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Thursday, June 13, 2024
Thursday June 13, 2024
Thursday June 13, 2024

Prashant Kishor highlights missed opportunities for Congress-led opposition against BJP since 2014

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Political strategist points to key moments of BJP’s vulnerability that opposition failed to capitalize on ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2024

As India gears up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, political strategist Prashant Kishor identified three major opportunities the Congress-led opposition missed since 2014 to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). According to Kishor, these missed opportunities have left the opposition in a weaker position.

Kishor highlighted the period between 2015 and 2016 as the first missed opportunity. During this time, the BJP suffered several setbacks in state assembly elections. “In January 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party won the Delhi assembly elections. The BJP lost the Bihar elections in November of the same year,” Kishor explained. He added that the BJP only managed to win Assam in 2016 and that too in an alliance. “Those 15-18 months were a significant chance for the Congress-led opposition to bounce back,” he told NDTV.

The second missed opportunity, according to Kishor, followed the 2016 demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 banknotes. The move by the Modi government caused widespread economic and rural distress. Despite this, the BJP secured a win in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. However, Kishor pointed out the significant protests by the Patels in Gujarat and in Maharashtra during this period. “The Congress performed well in the November 2017 Gujarat polls, but the BJP narrowly won by 15 seats. The opposition could have capitalized on this period of turbulence, especially as the BJP lost Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh in the following months,” he stated.

Kishor identified the third missed opportunity in June 2021, after the second Covid-19 wave. During this time, there was a notable dip in Prime Minister Modi’s approval ratings, and the BJP lost the West Bengal state elections. “This period was another critical moment for the opposition. However, despite forming the INDIA bloc in June 2023, the opposition failed to build momentum. There was a sense of potential, but no significant movement occurred,” Kishor commented.

In addition to these key periods, Kishor also mentioned the Congress’s missteps in late 2023. “The Congress predicted victories in five assembly elections in November-December 2023, but these did not materialize. They believed the INDIA bloc would start the Lok Sabha elections from a position of strength, but this miscalculation cost them crucial months while the BJP had already started campaigning,” he explained. Kishor noted that following the Ram Mandir event, the opposition appeared to lose focus until it was too late to mount an effective challenge.

With the voting in 49 seats during the phase 5 elections on May 20, 428 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats have already been contested. The final two phases will occur on May 25 and June 1, with the counting of votes scheduled for June 4. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), seeking a record third term under Prime Minister Modi, aims to win 400 seats. They face the Congress-led opposition under the INDIA bloc.

Prashant Kishor, known for his political insights and strategic acumen, predicted that the BJP would return to power in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. His analysis emphasizes the importance of seizing political opportunities and maintaining consistent momentum, lessons the opposition may need to consider for future electoral battles.

Analysis:

Prashant Kishor’s observations on the Congress-led opposition’s missed opportunities reveal a nuanced understanding of Indian political dynamics since 2014. His analysis not only highlights the tactical errors but also underscores broader implications across various perspectives.

Politically, Kishor’s insights stress the importance of timing and strategic positioning. The opposition’s failure to capitalize on the BJP’s vulnerabilities during critical periods reflects a lack of cohesive strategy and decisive leadership. This absence has allowed the BJP to consolidate its power, even during times of potential instability. Kishor’s analysis suggests that political parties must remain vigilant and proactive, seizing moments of government unpopularity to strengthen their positions.

Sociologically, the opposition’s missed opportunities indicate a disconnect with the electorate’s sentiments during periods of distress. Events such as demonetisation and the Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacted daily lives, yet the opposition failed to effectively channel public discontent into political support. This gap reveals a need for better grassroots engagement and understanding of public grievances, which could have translated into a more robust opposition movement.

Economically, Kishor’s points highlight missed chances to critique the government’s economic policies effectively. The demonetisation period, marked by economic turbulence, presented a prime opportunity for the opposition to advocate for alternative economic strategies. By failing to do so, the opposition missed out on positioning itself as a viable economic alternative to the BJP, potentially influencing voter perceptions regarding economic management.

On a local level, the opposition’s failure to mobilize regional discontent, particularly during state assembly elections, indicates a lack of strategic alliances and regional focus. Kishor’s reference to the protests by the Patels and other groups underscores the potential for leveraging local issues to build a broader national narrative against the ruling party. This aspect is crucial in a diverse country like India, where regional issues often play a significant role in national elections.

From a gender perspective, the opposition’s oversight may also reflect a broader issue of inadequate representation and advocacy for women’s issues during these critical periods. Addressing economic and social policies’ impacts on women could have strengthened their appeal among a significant voter base, offering a more inclusive and comprehensive critique of the ruling government’s policies.

Regarding marginalized groups, the failure to effectively address their concerns during times of distress further underscores the opposition’s missed opportunities. Economic distress often disproportionately affects marginalized communities, and their voices could have been amplified to challenge the government’s policies. This would not only have provided the opposition with a robust platform but also demonstrated a commitment to inclusive governance.

In conclusion, Prashant Kishor’s analysis reveals that the Congress-led opposition’s inability to capitalize on key opportunities since 2014 has had far-reaching implications. Politically, sociologically, economically, and across various demographics, these missed chances highlight the importance of strategic foresight and engagement. As the 2024 Lok Sabha elections approach, these lessons underscore the need for a more dynamic and responsive opposition to challenge the ruling party effectively.

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