Diminishing Pulwama sentiment coupled with Priyanka Gandhi’s foray into action has BJP concerned and looking for a new tactic to refuel the Modi wave in the country.
- The Government’s response to Pulwama had helped the BJP with sentiment on national security-related issues climbing up to almost 29 percent
- The strong man image of the PM and the ‘MaiBhiChowkidar’ campaign drowned the socio-economic concerns being raised by the opposition
- However, the sentiment seems to be diminishing with unemployment and similar issues gaining voter mind share again
PM Modi had issued a rallying cry with the Balakot Strike which had been successful in downsizing any narrative Congress took on
The Pulwama fiasco and the subsequent Balakot Airstrikes created an immensely beneficial atmosphere for the BJP. The strongman attitude of PM Narendra Modi further fortified and spread a wave of appreciation among loyalists. BJP was quick and clever to cash in on the positive reception by engaging its trumpeters with the #MaiBhiChowkidar campaign.
As per reports, the sentiment in the country on national security and terrorism-related issues had climbed up to almost 29 percent in early March after India’s well strategized response with airstrikes on suspected militant camps in Balakot, Pakistan.
But the Nationalists fervour is diminishing quickly
But the opportune moment seems to have passed for the BJP. Recent analysis by the CVoter Polling Agency now signals an alarming situation, not for India but the Saffron Party’s campaign committee. In a nationwide opinion poll CVoter found out that the positive perception created on the back of a surge in patriotic and nationalist sentiment is now fading away. Dampening tensions between the neighbours had now
brought down that wave of Modi-led nationalism to about 15 percent as per the agency’s daily tracking of the national sentiment.
The ‘nationalist rhetoric’ had been quite successful in putting socio-economic issues (like unemployment, agriculture crisis and economic offences) on the back foot. These issues had been the main campaign topics for the opposition parties spearheaded by Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi who used the #ChowkidarChorHai as his battle cry for the elections.
The polarized sentiment relating to security in the wake of Pulwama is now waning, as unemployment is back in voter minds as a core concern. Credit: Bloomberg/ Quint
The updated numbers from CVoter’s tracker now convey that the socio-economic concerns are regaining mind share among voters, helping Congress reinforce its narrative. Since the rise in mercury between the two nations, BJP’s leaders including the Prime Minister had been flying high on the success of the airstrikes. BJP has been stressing on the image as a proactive government when it comes to national threat during the election rallies in recent weeks.
But the diversion created by the heightened tensions in the valley and exchanges on the border is no more a bubble strong enough to keep voters occupied away from internal problems. As per CVoter:
“A cliff-fall for (the) security narrative complicates BJP’s positioning as this is one issue where BJP comprehensively dominates the Congress and in fact entire opposition,”
With the nationalist fervour quieting among voters, this gives Congress leeway to raise its core concerns again. It also signals a new electoral problem for BJP to solve.
BJP might have miscalculated the impact of the ‘Space Superpower’ narrative
PM Modi tried to re-awaken the sentiment by leveraging the anti-satellite missile test (ASAT) as an immensely proud moment for all Indians but was unable to create a similar mood. The opposition parties expressed
critical views on the PM’s use of a single achievement of an ongoing space program for political gains.
As per CVoter, the ‘The impact of Mission Shakti’ will be visible in the next few days, but analysts are
not convinced that a space accomplishment will have the same effect in rallying voters to BJP’s aid.
Priyanka’s foray in the Poll battlefield has BJP sweating
Although most Political pundits have a consensus that Modi’s BJP (albeit as a coalition) has favourable chances of holding on to power, Congress move to being Priyanka Gandhi in for mainstream campaigning does signal a worrying scenario for BJP.
The Congress has made a master move with crowd’s embracing the Gandhi family scion across the country, including PM Constituency of Varanasi
Priyanka Gandhi’s foray into Indian politics has been a great move for Congress, with masses embracing the political scion. Priyanka’s striking resemblance to India’s iron woman former PM Indira Gandhi has brought out a heavy nostalgia in the country and has been influential in roping back many
disillusioned Congress faithful back to the national party’s support.
Priyanka Gandhi’s visits have been a hit wherever she has campaigned till now, including BJP bastion and PM constituency of Varanasi. Analysts also suggest that the minimum income scheme being paraded by Rahul Gandhi is also adding to BJP’s vows.
What will be BJP’s next ploy to counter the Congress move?
This change in the status quo right before the polls is a worrying sign for BJP. The party known for driving elemental shifts based on sparks in public perception now needs a new war cry to refortify its agenda.
The extradition of Nirav Modi is one such ploy which would come handy for BJP, provided the ED is able to return to India with the fugitive in time. But apart from that, there are no other issues that, analysts think, can be used by BJP to reclaim the public sentiment.
Although tensions still exist in the valley, a repeat of the same sentiment is highly unlikely.
With the moral code of conduct in action, any new announcements are bound to be under the scope of the ED, which will add to the vows of BJP. How this waning of sentiment will change the Prime Minister and his Party’s narrative, remains to be seen.
- Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into mainstream campaigning has been able to revive support for the Congress party all over the country.
- The PM’s impromptu address to the nation in the wake of the ASAT tests did not have the same effect as Pulwama
- Nirav Modi’s extradition, if successful, might be able to play in favour of the BJP; but analysts seen no other clear issues that BJP can leverage this close to the polls.
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