2024 elections: Bharat at a Crossroads or a Confident Democracy

There is an extremely uncertain future for the I.N.D.I. Alliance in 2024, and NDA has the upper hand

There is an extremely uncertain future for the I.N.D.I. Alliance in 2024, and NDA has the upper hand
There is an extremely uncertain future for the I.N.D.I. Alliance in 2024, and NDA has the upper hand

Electoral success for Bharat and the Opposition depends on 2024

The parliamentary election cycle in Bharat (that is India) generally repeats every five years. The 2024 election fever and fervor among the political parties has been going on for nearly six months. However, it will now gain renewed energy, momentum, and scale following the announcement of polling dates by the Election Commission. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC), a constitutional provision, immediately went into effect. The MCC prohibits the announcement of any new policies and/ or investments by the current government for any undue advantage.

We explore the following question. Is Bharat, the world’s largest democracy with nearly 978 million registered voters in 2024, at a Crossroads or Confident about who will lead the country for the next five years?

The colossal magnitude of Bharat’s election can be appreciated by noting that 978 million eligible voters are bigger than the population of Europe altogether (~ 742 million). Another way to put it in perspective is that the combined population of North and South America is about one billion.

At a Crossroads

A highly diverse and the most populated Bharat has a numerous-party (thousands of regional and national) political system. The relatively smaller and regional parties are known to form alliances with larger ones. Not too long ago, the anticipation of the 2024 elections saw the birth of Congress-led I.N.D.I.A. (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance). It was solely aimed at defeating BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) which has been at the helm of Bharat’s strong democracy and development since 2014. It seems that the fear of losing against the populist and nationalist Modi brought the opposition to a loose alliance with no apparent leader and vision for the nation.

The fragmented I.N.D.I.A. (each letter separated by a dot) has been at a crossroads ever since it was formed. It was an alliance of convenience of dozens of disparate and ideologically distant parties with no one to lead or to be led. Most leaders in the alliance focused on the family member(s) elected (Parivarwad) and if not family, one of their cronies from the same caste (Jatiwad) get ahead.

Consequently, if anyone is facing challenges and is at a crossroads, it is none other than the I.N.D.I. Alliance, a chosen name by NDA and media, not to mix it with India which is Bharat. I.N.D.I. Alliance is already falling apart. For example, Congress’s Rahul was competing with TMC’s Mamata and Bihar’s Nitin for the leadership role. Frankly, none has the stature and/ or experience. Nitish has already left and returned to NDA. Mamata refused to give up any parliamentary seats to Congress in her State. Congress is facing similar challenges in the U.P. with the Akhilesh-led S.P. party.

Clearly, I.N.D.I. Alliance is at a crossroads with an extremely uncertain future for its disparate political parties in 2024. Frankly, no one in the I.N.D.I. Alliance comes even close in stature, experience, popularity, global presence, willpower, stamina, confidence, strategic vision, and national development to the undisputed Modi leadership.

The Confident Bharat

During my Bharat visit for the last six weeks, I have observed Modi traveling around the country with his tone and tenor getting ever more confident. His slogans like, “Modi ki Guarantee”, “Ab ki Bar, NDA Sarkar: Char so Par” (this time NDA government with more than 400 seats), and “Mera Bharat: Mera Parivar” (Bharat my family) show his conviction and confidence. It is incredible how Modi is continuously campaigning across multiple states each day and holding miles-long roadshows to display his political strength and stamina.

Modi is not leaving any stone unturned or sparing any part of Bharat untouched, particularly, places where BJP had little or no presence in 2019. He is putting his extraordinary charisma and energy to work in his favor in the Southern states. Modi’s vision and confidence for his victory are equally matched by peoples’ undivided confidence in him. The committed BJP workers at the grassroots are reaching out to every household. His social media team has continued to use digital tools in raising awareness at the grassroots about Modi-led developments on the ground since 2014.

Modi is miles and years ahead of any party leader in making people dream of DEVELOPED BHARAT in 2047, let alone 2024. A 30-year veteran Secretary in the Government of India shared with me that he has never seen anyone like Modi who dares them dream big with no resource constraints. Earlier, the thinking used to be short term with resources always an impediment. Modi is very confident for his third term (Modi 3.0) and making Bharat the third largest economy. He is already engaged in developing a road map of accomplishments in the first 100 days.

As Bharat embarks on the colossal and complex election process, the question is not who but how many parliamentary seats will go to the BJP and its NDA. The claims and counterclaims by BJP/ NDA and I.N.D.I. Alliance for majority votes are abound. However, confident Modi’s team has calculated and projected wisely. They are explicitly pleading for 370 seats for the BJP alone to make the ‘unreal’ a reality, i.e., the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.

The remaining 50-70 seats to BJP allies will cross the benchmark of ‘Char so Par’ (>400) out of 543 seats up for grabs in 2024. The I.N.D.I. Alliance does not have any such math, vision, and/ or agenda to win voters’ confidence. Ironically, the oldest Congress party appears to be in disarray for the right candidates for Amethi and Rae Bareilly. Amethi in 2019 went to BJP with a huge loss of face to Congress’s crown prince Rahul Gandhi. This time, his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has held Rae Bareilly for decades, is not contesting for parliament. I surmise that she made the right choice rather than losing Rae Bareilly to BJP/ NDA.

Generally, I don’t believe in forecasts but judging from the strong public confidence in Modi, June 4, 2024, will likely cross the threshold of 400 seats in favor of BJP/ NDA. The alternative is unthinkable and perhaps deadly for Bharat’s development and democracy.

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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Vijendra Agarwal, born in village Kota (Saharanpur, U.P), left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee. He is currently a member of project GNARUS, a syndicated service and writers collective. He and his wife co-founded a US-based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward better education and health of children, especially empowerment of girls. Vidya Gyan is a calling to give back to rural communities and keeping connected to his roots which gave him so much more. His passion for writing includes the interface of policy, politics, and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement.

Formerly, a researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he has widely travelled and came to the US in 1978. He was a faculty and academic administrator in several different universities in PA, TX, NJ, MN, WI, and NY, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during the Clinton administration.
Vijendra Agarwal


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