India elections: Will June 4 throw a surprise winner?

Friday, 24 May, 2024
Despite what the Opposition narrative claims, election pundits say ‘aayega to Modi hi'. (Photo courtesy: X@narendramodi, X@RahulGandhi)

New Delhi: The Mahakumbh of elections — a seven-phased mega exercise to elect the next Prime Minister of India by approximately 970 million voters — is drawing to a close and speculations are now rife about who will be the ultimate winner.

Amid the narratives floating around, an extraordinary assertion is being made that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) may not come to power on June 4. This narrative in the ongoing psychological warfare has become the talk of the town but there seems to be no factual basis behind this narrative. It is gaining momentum on social media platforms, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his brigade stay optimistic about crossing 400 seats this time.

Is this narrative of the INDIA Bloc taking a lead emerging from private polls the opposition parties have got done, or is it about the feel, vibe and atmosphere that the leaders are sensing on the ground? No one has any idea as of now as the opposition parties continue to disseminate this narrative that the “BJP is in trouble”.

Meanwhile, the BJP-led NDA is seeking a record third term under PM Modi, with a target of winning 400 seats. In an interview with news agency IANS, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that BJP will succeed in its ‘400 paar’ mission. “400 paar hamara sankalp hai, poora karenge” (400 paar is our resolve, we will attain it). The trends after five phases of elections show that we are heading towards the majority mark. Whatever target we have kept, we will achieve that,” he was quoted as saying.

Recently, Home Minister Amit Shah also asserted that the BJP has crossed the halfway mark of 272 after the fifth phase and the next phases will only consolidate the margin of the party’s majority. On the other hand, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge picked holes in the BJP's claims of winning more than 400 seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, saying the ruling party will not even cross the 200-seat mark.

"PM Modi is raising the slogan of ‘400 paar’ everywhere, but from where will they get so many seats? The BJP doesn't have any presence in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. Its chances are 50-50 in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik used to get more seats here, but now the Congress is leading in Odisha as well,” Kharge said during a press conference.

“I think they can’t get more than 200 seats. Our alliance has the numbers to stop them and keep them away from power,” Kharge claimed. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also stated that the BJP-led NDA would not win even 150 seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

However, if we listen to election pundits, one of the reasons why PM Modi has been able to build a favorable public narrative for himself and the BJP is perhaps because he doesn’t believe in what for ages was considered to be a virtue or prudent politics -- 'political correctness and balancing act’.

That, coupled with encouraging the younger lot to “think big and dream big”, makes him different from all his predecessors in making clear decisions, either on issues of governance and national security, building a narrative of his own, or countering the narratives of his political rivals.

Delivery, speed and scale, and fairness and transparency have been his government’s USP. That, in fact, is the key reason why millions of Indians have placed their complete trust in PM Modi. For the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi’s call for 'Abki Baar, 4 June Ko 400 Paar’ is surely an ambitious target, but not a flight of fancy.

The first four phases of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections saw an overall turnout of 66.95 per cent. Voter turnout of 62.2 per cent has been recorded in phase 5 in the General Elections 2024.