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Is Narendra Modi's charisma beginning to fade already?

August 01, 2014 08:09 IST
Narendra Modi has scored full marks in Lok Sabha elections but the next round of assembly elections are the real challenge for him

The loss of three seats in the by-elections in Uttarakhand is a matter of concern for the BJP. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav and the Congress have stitched together a grand alliance to take on the NDA in 10 by-elections to be held there. Assembly elections are round the corner in 4-5 states. A bad performance there will evaporate the euphoria of the win in the Lok Sabha election, says Dharmendra Kumar Singh.

Narendra Modi’s government completes two months at the Centre and by now he knows better than anyone that the art of maintaining power is often different from the art of acquiring it.

Modi has scored full marks in Lok Sabha elections but the next round of assembly elections are the real challenge for him. The rout of the Bharatiya Janata Party in three seats in the Uttarakhand by-elections has sent shock waves within the ruling alliance. The Congress retained the Dharchula seat which went to Chief Minister Harish Rawat and wrested the Doiwala and Someshwar seats from the BJP.

While two months are very less time to evaluate the performance of Modi’s government, these results clearly indicate the Modi magic may have begun to fade and should be a matter of concern for the BJP.

Dharmendra Kumar Singh is a political analyst.

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'Acche din aane wale hain' slogan losing its sheen

August 01, 2014 08:09 IST
Activists of Socialist Unity Centre of India in Kolkata being detained by police during a protest against the recent rail fare hike

Modi’s popular slogan, ‘Acche din aane wale hain’ is losing sheen because the people of India have not been able to see any indication of the good days as promised by him.

Rail fares have been hiked, the price of petrol is also touching a new high and onion-potato prices are rising while tomato has briefly touched Rs 100 a kg in some cities.

The monsoon has also ditched the new government at the Centre. May be price rise was a big reason for BJP losing ground in Uttarakhand.

The opposition has also launched a scathing attack on Modi government for making tall promises but not delivering on anyone of them. It is not only Uttararakhand but in Bihar also indications are bad for the BJP.

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JD-U-RJD-Congress alliance may pose tough challenge to BJP in Bihar

August 01, 2014 08:09 IST
JD-U leader Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav

Bihar is due for bye-elections in 10 assembly seats. A grand alliance of the Janata Dal-United, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress has been formed to take on the BJP. The JD-U and RJD will contest four seats each, while the Congress will contest in the remaining two.

The Lok Sabha results were a big blow for Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Both were forced by circumstances to join hands. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which won 31 out of Bihar’s 40 seats, polled 38.8 percent votes.

The new combination had 45.5 percent but they could not win enough seats. The NDA with Ramvilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party and Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party had contested the election against the RJD-Congress alliance while the Nitish Kumar-led JD-U had fought the election with the Left parties.

The BJP has announced it will contest nine of the 10 seats leaving one for the LJP.

A confident Nitish says, “The BJP is nervous and the new alliance can ensure our combination stops the BJP in its tracks so that we can salvage Brand Bihar.”

Although the political arithmetic goes in favour of new grand alliance it is very difficult to gauge the chemistry of ground realities. The issue of caste will not disappear from Bihar politics altogether. Now Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar have reached their lowest limit. They have nothing to lose.

But something has to be steadied politically. Nitish Kumar had fought the election against Lalu Yadav’s ‘jungle raj’. A majority of the voters do not want to see Yadav ruling Bihar again. Nitish Kumar’s rating as CM has been generally good. During his rule, law and order, condition of roads and electricity supply have improved.

According to a CSDS-CNN-IBN pre-poll survey in March, 2014, 73 percent of voters were satisfied with the performance of Nitish government. Some voters said during the survey they will vote for Modi in the Lok Sabha elections but will prefer Nitish Kumar for the assembly elections.

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Modi awaits litmus test in Jharkhand, J&K and Delhi

August 01, 2014 08:09 IST
A supporter of Narendra Modi gestures during a campaign rally in Uttar Pradesh

The Bihar elections will be followed by assembly elections scheduled from October to February in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and probably Delhi. The BJP is expected to win in Maharashtra and Haryana but the litmus test for the Modi government will be in Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi.

In Jharkhand, 7 out of 12 MLAs of the Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha joined the BJP. The JVM was reportedly mulling over dropping these MLAs in the forthcoming assembly elections but this development ahead of upcoming assembly polls is a big boost for the BJP.

The BJP has coined a ‘Mission 42+’ slogan seeking a clear majority on its own but Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-RJD-Congress alliance may give it a real tough fight.

If the BJP wins the Bihar bye-elections as well as the five states, the party will feel more confident about making big moves on national stage.

Otherwise Modi’s government and party will be more uncertain and that may be very difficult political situation within six months of getting a clear majority at the Centre.