Likely Scenario in India After 2024 Election

If the Congress party were to emerge to challenge BJP in the 2029 election, it has to undergo considerable structural change and procedural change in its style of functioning.

5 mins read
Lok Sabha election 2024

With the announcement of the poll schedule for the 2024 parliamentary election, there is palpable excitement and expectation among the countrymen about the shape of things to happen in India after the results of the election are announced. There is also speculation abroad about the future course of developments in India.

With around 970 million people in India registered as voters, the forthcoming 2024 election would go down in history as the largest democratic election exercise in the world. It is expected that the polls would be conducted with a reasonable level of fairness, dignity, and with people’s enthusiastic participation, as the process of conducting elections in India over the last several decades has attained a certain level of perfection.

Theme for the 2024 election

What is unique about this forthcoming election in India is that the poll theme has been focused on one person, namely Mr. Narendra Modi, who has been the Prime Minister for the last ten years. Never before has this happened to such an extent in the national elections in India when an individual leader has become the focal point for the people to vote for him or vote against him.

Mr. Modi’s achievements and priorities:

There is no serious disagreement among independent and discerning observers that under Mr. Modi’s leadership, there have been considerable achievements in the industrial and economic fronts in India.

At the same time, no one can miss the fact that there have been visible efforts by Mr. Modi to prioritize historical traditions, culture, and the value system of the Hindu religion. With more than 75% of the Indian population being Hindus, there is broad approval of Mr. Modi’s focus on further highlighting the ethos and practices of the Hindu religion.

Commitment to secular principles

Of course, the concept of secularism is now subjected to closer scrutiny in India.

Modi’s leadership to show himself as a Hindu at every opportunity has been questioned by opposition political parties, calling him non-secular. The opening of the Ram temple in Ayodhya with much fanfare and with Mr. Modi personally acting as chief priest, and his participation in the inauguration of a massive temple in the UAE have been criticized by some opposition parties in India, and they have termed such acts as an indication of Mr. Modi’s lack of commitment to the principles of secularism.

However, informed opinion is that secularism does not prevent anyone, whether he is Prime Minister or anyone else, from being a follower of a particular religion and exhibiting his religious fervor. At the same time, it is imperative, according to the principles of secularism, that no one should be critical of other religions. On the basis of such a principle, Mr. Modi is committed to the principles of secularism, as he has also visited churches and mosques on certain occasions. The criticism of the opposition parties that Mr. Modi is not secular is unfair and condemnable.

On the other hand, several political parties in India prioritize the importance of minority religions as part of a strategy for strengthening their vote bank. There have been efforts to whip up anger among the minority community against the Modi government.

Furthermore, sections of the leadership of two minority communities in India, namely Islam and Christianity, have been targeting to expand their religions’ population strength by encouraging conversions from other religions. This conversion practice has been checked to some extent by the Modi government, and perhaps, this has upset the leadership of sections of minority communities, who directly or indirectly are asking the people belonging to their religion to vote against Mr. Modi.

Whatever the term secular may mean, India is no less secular under Mr. Modi’s leadership than any other country in the world today, as the rights of minority religions have not been curtailed.

What impact during the next five years?

Several pre-election surveys have predicted an overwhelming majority for Mr. Modi in the forthcoming election, and in all probability, Mr. Modi would stay as the Prime Minister of India until 2029.

The question is what would be the impact of Mr. Modi’s leadership in India during the next five years.

Mr. Modi, who seems to be in the peak of health despite his age of 73 and is known to work for around 18 hours a day, is likely to continue the same policies, programs, and priorities that he followed and practiced during the last ten years.

There is likely to be spectacular economic and industrial growth in the next five years in India under Mr. Modi’s stewardship. There would be greater stress on utilizing and adopting modern technology practices and bringing the benefits of such technologies to the Indian masses. With Mr. Modi’s successful outreach with other countries, technological cooperation with advanced countries would be a win-win situation for India as well as the advanced countries.

What personal priorities?

As a person, Mr. Modi has no personal interests to target or family interests to boast about. Perhaps, he has a sense of personal ego like anyone else, and he would desire to be known in the future history of India as one of the most dynamic Prime Ministers that India had with national pride and a global outlook.

Mr. Modi would continue to protect his image as a strong Prime Minister with national pride, patriotic fervor, courage of conviction, and commitment to the national cause. To his level best, he would try to maintain his popular image in the country at every opportunity and retain his strong popular base in India.

Today, it is well recognized that no political leader in the opposition parties in India matches Mr. Modi on any scale. Mr. Modi would try to keep this scale gap between him and other political leaders, both in the opposition ranks as well as in his own political party. In other words, Modi would continue to aim to remain “bigger” than his own political party BJP and its social wing RSS and all other political parties in India.

Concerns of the critics:

Even the sworn critics of Mr. Modi would agree with the above statements and views in their hearts of hearts.

The critics would still crave for political leadership in India that could challenge Mr. Modi and replace Mr. Modi’s party BJP during the 2029 national election, as is a common practice in a healthy democratic country.

What future for the Congress party?

Apart from BJP, the Congress party is the only other significant national party in India. Unfortunately, the Congress party has gained an image over the years as a party controlled by the Sonia family, unlike the BJP, which is certainly not family-controlled or dynastically controlled.

If the Congress party were to emerge to challenge BJP in the 2029 election, it has to undergo considerable structural change and procedural change in its style of functioning.

The basic requirement is that the Congress party should be able to get rid of the control of the Sonia family in letter and spirit, as such control has let down the party at the national level and has given a negative image as a family-controlled party.

The Congress party needs new leadership, and one doubts whether the Sonia family would allow this to happen.

In any case, with the drubbing that the Congress party is likely to receive in the 2024 election, there is bound to be some upheaval at different levels in the party, and Sonia’s leadership would be challenged. There is bound to be internal turmoil in the Congress party in the next one or two years, and perhaps, something good will happen for the Congress party.

The time for introspection and new leadership of the Congress party would emerge. With Mr. Modi unlikely to continue in the political sphere after the year 2029, the rejuvenated Congress party could come on its own and even attain power in the 2029 parliamentary election if the emerging leadership of the party can see the writing on the wall.

Whither communist parties in India?

The communist parties in India, which were once considered a national-level party, appear to have lost their sheen over the years, which is unfortunate. This has happened due to the ego of the leaders of the party, which has resulted in the party being split. Today, communist parties are conspicuous by a lack of a sense of direction. Alignment with other political parties with no common principles has eroded the party’s image as a principled party.

The communist party too can emerge as a significant counterforce for Mr. Modi’s leadership if it can benefit from newer leadership which can reorient the priorities based on the current scenario, without sacrificing the basic philosophy of fighting against oppression and inequalities. It has to necessarily get rid of its obsession with the trade union movement, as it has largely now become irrelevant.

There is a lot of scope, and all that is required is that fresh ideas have to come from people who can shape policies without being bogged down with outdated strategies.

N.S.Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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