The winner is the king… There is no big challenge in Modi 3.0, know how this bubble of the opposition will burst

Ananya Shroff
6 Min Read
The winner is the king… There is no big challenge in Modi 3.0, know how this bubble of the opposition will burst

Author: Swaminathan S Anklesaria Iyer
The liberals' euphoria over the BJP's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections may last for a week. After that, they will have to face the adage 'jo jeeta wahi sikandar' (the winner is stronger). In boxing terms, nobody remembers who got hurt in the eye, only who won. The margin of victory does not matter. The fact is that right now, there is no serious threat to Narendra Modi's prime ministership. One liberal has already predicted that the alliance will break in two years. This is because the BJP needs allies like Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and Nitish Kumar (JDU) to stay in power. This is a kind of hopeful thinking. Naidu and Nitish are considered political opportunists, who sometimes ally with the BJP and sometimes leave it. They seem to have no ideological dilemma, only self-interest.

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Nitish-Naidu very important in the new government

So, as of today, will joining India Bloc benefit any of them? It is unlikely, and even if it does, India Bloc will still fall short of a majority. Even if it manages to get a few more seats from smaller parties, such an alliance would be very weak and easy to break. The BJP is adept at coaxing turncoats to join it and securing a majority. Look at its past record. In the 2018 Karnataka Assembly election, it fell short of a majority and a JDU-Congress government was formed. But the BJP 'persuaded' 17 MLAs of the ruling coalition to resign. It then became the single largest party and came to power.

BJP is far from majority, still not in tension

There was talk at the time that a lot of money could be involved. Something similar happened in Maharashtra after the 2019 assembly elections. The Shiv Sena unexpectedly broke its alliance with the BJP and formed a government with the Congress and the NCP. But then the BJP 'persuaded' most of the Shiv Sena MLAs to defect. Those who defected were said to have benefited from alleged immunity from the charges against them. Will losing a few seats change the BJP's political style? Despite the wishes of liberals, this is unlikely to happen. After all, the BJP team is working in full swing. Non-bailable laws like the UAPA, which the opposition and society claim is being used as a weapon, can still be used.

BJP will move forward on this plan

Don't expect Nitish Kumar or Naidu to object to such a strategy. In fact, they may welcome the use of such methods against their local opponents. Both have their own agendas that are against the BJP. Some analysts believe this could lead to differences with the BJP. Nitish wants a national caste census to ensure reservation for the most backward castes, which the BJP opposes. In Andhra Pradesh, Naidu had earlier brought in a law giving a 4 per cent quota in government jobs to backward Muslims. This goes against the belief system of the BJP, which opposes reservation based on Islam or any other religion. Will this cause a rift? Again, unlikely.

He has been seen in a different avatar earlier as well

The BJP is not as ideologically rigid and Hindutva-obsessed as some want to portray it. Their stance can be opportunistic and flexible when needed. On an issue close to the heart of Hindutva, such as banning cow slaughter, the BJP has taken a different stand in some states. The party refrained from such action when it came to power in Goa and some northeastern states, where there is a significant Christian, beef-eating population. The reason given was that voters would be unhappy with a ban on beef supply, which is as non-ideological as any other reason. In a recent column, I wrote about how the Yogi government reined in cow vigilantes in UP and got buffalo meat exports back on track.

Minor changes will be seen in Modi 3.0

In terms of differences with allies, Nitish Kumar has already conducted a caste census in his state and ordered reservations for extremely backward castes supported by the local BJP. Naidu has joined hands with the BJP despite his differences and will be allowed to keep his 4 per cent Muslim quota. These issues pose no threat to the BJP-led coalition. Hence, the BJP-led NDA government is expected to last the full five years, unless Modi himself feels he is on strong enough ground to call mid-term elections and get an absolute majority on his own. Expect only minor changes in political style during this time despite the reliance on allies. Media pluralism may get a boost as the BJP now knows it was misled about its popularity by some sycophants. Expect occasional stirrings in communalism. However, politics will not change much during this time.

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