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What's Swaying Popular Vote in Modi's Favor in 2024 Elections?

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, in a saffron cap, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath, left, in saffron robes, ride in an open vehicle as they campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Ghaziabad, India, Saturday, April 6, 2024.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, in a saffron cap, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath, left, in saffron robes, ride in an open vehicle as they campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Ghaziabad, India, Saturday, April 6, 2024.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.04.2024
India's seven-phase national election kicked off on 19 April with PM Narendra Modi expected to register a third consecutive victory, joining the late Jawaharlal Nehru as the only other Indian leader to record three successive electoral triumphs.
The results of the 2024 Indian national elections are an open and shut case because even a lamp post could win these polls in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's name, two political analysts have said.
The comments of Delhi University professor Sangit Ragi and Vivek Bagri, who is a political strategist at Leadtech, one of India's top political consulting firms, come in the wake of a poll of opinion polls, predicting a landslide victory for the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and his coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The BJP and its allies are tipped to win 372 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian parliament), decimating the Congress-led INDIA bloc which is expected to claim a win in only 122 constituencies.
The figures arrived at after drawing the numbers from nine opinion polls conducted by multiple survey agencies, show that the BJP on its own will better its 2019 tally of 303 seats.
Against this backdrop, Both Ragi and Bagri spotlighted the reasons behind the BJP's imminent victory in the 2024 general elections.

Personal Credibility of Modi

There has been no charge of corruption against PM Modi during his entire two terms as the leader of the country. This becomes even more commendable when one realizes that there's no such allegation on the cabinet either, Ragi remarked.

Pro-Poor Welfare Schemes Run by the Modi Government

Secondly, what's working in favor of Modi and the BJP is the welfare schemes that his government has been running across the nation, the head of the Political Science Department of Delhi's prominent varsity added.
Ragi mentioned that 800 million people belonging to the poorest sections of Indian society are getting free ration at present. More than 500 million people have been linked with the Jan Dhan Yojana (scheme to provide Direct Bank Transfers to the poor), wherein the deprived have deposited approximately $36 billion, while the government has transferred an estimated $407 billion to the poor as part of various programs.
Over and above this, nearly 324 million people have received benefits under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, which provides INR 500,000 health cover to poor families in the South Asian sovereign state.

Biggest Rival of Dynastic Politics

"There are various qualities of Modi but why do I think voters trust him so much because he doesn't have the burden or liability of promoting dynastic politics. The unique combination that Modi has is that he doesn't have to promote any person in the family - financially or politically. Therefore, people believe that he's not doing anything for himself - whatever he's doing, he's doing for the nation," Bagri pointed out.

Transforming Political Campaigns Into People's Movement

Besides that, his commitment to the delivery of governance is visible across the developmental sector. From rail to road to air to sea, the kind of infrastructure growth, his government has delivered in the past decade, makes him an outcome-oriented leader.

"However, Modi's ability to transform a political campaign into a people's movement is something unparalleled in India's history post-independence. For instance, who would have thought that cleanliness would become such a big part of every Indian's life? But once Modi gave the slogan of an open defecation-free India, the nation went on to make great strides and achieved its goal within a short period," the political commentator said.

He expressed that Modi's service towards India is selfless and people do acknowledge it, the impact of which would be visible in the ongoing elections in the country.

Rejuvenator of the Indian Economy

"Modi can claim to be the one who brought India from 11th to 5th position in the world's economy, with the nation now on the cusp of being the third largest in the next few years," Ragi said in a conversation with Sputnik India.

Meeting the Public's Basic Needs

250 million Indians have come out of multidimensional poverty in the last decade - Prime Minister Modi has not only transferred money to the poor but has empowered them.
For example, a street vendor is now connected to the global economy through India's UPI payments system while a small or a medium enterprise owner has been offered loans without any sort of bank guarantee to launch his or her business in the villages of the country.

Fulfillment of Ideological Promises

On the ideological plank, the BJP has fulfilled its core issues of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and partly moving towards a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country following the introduction of a similar law in Uttarakhand. The northern hill state is ruled by the BJP.
Indian Hindus had been waiting for 500 years to have a grand temple of Lord Ram at his birthplace in Uttar Pradesh and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Modi delivered on the promise with the consecration of the shrine taking place in January this year.
"Moreover, the BJP abolished the practice of Triple Talaq (earlier Muslim men used to divorce their spouses by verbally saying Talaq or divorce thrice) and that's why, voters see the party as the one that delivers on its promises, raising its profile amongst the public, particularly the youth," the Delhi University professor asserted.

No Credible Opposition Face

Firstly, there's no credible face in the opposition - from Rahul Gandhi to Arvind Kejriwal to Mamata Banerjee's family, these leaders are being investigated under corruption charges, something which is resonating with the public at large. Furthermore, there's no pan-India leader in the nation today who could be treated as the prime challenger to the leadership of Modi, Ragi highlighted.
If one looks at the recent public ratings of leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, and Rahul Gandhi - there's a stark difference between Modi's and their popularity.
While the acceptability of Modi in India stands at 66 percent, Rahul Gandhi's at 26 percent, and Arvind Kejriwal's is at 3 percent. Also, the remaining leaders have similar approval ratings.
"So I don't think that there's a credible face in Indian politics today that can match the credibility of Modi and that is the biggest USP of the Indian Prime Minister," Ragi stressed.

Rise in India's Global Stature

"The image of India as one of the most powerful nations in the world, not only economically but also in terms of military might, was never like that, at least before Modi took power in 2014. The perception across the country - from north to south to east to west - is that this is the leader India needs to stay with for another 10 years.

People reckon Modi has brought laurels to the nation and therefore, he must be given a third term," the academic underlined.

Recently, Prashant Kishor, one of India's top poll strategists, stated that most BJP MPs would lose elections in their constituencies if Modi was not in the fray as the Prime Minister.
"I completely agree with Kishor. Certainly, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP's election machinery have always been working in tandem, but these factors were also there in 2004 and 2009 when the party suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Congress," he noted.
"It is Narendra Modi who brings this difference. Going by hard data, Modi pulls around 10-15 percent additional votes across constituencies and it is his strength as the Prime Minister that when the candidate is losing the battle, he can sway the vote in his party's favor. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that even a lamp post could win the 2024 polls in Modi's name," Ragi summed up.

How Voters Rate Modi's Performance in the Last 10 Years

Meanwhile, Geeta Kashyap, a widow residing with her sick Mother-in-Law and three children - two sons and a daughter in Dehradun, the capital of the northern hill state of Uttarakhand, which voted last week, gave her thumps up to Modi, because she's getting free ration to feed her family, especially when she is the only bread earner in the group of five.

"My family would have been begging on the roads if not for Modi ji's schemes. We are not only getting grains and pulses but also receiving a Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder for free every month. The PM has been a ray of hope for us since my husband died nearly a decade ago," Kashyap said while sharing her views with Sputnik India.

Piyush Sharma, a Hindu priest from the same city, was proud that Modi fulfilled the centuries-old wish of the country's majority community. Finally, Hindus pray to Lord Ram at his new abode in Ayodhya.
"The Ayodhya Ram Temple wouldn't have been constructed if Modi wasn't the Prime Minister. I firmly believe that 'Modi hai to mumkin hai' (Modi makes it possible)," Sharma maintained.
Down South in Tamil Nadu, where Modi's political outfit has generally struggled to gain much traction among the voters, local political watchers are unanimous that the BJP's vote share is set to rise exponentially, most possibly in double digits.
The BJP polled just 3.6 and 2.3 percent votes in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, respectively in the 2019 general elections.
Coimbatore's Nellai Kannan, who runs a fruit store in the city acknowledges that the perception of the BJP has changed a lot in Tamil Nadu since K. Annamalai took over the reins of the party in the state.
Annamalai, a former top police officer in the esteemed Indian Police Service (IPS) is the BJP candidate from Coimbatore where elections were held on April 19.
Kannan is tipping him to win from Coimbatore as he has cultivated an image of an honest politician in Tamil Nadu.
"Though BJP has been traditionally weak in the state, Annamalai could end BJP's winless streak in Tamil Nadu in this year's elections," the 46-year-old concluded.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters as he arrives for an election campaign rally of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Hyderabad, India, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.04.2024
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