Opinion | Which Side Will Win The 2024 Elections: The Modi-led NDA or the INDI Alliance?

The people of the biggest democracy need a powerful opposition, which has been absent since Modi’s rise to power in 2014. Is there enough support throughout India for the INDI Alliance’s idea to present Mallikarjun Kharge as the prime minister nominee in place of the towering two-time incumbent Modi? Maybe the solution is right there in my query. Even worse, as a voter, who will I support if the Opposition coalition enters the election without a prime ministerial candidate?

India’s political market has shrunk since 2014.
One would have assumed that 76 years after independence, in the biggest and most developed democracy on earth, there would be a lot of competition and a congested political landscape, giving people a variety of options for national leadership. A free press, free and fair elections, and a robust and powerful opposition to checkmate and constructively criticize the prevailing regime are, after all, necessary conditions for thriving democracies.

So why do we not have plenty of alternatives when it comes to replacing the Modi-led NDA?

THE 2024 “VARIABLES”
One thing is clear, though: the BJP will be the overwhelming favorite in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The remaining “variables” that determine the result are:

How many seats will the BJP gain over its previous total of 303?
This time, how much will the “Index of Opposition Unity” matter?
There is a strong pro-incumbency sentiment for the current government even if there isn’t the same “Modi-wave” as there was in 2014. However, how much of an “incremental bump-up” can the BJP expect once the Ram Mandir opens in January?

What is the chance that the BJP would spread its influence into other politically significant states like Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, considering that the BJP-led NDA had more allies in 2019 and that the BJP almost reached saturation in the populous Hindi heartland states?

The BJP goes for the “first-time voter,” who is 18 years old and has lived under the present government for ten years prior to reaching voting age. What memories would he have of the years under Congress?

CHOOSING KHARGE AS PM CONTENDER: ANOMALIES

Even while the Congress continues to be the biggest organization and the element holding the coalition bloc together, Modi believes that Gandhi’s prominence both within and outside the Congress is what really dominates the “alternate political space,” not Kharge. When that time comes, would the allies agree to recognize the Gandhis as the alliance’s de facto leaders?

A statesman-like character devoid of administrative experience and pan-India renown cannot inspire or resonate with an aspiring New India, a nation where 65 percent of the population is under 35. Although portraying Kharge as the alliance’s potential PM face may help to deflect accusations of “partway-varied,” Kharge will always be seen as a stand-in for the Gandhis’ authority.

After that, the BJP will go back to its tried-and-true winning strategy to pit Modi against Rahul.

THE STATUS OF THE FIGHT: INDI ALLIANCE VS NDA

While Team Modi is focused on micromanaging every last detail, such as evaluating the readiness of “panna pranks” as cadres or the level of saturation of Viksit Bharat schemes, the Opposition, which has only recently come together, is still unable to agree on leadership, come up with a workable plan for seat-sharing, or even create a common minimum program (CMP).

It is essential that the coalition alliance nominates a leader whose visual recognition, nationally at least, meets up to a super-towering opponent as national elections increasingly become presidential contests.

Despite his experience as a political leader, Kharge remained unknown outside of Congress until 2022, when he was elected president of the GOP. In marketing speak, a few months before elections, I want to know which opposition leader supporters identify as a “top-of-the-mind recall.” Is it Nitish, Kharge, Rahul, or Modi?

Is there “one big idea that could win”? WHAT SETS INDI ALLIANCE APART FROM MESSAGING BY THE BJP?

A collective political organization must provide a winning combination of ideas, principles, and an economic perspective in order to be electorally competitive. The INDI Alliance still has to come to an agreement on a common minimum program (CMP) and create a shared manifesto four months before the elections. A dipstick into the thoughts of a prospective BJP voter would reveal his clarity and conviction of the reasons why the Modi-led BJP mayor would be his preferred choice: India’s expanding economy, the Ram Mandir, the party’s track record of delivering social sector programs, and the country’s gaining international standing.

Compare this to the INDI Alliance’s unclear messaging:

nomination of a weak PM contender who is now unremembered throughout India.

The alliance may even declare an independent candidate for the post-election by consensus if it has the necessary number of members.

What counter-economic philosophy do they espouse, and how do they address charges of “inflation/joblessness”?

With just the seat-sharing mechanism remaining to be determined, the alliance is running out of time to attempt to set up efficient bipolar contests in as many seats as feasible. Delhi, West Bengal, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh will be the alliance’s four bargaining roadblocks.

Historically, anti-Modi campaigns that were negative have always ended up being positive ones.

The tired and overdone assaults of “save the Constitution,” “save democracy,” “secularism,” “rerun the Bharat Jodo Yatras,” or “repeated allegations of crony capitalism,” etc., have run out of steam. Someone who voted for the BJP in 2019 will not be persuaded to switch to a different party in the next election by a campaign focused only on these drawbacks.

“MODI’S GUARANTEES” AND HINDUTVA REFRAIN WILL BE THE BJP’S REGULAR THEMES.

Based on the track record of delivering on the flagship initiatives, the BJP has focused on the catchy phrase “Modi ki Guarantee.” As a result, PM Modi is expected to sound the election horn for the Lok Sabha from the Ram Mandir, giving the BJP an early lead in the polls.

I anticipate that Prime Minister Modi will make the most of the somber occasion by giving one of his most moving speeches, seizing the opportunity to give the celebrations momentum as every Indian house and town participates in unison with jubilant enthusiasm.

PRO-INCUMBENCY MAY GROW AFTER RAM MANDIR’S CONSECRATION

If this is the case, it puts the Opposition on the defensive politically, particularly if their message is disorganized and ineffective with just a few months till the general elections to connect with the ‘anti-Modi’ people they want to win over. Based on the electoral results of 2014 and 2019, the patterns suggest that a “one-party dominant system” may crystallize and that stability is becoming more and more preferred over diverse coalitions that join together before elections only to fall apart later on due to competing interests.