The Modi government still has an upper edge if the Lok Sabha polls are conducted today. The survey shows NDA will win 274 seats, while the UPA will improve its tally and get 164 seats.
Five years after the “Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar” slogan took the country by storm, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has come up with a new slogan as it braces itself to face the Lok Sabha election next year. According to the reports, the BJP is gearing up to celebrate the four years of Modi government. Reportedly, the party president Amit Shah will be conducting series of media interactions between May 25 to May 28 highlighting various initiatives and schemes launched by the Modi government. The slogan for the upcoming campaign will be “2019 Me Phir Ek Baar, Modi Sarkar” and the theme will be “Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas”.
While the election mood grips the nation, let us have a look back at how has BJP fared in the four years of Modi government.
- Economic Policies:
The Narendra Modi government introduced several economic policies. However, the two policies that had a massive impact on the nation’s economy are -Demonetization and GST. While Demonetization was introduced with good intention, even the experts agree that the implementation of the policy went horribly wrong. The informal sector had to bear the most of the losses with many people working in the unorganized sector even losing their jobs.
GST is one of the most significant reforms undertaken by the Modi government. Introduced in the July 2017, the GST brought the “One Nation, One tax” to reality. However, it received a massive blowback from the traders’ community, especially from traders dominated Gujarat which is also PM Modi’s home turf. The opposition parties also opposed the four-tier structure of GST.
One of the major headaches of the Modi-led NDA government is the Burden of Non-Performing Assets. According to the RBI data, the gross NPA as of June 2014 was 2.4 lakh crore. However, it increased to Rs 7.8 lakh crore in the last four years. The government received a backlash for its dereliction of duty in cases like PNB scam by Nirav Modi and bringing back loan defaulter Vijay Mallya.
- Social Policies:
In its first four years, the Modi government introduced several social policies like the Mudra yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana and initiatives like Swaccha Bharat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao. While the schemes like Ujjwala Yojana and Electrification of villages have seen steady progress, many of the schemes seemed to have fallen flat. A recent report by a parliamentary standing committee revealed that the Modi government has spent hardly any of the allocated money on the government’s flagship project.
The report by the Parliamentary standing committee on urban development said that the government spent average 21 percent on the top six infrastructure initiatives out of the allocated $5.6 billion i.e. $1.2 billion. Apart from government’s “Smart Cities” program, other projects including affordable housing, sewage, and drainage facilities, used less than 30 percent of the allocated funds.
One of the most ambitious programs of Modi government- “Namami Gange”: a project to clean up the Ganga was kickstarted with the allocation of Rs 2,037 crores for this purpose. Four years on, the project has turned out to be one of the biggest failures of the Modi government. In December last year, CAG rapped the Modi government saying the absence of a long-term plan and the lack of pollution abatement works are hampering the rejuvenation of the Ganga. The NGT in a harsh criticism said, “Not a single drop of river Ganga has been cleaned so far,” adding that the project only “wasted public money” in the name of the cleaning project.
- What the Public Mood says:
On the backdrop of Modi government completing four years, ABP News and CSDS conducted a Mood of the Nation survey. The findings of the survey can be worrisome for the ruling government. The survey shows a difficult path for the BJP in the high-stakes states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which will go for polling later this year. The support base for NDA on a national level has also come down.
According to the Survey, 47% of the people interviewed were unlikely to give a second term to the Modi government. However, 39% were of the opinion that the government deserves another chance in 2019. The Survey has shown a hope for resurging of Congress in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh-both states ruled by BJP. In Madhya Pradesh, the anti-incumbency against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government is at its peak. According to the Survey, the Congress will take lead over BJP with 49% vote share while BJP will lag behind by 15% vote share at only 34%. Others are likely to get 17% of the vote share. With farmer’s and Dalit anger against the BJP government building up, there are strong chances that the 15 years old BJP rule may come to an end.
In Rajasthan, where the BJP lost two crucial by-polls of Ajmer and Alwar a few months ago, the Congress shows better recovery. The Survey predicts that Congress may get 44% vote share as against 39% vote share for the BJP. Others will get 17% vote share. While BJP sees 1% downward swing in vote share, the Congress shows a huge jump of 6% vote share from that of earlier elections. In Maharashtra, though NDA- 48% is ahead of UPA- 40%, it needs its scorned ally, Shiv Sena, to achieve the vote share.
Along with the NDA, PM Modi’s popularity has also taken a hit. While Modi’s popularity stands at 34% at present, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s popularity rating has increased from 16% in 2014 to 24% in 2018.
However, the NDA still has an upper edge if the Lok Sabha polls are conducted today. The survey shows NDA will win 274 seats, while the UPA will improve its tally and get 164 seats. Compared to the 2014 tally of NDA i.e. 343, the NDA seems to get 69 seats less than the previous election, while UPA seems to improve on 104 seats.
The survey proves the equation presented by HW News right. In the article titled “Is opposition’s display of strength a trailer of 2019?”, we pointed out that if the opposition is united against the NDA, then the tally may go up to 141 which comes close to the survey result of CSDS. However, the number is still not enough to take on the NDA. On the other hand, there is no denying that the number may go up if Congress/Opposition alliance wins the subsequent assembly elections. If the opposition plays up well on the issues like GST, Fuel price Hike etc, it will still be able to turn the tide against BJP.
The BJP, however, will want to rely on the campaigning by PM Modi himself. As proven in Karnataka, the last-minute campaigning by the Prime Minister has favored BJP. So even for the 2019 campaign, the focus will be on Prime Minister Modi.