Political strategist Prashant Kishor highlights three missed opportunities by the Congress-led opposition to counter the BJP since 2014.

Since 2014, Prashant Kishor, a political strategist, has identified three significant instances when the opposition led by the Congress lost chances to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Kishor claims that the opposition will be in a weakened position for the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024 as a result of these lost opportunities.

First Opportunity: State Assembly elections (2015-2016)

Kishor identified the first major gap of opportunity that was lost, which was between 2015 and 2016. The BJP lost multiple state legislature elections during this time. Notable defeats for the BJP came in November of the same year in Bihar and the January 2015 assembly elections won by the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi. Moreover, the BJP only managed to gain an assembly seat in Assam, and that too via an alliance, in the May 2016 assembly elections that were held in Assam, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.

In an interview with NDTV, Kishor said, "These 15–18 months were a crucial period when the Congress-led opposition could have reassembled and taken advantage of the BJP's weaknesses as PM Modi's popularity had just begun to rise post–2014."

Second Opportunity: Post-Demonetisation turbulence (2016-2018)

According to Kishor, the second lost chance was following the demonetisation of the ₹500 and ₹1,000 banknotes in November 2016. This action by the Modi administration caused severe economic hardship and unrest in rural areas around the nation.

"There were significant protests by the Patel community in Gujarat and demonstrations in Maharashtra, even though the BJP won the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017." In the November 2017 Gujarat elections, the BJP prevailed by a slim margin despite a close race. The BJP suffered losses in the state elections that followed in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. The 15–17 month period from the middle of 2017 to the end of 2018 was another critical era during which the opposition might have taken advantage of the BJP's shortcomings, according to Kishor.

Third Opportunity: Post-Second Covid-19 wave (June 2021)

Another opportunity lost, according to Kishor, was the post-second Covid-19 wave in June 2021. Prime Minister Modi's popularity ratings saw a discernible decline during this time, and the BJP had recently lost the West Bengal state elections.

"The opposition had a chance to come together and contest the BJP's hegemony. But even when the INDIA alliance was established in June 2023 and speculation about the scale of the opposition began to circulate, nothing much happened in the months that followed. The critical period between June 2023 and February 2024 was lost, which gave the BJP the opportunity to focus its campaigning efforts, according to Kishor.

Current Scenario and Predictions

According to Kishor, the BJP will probably win back control of the Lok Sabha in 2024, notwithstanding the opposition's squandered opportunity. Especially following the Ram Mandir event, he pointed to the BJP's early and vigorous marketing as a primary role.

On May 20, the elections for 428 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats concluded with the completion of the fifth phase of voting, which covered 49 seats. June 4 is the day for the vote count for all seven phases. The final two phases are scheduled for May 25 and June 1.

With a goal of gaining 400 seats, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by Prime Minister Modi, is aiming for a record third term. In opposition to them is the Congress-led INDIA group, which has had difficulty gathering steam.


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