Banking on PM Modi, BJP pushes for presidential-style election against divided opposition

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is everywhere these days. As India prepares to hold the world His Bharatiya Janata Party is also raising funds by selling NaMo Again t-shirts, mugs and wristbands through the Narendra Modi smartphone app. After announcing airstrikes on Pakistan, party officials said the country was safe and secure under his strong and decisive leadership. The singular focus on one man is an attempt to replicate the partyS. presidential-style campaign projecting Modi as the savior to India That contrasts with the opposition Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi, which did not formally declare a prime ministerial candidate five years ago and is unlikely to do so this time. However, it Modi Still, Modi For the BJP, pushing this as a presidential-style election makes good sense, because it plays to the party However, Congress Leaderless Coalition In 2014, the BJP won the biggest electoral mandate in 30 years by focusing on their candidate. His administration is now pushing a narrative that compares Modi To the opposition, crafting alliances with powerful regional leaders is more central to the election than elevating Gandhi – who recently promoted his well-known sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, to an important political role. They are portraying Modi as an autocrat whose centralized leadership style has left India worse off. The Congress party managed to oust the BJP in three state elections in December. Gandhi has gained momentum – and struck some electoral alliances – even as Modi has lost allies from his coalition. READ ALSO | In a Feb. 4 India Today-Karvy Insights poll, 46 percent of respondents said Modi was best suited to be the next prime minister, compared to 34 percent for Gandhi. It will be a presidential contest, BJP lawmaker G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said in an interview. The key issue in 2019 will be, He Modi will be similarly prominent in the 2019 election, Adeney said. But his star has faded as he has failed to deliver on his economic promises. Another risk is the BJP is unlikely to retain seats it won by sweeping north India in 2014, forcing the party to look to the east, where politics is more regionalized and contests are won or lost on state-specific issues, according to Milan Vaishnav, South Asia director at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Tactically, the BJP will not be able to run a fully presidential race.

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