriwal. Even when Kejriwal was in jail, there were a lot of demonstrations on the streets of Delhi. The other leaders of AAP were quite divided because Sunita Kejriwal, the wife of Arvind Kejriwal was trying to take over the mantle. Arvind Kejriwal has been extremely distrusting of his people, which has not gone down well with the leadership of the AAP. So it is very difficult to imagine how all these will play out further.

However, Kejriwal was the original Polariser. He is known for his shock capsule, even before Modi arrived on the scene. It was Kejriwal who had learnt to apologize to Indian newsrooms and Indian drawing rooms. He has been playing this game for a very long time. So the moment he comes out from jail, he tries to throw shock capsules by saying Modi may not be the PM. The Congress and the AAP have picked up these lessons and they are trying to push these shock doctrines across. But the real question is if these are correct does the Congress party have the infrastructure at party organisation to capitalise the narrative into a real win? This is where the aspect of margin comes in.

The assembly election data cannot be used to extrapolate in the Lok Sabha election. Vidhan Sabha elections should not be equated with the Lok Sabha as the product changes in both cases. Also in addition to that, this election is not a national issue-based election, local issues are coming significantly into play. In contrast to that, the national issue that the BJP is standing with is the Ram Temple on the backdrop and Modi himself represents a certain kind of national issue or a problem.