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Narendra Modi losing 2019 is now a real possibility

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Election results in three states have now made it a real possibility that Narendra Modi may not be India’s Prime Minister after another six months. That does not mean the game is over, just that the game has finally become interesting.

While the BJP has been resting pretty over its brahmastra, Brand Modi, there has been an unmistakable trend of decline in its electoral fortunes since last December.

The BJP came very close to losing Gujarat, the home turf of the Prime Minister. Hailed as a great challenger, Amit Shah could not deliver a clear majority for the BJP in Karnataka. (He could not even prevent a Congress-JD(S) alliance government in the state despite having a friendly governor who tried to help.) The BJP has lost one Lok Sabha bypoll after another, critically in its strongholds such as Gorakhpur, Ajmer and Bellary. Now if you see the election results in the three states as part of this trend, there is a larger picture.

We are constantly told to see all these elections as local contests. They are not a referendum on Narendra Modi unless the BJP wins. Some decline in vote share from the 2014 Modi wave is understandable. Even Uttar Pradesh, which the BJP swept with a 2/3rd majority in 2017, saw some decline in vote share from 2014. With some exceptions like Delhi 2015, the decline was modest. This is not true for Rajasthan, where the party has lost 16 percentage........

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