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Modi favourite for 2019 Lok Sabha elections: US experts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
By Lalit K Jha

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as a clear favourite for the 2019 general elections after the BJP's landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, top US experts on India have said.

While one of the expert noted that the electoral results of the just concluded Assembly polls in five states show that the 2014 Lok Sabha election results were not an aberration, another noted that Modi would continue to lead India after 2019.

The Assembly elections do not signal much of a change. The Uttar Pradesh election results showed that the 2014 general elections were not an "aberration". Same is the case with Punjab, Adam Ziegfeld, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University said.

"It was a big win for the BJP. Its candidate won with much larger margin of victory than compared to the two previous winners – BSP and Samajwadi Party," he said.

Modi has been established by this election as the "clear and favourite winner" for the 2019 elections, Sadanand Dhume, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute said. "Modi is the front runner (for 2019)," he said.

Irfan Nooruddin, a professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at the Georgetown University predicted that in 2019, the BJP is unlikely to be get a simple majority and Modi would rather be heading a coalition government.

BJP is running a disciplines election campaign state-by-state, while the Opposition fails, he said.

The party does not do good in a state where it faces a direct opposition. BJP is beatable if the Opposition comes together, Nooruddin said, adding that the party gains where it faces a fragmented opposition and in 2019, anti-incumbency would kick in.

In this election, the BJP played the caste card while pretending to be above it, Dhume who was in UP during the elections, said. "Demonetisation is extremely popular. Indian people  suffered  in the wake of the policy, but it won their heart and mind. Here is this man of sincerity who struck a principled blow to corrupt and the rich," he said referring to his conversation with people in the state.

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