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Contrary to what Nitish believes, 2019 general election would be no cake walk for Narendra Modi!
On July 31, 2017, just four days after returning to the NDA, Nitish Kumar said that Narendra Modi faces no challenge in the upcoming 2019 general election. Most would take his words on face value. Those who are closely associated with the current Indian political affairs also agree with him to some extent. Logically, I too agree that Narendra Modi has no adversary. However, I disagree that the 2019 Lok Sabha election would be a cake walk for the BJP-led NDA.

Besides, Nitish Kumar's predictions have proved to be wrong in the past too. During the campaign of 2014 general election he had repeatedly said that there was no 'Modi wave', which proved completely wrong.

However, my point is not what Nitish says. My assessment is based on a simple logic that leaders can face anti-incumbency. Despite increased popularity, BJP could lose the 2019 general election.

Not to forget the 2004 general election. Before the start of polls, Vajpayee was the most popular leader and more or less expected to be re-elected as the Prime Minister. Even the opposition parties had resigned to the fact that Vajapayee would retain power. However, exactly the opposite happened and the NDA lost the elections badly, while the UPA emerged as the surprise winner.

What happened in 2004 can be explained by the fact that most of the MPs were overconfident that in the name of Vajpayee they would win the election. That's why they didn't bother to remain in touch with people at the grassroots level. Although, people wanted Vajpayee to be their prime minister, but at the same time wanted to teach their MPs a lesson for their demagoguery.

The same might again happen with the BJP in 2019. Some days back, Ratan Sharda, an eminent columnist on Merinews too opined in his tweet that it's only the BJP which can defeat BJP in 2019. Thus, although Narendra Modi might not face anti-incumbency in 2019, but more than fifty per cent of his MPs are actually facing anti-incumbency because of not remaining in touch with their respective constituencies.

Then we must also realise that in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, BJP had got cent per cent seats in states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Goa; and in UP, a record number of 73 seats out of 80. It is likely to lose some seats in these states due to anti-incumbency of its MPs. But from where will the BJP compensate the loss of these seats? There is no possibility of BJP increasing its seats in Bengal, Odisha and Telangana due to strong presence of regional parties in these states. Also, BJP's presence is not so strong in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

However, one thing that is different from 2004 and will work in BJP's favour is that the current opposition lacks credibility and is divided into groups. In 2004, it was Sonia Gandhi, who deserves credit for the way in which she organised and united the opposition, scripting an emphatic win for the United Progressive Alliance. On the contrary, Rahul Gandhi, who is now at the helm of Congress' affairs has totally failed to rise up to expectations.

Further, I feel that the BJP must think seriously about Haryana and UP. Manoharlal Khattar has proved to be very inefficient and doesn't enjoy much popularity. If he continues till 2019, I don't think BJP will get any seats from Haryana. Similarly, in UP, Yogi Adityanath's performance doesn't appear to be convincing either. Although, I do concede that it's too early to judge him, but in his initial days as CM, he has looked inefficient to govern a large state like UP. While earlier, it was the goons from SP who were ruling, now goons of Hindu Yuva Vahini have taken over Uttar Pradesh. If Yogi fails to control all these problems then I don't think BJP will be able to do a repeat of 2014 in 2019!

I agree that because of Congress's complete disunity, BJP will be at an advantage in MP, but in Rajasthan, Vasundhra Raje is fast losing the trust of people. Although, there are some problems between state Congress leaders Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot, but if Sachin Pilot is given full authority, it will greatly hamper BJP's chances in Rajasthan.

Even if we consider that the NDA would return to power owing to a divided and weak opposition, but then, in every possibility, the BJP could lose seats and it's numbers could dwindle below 272, giving an advantage to its allies, bringing them in a strong position to dictate terms.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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