In October 2013, several months before the Lok Sabha elections, I wrote on this page that the Indians had already decided that Narendra Modi would be the next prime minister. Now, with the next survey of Lok Sabha two years away, I will make another prediction. Most Indians believe that Modi will win the next election and, therefore, a second term as prime minister.
This is not an extravagant statement. Opinion polls from a number of research agencies published over the past week suggest that there is no anti-default factor. Modi is probably even more popular today than it was when he was first elected. The latest poll suggests that if a general election were held now, the NDA would get 48% of the votes (much more than in 2014) and more than 300 seats.
In the two years before the elections, can the Opposition reverse this state of affairs? In theory, yes. But in practice, it is difficult to defeat Modi. There are several reasons for this, many of which the Opposition does not see or do not recognize.
The first and most important is leadership. It is not an accident that Modi rose to national prominence in 2011/12 at a time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appeared especially ineffective and uninspiring. Sonia Gandhi was ill and had gone abroad for treatment. And it was not clear what the role of Rahul Gandhi was.
In the five years since then no one has seemed a credible challenger to Modi’s charisma and aura of strength. The mood of the public is anti-dynasty (in the elections after the elections, leaders of all parties have been defeated), no new leaders have emerged and the only politician who offered a new alternative – Arvind Kejriwal – has seen fade His aura.
The second reason for Modi’s continued popularity is that he has not betrayed the central theme of his appeal: Anticorruption. Few people believe that the prime minister is personally greedy and there has not been a significant corruption scandal during the life of his government.
But the main problem of the opposition is that Modi is a much smarter politician than his rivals. Now we forget how different it is now a prime minister that took possession. Then, he wanted to be an international statesman, attempted to make peace with Pakistan and moved legislation that benefited the Indian industry.
That kind of prime minister was easier to attack. The best moments of Rahul Gandhi came when he portrayed the government as a “boot-suit ki sarkar.” Others scoffed at Modi’s global ambitions. None of his trips abroad, his meetings with the Chinese and US presidents, and his proposals to Nawaz Sharif.
But quickly and skillfully, almost without the Opposition realizing, Modi has reformulated his first ministry. No longer bothered to cultivate the IIC, entrepreneurs who once seemed close have quietly moved away, foreign policy ambitions have been narrowed and their focus has shifted from their original middle class core to India’s poor … .