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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the 2014 elections hands down. In December 2019 they could face many desertions but still win.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP and its allies won 73 seats from the benchmark United Provinces and swept India’s elections on the crest of Hindu ascendancy. This does not appear to appeal as much anymore.
The north of India, known as the ‘Hindi Belt’, houses the large states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Modi and BJP easily won them easily in 2014. In 2019 they could fall behind. To begin with, the promises made did not come up to expectations with voters shown to desert the party’s 2014’s winning line of reverting back to “Hindu pride”.
The downturn began when the slogan that Modi used in 2014 to win the farmers vote – “Bahut Hua Kisan Pe Atyachaar, Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar” (‘End the torture of farmers) proved to be hollow.
Then, his government’s failure to create jobs hurt badly. Next, the move to ban 87% of India’s currency notes in November 2016 upset many.
But Modi and the BJP are expected to survive all these drawdowns with the Indian economy on the upsurge.
What stands in the way are Indian Muslims who voted in large numbers for the BJP and Modi in 2014 expecting the type of parity they thought would come their way. It hasn’t. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Asaduddin Owaisi, has said the 172 million Muslims had “never felt so marginalized”. That is a large chunk of votes out the window.
“For seven decades after independence, being Indian rested on faith in the country’s pluralism” not Hindutva, said a celebrated historian, but the rapid rise of Hindu nationalism under the BJP and Modi changed this.
As the news of BJP’s decline spread, Congress preened its feathers – perhaps prematurely. India’s economy is going from strength to strength and, there is nowhere to indicate it will fall prey to even Trump’s tariffs: with a population of over 1.3 billion and an annual growth rate of 7.1, India is much too large a market to be cast aside.
This has left most analysts reading that Narendra Modi and the BJP could still be at the helm of affairs in 2019.