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Has The Air Strikes Boosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Chances Of A Second Term?

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a powerful orator and the huge crowd puller with his histrionics. It is this attribute that saw him create the ‘ Modi Wave ‘ in 2014 and help BJP ascent to power at the Centre with a first majority government in 30 years.

Now as Modi gears up to face the electorate all over again and seeks a mandate for a second term, the question is will he be able to storm back to power?. The answer is tricky as he is up against a combined opposition. If he is able to ward off this challenge it will be a spectacular one as far as political achievement is concerned .  The shock loss of three Hindi Heart belt states in 2018 i.e. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh had jolted not only BJP , but also brand Modi. Modi wave had ebbed .

With Jammu and Kashmir on the boil after the collapse of the disastrous BJP- PDP coalition after three years the last thing it needed was terror attack . It happened at Pulwama, where as Jaish suicide bomber rammed his SUV at a CRPF convoy killed 4o jawans. Leaving the nation outraged and pressure on Modi government to retaliate / revenge.
Prime Minister promised action with stern message. And after 12 days since the attack on february 14, IAF carried out a pre- dawn raids at terror camps across the border at Balakot. In the ensusing combat next day an India MG – 21 was shot down and pilot Abhinandan Varthaman , was captured and released after 2 days in gesture of peace by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. The release was attributed to sustained international pressure and India’s aggressive diplomacy. Modi and BJP pulled off a coup and the nation rejoiced at the feat.

In an election season and polls just few days away, it was not unexpected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would cash in on this feat. And he did going all out against the opposition. The BJP president Amit Shah went gung- ho. Claiming it is not government of Congress at the Centre but one of Modi that can hit hard the terrorists . And it is this narrative that BJP and Modi will use to the full at the campaign rallies to outsmart the Mahagathbandhan.

Modi even went on to slam the no response by then government  at the centre  when 26/ 11 Mumbai 2008 happened. Such was the jingoism and euphoria he chose to ignore the December 11,  2001 Parliament attack, that happened when at the centre the government was of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee . And then foreign minister Jaswant Singh , who escorted Maulana Masood Azhar to Kandahar to release the passengers of the Indian airlines plane IC 814 in 1999 from December 24- 31.

In the Abhinandan return frenzy these episodes were quickly swept under the carpet . So too was the colossal intelligence failure that led to the killing of 40 jawans at Pulwama. As soon as the attack took place, there were questions as to why 2500 plus jawans were moving at one go in 78 trucks on a highway? The Balakot airstrikes swept these under the carpet.

The air strikes and pilot’s homecoming and diplomatic outreach that helped government put pressure on Pakistan has helped Modi emerge as a decisive leader and also boost his chances to return to power.

It was the ‘Gujarati asmita’ that made Modi and BJP victorious in Gujarat , now with the action against terror courtesy two surgical strikes under its belt against Pakistan , Modi and BJP will now surely chant the nationalist versus anti-national ( opposition)  slogan to swing the public sentiment towards them.

This narrative could be the X- factor at the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Since the party thanks to its obliging news channels have managed to impose the narrative that India has moved ahead only after 2014 . Before that was a nadir.

About ARIJEET DUTTA

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