Chance and Challenges
Since 2014, this is the first time that opposition heavy-weights such as Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav have formed an alliance to take BJP head-on in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The general election in India is a massive activity that allows hundreds of millions of eligible voters to elect members of the Lok Sabha from 543 constituencies throughout the country. The result of this colossal showdown has the ability to alter the entire political discourse of the country. Its effects reverberate not only in India but across the sub-continent and beyond.
The next general elections scheduled for April-May 2024, will be no different. In fact, it will be a tooth-and-nail contest between the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the collective opposition represented by the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).
INDIA is an ambitious enterprise which seeks to represent the aspirations of the common Indian. The Indian National Congress party forms the core of the INDIA alliance flanked by such big names as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Janata Dal, and Shiv Sena, among others.
The Aam Aadmi Party or AAP was founded in 2012 by Arvind Kejriwal in the aftermath of the anti-corruption movement of 2011. AAP currently rules the state of Punjab and also governs the Delhi Union Territory. Recently, in April 2023, the Election Commission of India granted the AAP with the National Party status.
The inclusion of AAP within INDIA is a significant positive addition to the alliance. AAP enjoys a massive following among youth, and is deemed as a non-corrupt progressive party. AAP’s massive appeal is all the more important in the 2024 elections because the majority of the Indian electorate is young and better-informed today than at any time in the past. Economic inclusion, healthcare and employment are core issues at the center of public debate among the youth. These issues will most likely become decisive factors in the next general elections.
India is a very diverse country in terms of language, religion and culture. This diversity paves the way for regional political candidates to play a very important role in central government formation. One of Narendra Modi’s fundamental political strengths is his country-wide appeal which leaves little room for regional political maneuvers by local actors. While INDIA has no candidate who can match Modi’s pan-India appeal, the inclusion of regional parties within the alliance has allowed it to transcend the country’s language and cultural divides.
Narendra Modi has been been at the helm of Indian politics for more than a decade. He is a a great orator, a seasoned politician and an experienced statesman. He was first elected as prime minister in 2014 riding the remarkable economic success of his native state, Gujarat. The Indian electorate believed that Modi will be able to emulate the same economic success in the entire country. Modi himself reinforced this belief when he promised ‘’ache din’’ or good days for every Indian. His victory in the next elections in 2019 solidified his position as the most popular Indian leader owing – at least partly – to BJP’s highly efficient propaganda machine, and his nationalist credentials that hold massive appeal for India’s majority Hindus. Throughout his tenure, Modi has continuously engaged with important world leaders, enhancing his image among his countrymen.
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