“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the tone for the 2019 by coining a new slogan on Sunday — Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP, highlighting his party’s commitment to its core values and the country’s progress and forward march under its rule. The BJP’s national executive meet, which concluded on Sunday, holds significance as it is being held in the run-up to Assembly polls in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the results of which will definitely have an impact in the outcome of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The new slogan, ‘Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP’, means an India which is victorious and cannot be subjugated by anyone and a party which is committed to its principles, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said briefing the media about Modi’s speech in the closed-door national executive of the party. The two-day national executive meeting has given an idea of the ruling party’s strategy for the 2019 elections. In their respective speeches both Modi and the party chief Amit Shah, who got an extension of his present term, highlighted the achievements of the present government at the Centre in sectors like social welfare and upliftment of the poor and marginalized. The party hopes to cross the electoral hurdle with the self-proclaimed success stories of schemes like Ujjwala (distribution of gas cylinders), Jan Dhan (financial inclusion), Saubhagya (electrification for all), hike in Minimum Support Prices for farmers, and Ayushman Bharat. There is no doubt that these schemes will work for the party’s platform in 2019.
Outcome of several by-elections gives a hint of the changing scenario of Indian politics which does not augur well for BJP’s prospects. The increasing level of activity in the opposition raises the question: will 2019 be like 2004 for the BJP? Following the BJP’s national executive, it is now crystal clear that the saffron party wants to project itself as the messiah of the poor or marginalized, coming out of the common perception that it is a party of the upper and the upper-middle class. Another significant aspect that emerged from the BJP’s executive is that it has started taking bid of the opposition parties to form an ‘mahagatbandhan’ (grand alliance) for 2019. Although Modi said in the meet that the proposed grand alliance of the Opposition was leaderless, had no clear policy and its intentions were corrupt, yet there is an apparent feeling that the party might face a challenge this time.
With Lok Sabha polls a few months away, both BJP and Congress are trying to reach out the regional parties for alliance. The Congress is trying to become the nucleus of a grand opposition alliance that is shaping up and has tasted success in the recent bypolls in Uttar Pradesh. Of late Opposition politics has moved inexorably towards some kind of an anti-BJP coalition. It is quite clear that this coalition will have nothing else in common, save opposing the BJP. The big question is will this grand alliance be able to present a leader who can take on Modi or Amit Shah? The magic of Modi is surely on the wane, yet he has no match in the Opposition ranks. It is an advantage for BJP as far as stability is concerned as the grand alliance, if it happens, will be full inherent contradicts. So, 2019 polls will be fought on two issues — welfare and stability.