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FairPoint: 2024 done, narrative set for 2029 LS elections

New Delhi, June 2 : Why does it seem that 2024 is a preparation for 2029? Long before the election campaigning had started for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, it was a foregone conclusion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would remain in office after June 4.

Whether it was the common man or any political analyst or even the leaders themselves, the prediction was very clear. The only question was whether the NDA would achieve the 400-plus target.

The Opposition INDIA bloc also knew that 2024 would not be easy. Their internal tussles and overbearing stalwarts further weighed upon their alliance. Although the bloc had a common banner, each partner mostly worked separately, except on a few occasions in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. They did not have a common agenda and their strategy was more about knee-jerk reactions. Their sole common agenda was attacking PM Modi.

For the BJP, the 400 plus has been a target that involves overcoming challenges in those places where it has been non-existential. In an interview, PM Modi mentioned that the target was set to improve upon the previous one, much like a parent setting a higher percentage goal for a child. To achieve the higher target, the BJP’s hard work areas included states in the South and East, where its vote share has been almost negligible.

The BJP aims to register a presence in newer areas which can be worked upon towards achieving the 2029 goal and beyond it. The vote share increase in states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala will set a path for the party to enter the number game confidently in 2029.

PM Modi, in fact, has already set a target for his party and the country also, which is not just 2029 but 2047. He has revealed that work on the ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project has been ongoing for the last two years.

Why the PM has gone even beyond 2029 and set 2047 as the target is because the country will be celebrating 100 years of Independence in that year. His aim is to make the BJP the natural choice for the people and keep on repeating and improving electoral performance in each and every election.

While PM Modi is clear about the agenda, his party stands solidly behind him. The party leadership at the same time has also been focussing on young leaders. By giving them big responsibilities the party is clear in its agenda of building next-gen leaders. Whether it’s Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Madhya Pradesh CM Mohan Yadav, or Rajasthan CM Bhajanlal Sharma, the party has been ready to experiment. This is something which connects with the country’s youthful population.

As the BJP continues to work on its future prospects, the Congress has been working on the agenda of consolidating its vote bank. In the 2024 elections, it openly wooed the Muslim community by making specific references in its manifesto and played caste politics to divide Hindus.

The Muslim community has been largely fragmented in the past elections, voting as per the local and regional equations. In this election, the community’s vote seems to be consolidating and can impact some areas.

The Muslims constitute 14 per cent of the total population and comprise at least 20 per cent in 86 of 543 Lok Sabha seats. It is this 20 per cent that is being targeted by the Congress. From talking about extending reservations to the Muslims and frequently writing about the situation in Palestine and Gaza, the Congress wants to be seen as the empathiser.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election also saw Congress leader Rahul Gandhi going very aggressive about caste politics, including census. Never has the grand old party indulged in caste politics so openly as is being done by Rahul Gandhi. His grandmother Indira Gandhi and his father Rajiv Gandhi always stayed away from this kind of politics. But perhaps the party strategists thought that playing caste politics could checkmate PM Modi’s Hindu appeal.

During election rallies this time, Rahul Gandhi said that he will remove the Supreme Court-mandated 50 per cent cap on caste-based reservation and increase quota benefits for people from OBCs, Dalit, backward and tribal communities. He even said that caste census will help also find the actual wealth held by the marginalised and could pave the way for redistribution of the wealth.

The next five years may see the Congress working strenuously to gain Muslim support, play caste politics aggressively, and attack PM Modi in various ways.

Five years may seem long but not too far away for those with set goals and agendas. The 2024 Lok Sabha elections have set the agenda and narrative for 2029.

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