Sunday, May 19, 2024

Season of speculations


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A teasing game is on as to the likely outcome of the present parliamentary polls. The BJP, which aims at a hat-trick victory, seemed to be losing its confidence to win the polls this time with a huge majority, evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s abrupt resort to the anti-Muslim rhetoric and the palpable disinterest among the voters. But, then came a statement from home minister Amit Shah, in West Bengal the other day, that, with polling over for more than half the seats in the Lok Sabha, the BJP has already “won a comfortable majority” to rule the nation for another five years – meaning some 270 out of the polled 380 seats were in the BJP’s kitty by now. Shah had correctly predicted the results in 2019 by saying, “We would win some 300 seats.” This still remained a mystery and led to suspicions that the EVMs were manipulated at the highest level. In this context, his present prediction assumed seriousness.
Yet, political pundits are not convinced about this sweep by the BJP this time. In view of the absence of a wave, and mindful of the low voter turnout for the LS polls overall this time, some analysts were bold enough to say Modi might struggle hard for a majority. In such an event, perceptions are also that the prime minister might turn into a laughing stock as he has aimed at a 400-plus seat-tally for the NDA. A loss of face for Modi might mean that even if the BJP manages to retain power, he loses his commanding position in the party and the RSS would step in to take “corrective steps.” This would mean the projection of a new face for the PM post, sooner or later. It could be Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath or Nagpur’s very own Nitin Gadkari, or even a dark horse. It all depends on the whims of the RSS leadership, but it could be someone who can run the nation with a strong will. A change of face after two terms is not a bad idea. It could happen even if Modi manages to have a comfortable majority this time. The RSS thinks and acts from a long-term perspective, a rare quality it keeps displaying in recent times. Modi’s age factor could only accentuate such a transformation. On the other hand, if the INDIA bloc manages to upstage the NDA, a long-term perspective for the nation could be the first casualty.


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