In recent months, a survey conducted by a leading news media revealed that Modi’s popularity has dropped from 53 per cent in January 2018 to 49 per cent in July 2018. PM Modi’s victory saw overwhelming majority especially by the young voters in 2014 elections. However, today, the Modi government has continuously been under attack for various reasons. Huge psychological mood-change can be seen across India among the voters including those who voted for Modi in 2014. While Modi is trying corrective measures to sustain the tide of favour in his court, growing discontent can be observed among the voters as they don’t want to be taken for granted anymore.
Ahead of the elections, it is apparent that the BJP wants to entrap Northeastern states as its new vote bank. In a recent visit to northeast states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Tripura — PM Modi laid the foundation stones of various development projects to woo the voters. However, Modi faced huge protests and condemnation by the activists in the northeastern states over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which commits to provide Indian citizenship and full constitutional rights only to the Hindu migrates arriving from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Though the bill has provisions for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and Christians, it does not include Muslims. This decision by the Centre has evoked the allegations of religious discrimination from human right activists and political parties.
BSP Maharashtra General Secretary Jay Rajkundal stated, “PM Narendra Modi has implemented deadly decisions like demonetisation and GST; the government has given a boost to unemployment. However, since Modi came to the power, the Hindu-Muslim crisis has increased. During Modi’s government, the attacks on Dalits have increased manifold. Modi has failed as the Prime Minister which can be seen through the protests by people in every state.”
Modi received black flags welcome with slogans like “Narendra Modi, Go Back” or “Modi go back, BJP Murdabad” by angry activists from several civil society groups, human right activists across the northeast including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (YJYCP) and from the students of Guwahati University. Nude protests were done across the Guwahati streets, fierce condemnations were done by burning effigies of the PM. CM Sonowal, and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were also targeted in protest by AASU.
Fierce agitations have also been intensified across Nagaland, Manipur, and Tripura by the regional parties and civil society groups in a call to boycott of the Prime Minister’s tour. Interestingly, the BJP’s former alliance party the ‘Asom Gana Parishad’ also staged a massive torchlight march against the discriminatory bill on Friday evening in Assam. Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar too saw massive protests from students of Rajiv Gandhi University, North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST) and Himalayan University too staged a protest against the PM and his party.
Modi tried to assure the entire Northeast that the Citizenship Bill won’t affect their interests and that the government will try to uphold the cultural ethos of the region.
BJP MP CR Patil told Afternoon Voice, “The people, who don’t belong to our nation and have penetrated in the country, have protested against Narendra Modi. The citizens are happy with the Prime Minister. He is always working for the welfare of the nation. He will be victorious in the elections.”
While the recent Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh election results revealed that the hypnotised voters of the BJP have came out of the Modi’s hangover; West Bengal too seems to be a tough ground for Modi and clan as the TMC too protested strongly in rallies on the streets of Kolkata against the NDA government with ‘Anti-Modi and Anti-BJP’ posters when CM Mamata Banerjee was on a dharna against the confrontation between the West Bengal government and the CBI.
On Sunday, Modi faced a row of protests in Andhra Pradesh as CM Chandrababu Naidu too protested against him. Modi has taken the ball in his stride by sternly retorting Naidu that he is grateful to TDP that they have asked him to retain the same position in Delhi. Discordant voices can be heard from BJP’s former alliance parties Rashtriya Lok Samata Party from Bihar, the ‘Asom Gana Parishad’ and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra on various issues, whereas, the opposition fronts too are fastening their belts to penetrate Modi’s invincible fort. Political unrest has begun in India as the opposition parties are coming together with a single-minded determination to stop the Modi government from repeating the previous victory.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar said, “PM Modi has lost his credibility. Commitment and assurances given by him remained unfulfilled. PM Modi knows how to polarise the votes on communal lines. The Rafale scam exposure has diluted his anticorruption image. BJP will see its decline in upcoming elections.”
Though the brand Modi has surely been overused and apparently the magic is now wearing off, the mighty fighter Modi is fighting back in full vigour with new strategists ahead, like alleged hijacking of media or subdued strategy for social media sees Modi’s fiercely venomous supporters on social media mellowing down these days. During his tenure, certain policies might have worked against him like demonetisation, GST, digitisation, failure of creating the jobs, failure of promise to deposit Rs 15 lakhs in common man’s accounts.
If NDA government sustains next polls, Modi can still be considered a strong contender for the prime ministerial post because of two aspects in his favour i.e. the absence of potential alternative of his stature and the personal credibility within his party.
Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik asserted, “Whatever Narendra Modi promised to the people while campaigning for the 2014 polls, all landed up being Jumlas. Indian citizens were fed up with the Congress and were looking for an alternative; they elected Modi and he too has disappointed everyone in the last four and half years.”
He went on saying, “Many parties supported Modi’s campaigns in 2014 but now the same parties have turned against him. The political scene of this country has changed and Modi wave is also faded now.”