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In 2019, Narendra Modi versus who?
A day before yesterday, there was a News Hour debate on TimesNow on the subject of #Narendra Modi versus Who? All the participants (representatives from TMC, Left, BSP, BJP, SP, JDU, RJD etc) didn't give any direct answer rather indulged in rhetoric. Thus I find it useful to do an analysis on who could be projected as an alternative to Narendra Modi.

Over the years with BJP growing up and expanding its footprints pan India, Congress has started ceding its space to BJP and other regional parties. The rise of regional parties is in fact at the cost of Congress party. The process started after Jai Prakash Narayan formed Janata Dal to oppose Indira Gandhi.

The Congress got majority during 1980 and 1984. But after that it never got majority although PV Narasimha Rao managed to run a minority government from 1991 to 1996. After that the managed to rule the country heading a coalition from 2004 to 2014.

In 2014, it won just 44 seats and didn't get the post of Leader of Opposition. After 2014, it started losing states after states either to the BJP or Communist. The only success it got was in Bihar elections but there also it's a junior most partner in Mahagathbandhan and number four party in Bihar assembly.

One should not forget that it was Sonia Gandhi who revived the Congress from downfall. In 2004, the Vajpayee government unexpectedly lost the elections whereas Sonia Gandhi made a coalition with Left and other parties to form UPA's government at the Centre. If for some time we forget the scams that took place during the UPA-1 tenure, which were exposed during the UPA-2 tenure, then one must agree that people appreciated UPA-1 and rewarded the Congress with more seats to continue at the Centre.

During UPA-2, Rahul Gandhi was projected as the next supremo of the Congress party and future Prime Minister. There was a direct contest between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi in 2014 general elections although Arvind Kejriwal too was seen as another credible national face. But Narendra Modi won the public support whereas both Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal were rejected out rightly.

However, benefit of doubt was given to both Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi. People called it an immature politics of Kejriwal whereas Rahul Gandhi was said to be punished for Manmohan Singh-led ineffective and scam laden UPA-2 government. Kejriwal won the Delhi elections whereas the Congress started losing the states and drawing a blank in Delhi assembly. Thus Kejriwal suddenly got better ratings than Rahul Gandhi.

There were some desperate attempts by Rahul Gandhi to be identified as an alternative to Narendra Modi but he failed miserably because other Opposition parties didn't come behind him. Even post demonetisation, Rahul attempted to lead an anti-Modi group but that too appears to be a failed attempt though almost all the political parties are against demonetisation, but not interested to be led by Rahul Gandhi. This proves that Rahul Gandhi can't be an alternative to Narendra Modi.

Aam Aadmi Party chief, Arvind Kejriwal has also lost a considerable amount of credibility over the last couple of years. His confrontational politics raised more questions about his leadership. The mysterious donor list in fact seriously dented his credibility. It's a fact that almost all political parties have fraudulent donations. But in the case of Kejriwal, the issue is different.

Kejriwal entered in to politics promising a new type of politics i.e. politics with transparency. Thus he lost the face due to question mark over the donations to his party. Thus due to a very nominal presence of AAP in the national polity presently, he can hardly be seen as an alternative to Narendra Modi.

Jayalalithaa's demise has put AIADMK in auto pilot mode right now and no leader has got stature to stand against Narendra Modi. Mamata Banerjee, beyond any doubt, has established herself as mightiest leader of West Bengal. But to become alternative of Narendra Modi, she requires all the opposition parties to rally behind her. Except APP, no other opposition party is interested to rally behind her especially the Left and Congress. Mamata can't accept leadership of either the Congress or Left.

The same thing is with Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati. Neither Mulayam Singh Yadav is interested in losing his clout as a national leader nor Akhilesh Yadav is interested to work under Rahul Gandhi. Mayawati is in very precarious condition at the moment. She is not ready to accept others' leadership nor others are ready to accept her as their leader.

Nitish Kumar could have been an alternative due to his stature and persona. But he has allied with Lalu Yadav in Bihar. Lalu Yadav, although has accepted him as Chief Minister, but will not allow him to become a national leader. In any case Lalu Yadav's party has more seats than JD(U).

On the other hand there is some problem within JD(U). Nitish Kumar welcomed demonetisation step whereas Sharad Yadav participated in Mamata Banerjee's rally to demand roll back of the same. Till now no JD(U) spokesperson is able to expalin why there were two stands within the party.

Let me remind a historical fact that Sharad Yadav was Chief of the original JD(U) with which Nitish Kumar's Samata Party merged. At the moment, Sharad Yadav is no more JD(U) president and there could be some differences between old JD(U) and old Samata cadres.

Naveen Patnaik is not interested in national politics. However, if required he will support BJP than being part of other coalitions.

This leaves with no credible alternative to Narendra Modi at the moment. Sonia Gandhi is not considered as it appears that she will retire from the active politics very soon. In my opinion she could have offered robust alternative to Narendra Modi as other political parties could have rallied behind her.

Thus questions like, who could be the alternative to Narendra Modi in 2019 or will Narendra Modi continue to enjoy the status like Nehru enjoyed during his rule, remain unanswered for the time being.

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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