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Will opposition attacks continuing against Modi lose steam in long run?

By NS Venkataraman* 

During the last several months before the recent parliamentary elections,  during the parliamentary election campaign and in the subsequent weeks after the declaration of the results, opposition parties in India, who named themselves as INDI Alliance, have carried out well planned, relentless attacks to allegedly defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The opposition parties thought that the only way they could defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party was to weaken Modi by constantly criticising him in person. Several terms used freely against Modi included ”thief”, “merchant of death”,  “dictator”, “arrogant” and so on.  Modi, by and large, appeared to have ignored such kind of campaign to the extent possible, though at times, he would get annoyed.
With the number of parliamentary seats won by BJP during the recent elections is less than the seats won during the earlier elections, the opposition parties, particularly the Congress, seem convinced that their  campaign against Modi has paid them much dividend. They seem to have decided that such  campaign to further weaken Modi’s image and popularity must continue.
Several political researchers have been examining various factors to conclude as to what caused the comparatively poor performance of Modi’s party in the recent elections. Most of them seem to have concluded that the opposition campaign against Modi carried out in public meetings and in social media such as X platform, Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook and YouTube have considerably helped the opposition to make sections of voters to turn against Modi.
Further, several political researchers seem to be of the view that accusations made against Modi such as Modi would destroy the Constitution, Modi would withdraw job reservation in government and reservation in educational institutions for those people described as “scheduled caste, scheduled tribe”, and so on, also undermined BJP performance.
In addition, some opposition parties, including the Congress, made promises such as Nyay Promise to provide Rs 1 lakh per year to poor women. There was reason to wonder if such cash promise was implementable as it would mean huge financial implications for the government. The Congress and its allies even went to the extent of providing guarantee letters in writing in thousands to the poor women.
Now that Modi has assumed power again as Prime Minister and with the commencement of parliamentary sessions, it appears that the opposition parties appear to be set to convey an impression to the public that the  government is having confrontational attitude and does not want to yield to the demands of the opposition parties at any cost. 
Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, have attacked Modi personally by stating that Modi is undermining democracy and dignity, while accusing him  of coercing opposition leaders, going to the extent of arresting opposition chief ministers.
The opposition parties are likely to use every opportunity to criticize Modi in person in the coming days and disrupt the parliamentary proceedings under one pretext or the other.
In India, media are largely owned by business houses with profit motive or political parties with vested interests. Media, whether print media or visual, have already begun giving  publicity to what many think are mindless strong words  used by the opposition against Modi, as they seem to be of the view that this would increase their readership/ viewership and help them to achieve their objective. 
Now, where would Indian politics go from here? Modi protagonists assert that the track record of  Modi during the last ten years has been very impressive by all accounts. India’s stature in the world forums have gone up significantly. Foreign exchange reserves have reached record level. Several infrastructure projects are being carried out with high speed. Several schemes have been introduced to promote industrial growth, economic development and social upliftment. 
However, the view has gone strong  lately such positives are not being highlighted in the media adequately.
The moot question is, whether the opposition's campaign against Modi would provide only short term gains and would become counter productive in the long run. If such negative campaign continues endlessly, wouldn't people feel frustrated and become tired? And would Modi  stand his ground in such conditions and continue to move on to achieve the goal of building of his perception of strong India, with the opposition campaign losing steam sooner rather than later? 
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai

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