Has Narendra Modi already tilted the General Election in his favour?

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Narendra Modi may storm back to power.

If you happen to be a tea lover, then you already must have heard these musings in your own circles.

Narendra Modi is not invincible; no one ever is, especially in politics, but yet his last three moves have earned him the respect that is rarely bestowed on any politician.

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‘Karega to yahi karega’ is the usual refrain from the voters be it on the Citizenship Bill or on the banning of the Triple Talaq. But what has firmly tilted the people in his favour are his most recent actions:

Backing Citizenship Bill: As bad news continues to pour in from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the clamour to protect the minority Hindus and Sikhs and provide them refuge was just a fragile movement in 2014. Social media advancement and the lackadaisical attitude of the Indian media in covering these cases only helped the Hindu consolidation that is unforgiving and unyielding as far as the human rights of Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists are concerned. This group led by a mixed motley of rural and urban is likely to fall firmly in Narendra Modi’s lap despite the initial hiccups. Interestingly, even the most ferocious anti-Citizenship bill protestors will cringe at the very idea of denying that religious persecution is a reality in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. India’s north ravaged by a partition is likely to firmly back this bill having already suffered the worst in 1947. Pakistani Hindu and Sikh refugees in Northern Indian states like Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana have already found a favourable reception and this approach will easily extend to the refugees of Afghanistan and Bangladesh as well. This group is unlikely to bend its will on either caste politics or sops and as widely led by the people who have suffered during the partition. Congress, the oldest political party has nothing to offer to this group of voters as it has neither the policy nor the think-tanks to woo them, so it is BJP’s gain.

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Quota for General Category: While the lower income group among the general category Hindus have whole-heartedly backed this bill, the general category folks among the minority community are not too far behind. The Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Sayed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for passing of the Bill in Parliament saying that this will prove beneficial to a large section of economically weaker sections of the minority communities belonging to general category. Sufi leader MK Chishty also backed this move saying that it is ‘positive’ and ‘right decision by the government for poor people of every religion and caste which proves Modi Govt’ s policy of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas. In short, Narendra Modi may have converted the disgruntled ‘NOTA’ backers to Modi backers.

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Stronger Foreign policy: Controversies on PM’s visits abroad are well documented but the fact also is that India’s clout has increased and the diplomatic outreach will certainly play dividend in the long run. India has forever been the elephant who is scared of its own strength and ends up being bullied and attacked by lesser mortals. PM’s own enthusiasm in foreign policy meant that India shed this baggage and is playing to her strength. Be it showing Justin Trudeau his place for his canoodling with the Khalistani extremists or rescuing Indians from difficult situations, Indian foreign policy has come of age. The cultural connect that Prime Minister Narendra Modi uses has also been a game changer. The foreign policy of India is no more Pakistan-centric and India knows when to flex its muscles and right the wrongs as it happened in the Maldives where democratic forces have stormed back to power after years of dictatorship. The stronger foreign policy will eventually lead to stronger business ties and India is reaping it king-size.

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Namta Gupta

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