If there is one theme surrounding 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it has to be - Why Modi, or Why not Modi? Everything else is secondary - Opposition parties, narrative, Vikas, Vivek (Oberoi), Chacha Nehru, Rahul Gandhi and his janeu.
There are a 100 reasons to elect Narendra Modi again, and 100 not to. But, what about Congress?
Who will vote for the grand old party?
Arguably, there are some Nehru-Gandhi loyalists
While the employee Rahul fails to impress the voters, the employer Rahul Gandhi can still appeal to some.
It is that same group that thinks Indira is India, Rajiv brought computers to India and Sonia is a selfless leader. Most of these loyalists belong to Lutyens' Delhi and Bollywood. Congress can count on them.
But, what about the rest of India? Let's find out.
They have believed in the core principles of BJP ever since its inception, they have seen/heard about Emergency days under Congress. They are the ones who celebrated when BJP won just two seats in 1984.
Modi's promises resonate with them, and they want him to do what Vajpayee dreamt of - winning the second consecutive term.
They will vote for BJP, and give it a chance, every 5 years.
There are some
Disgruntled Modi voters may go for Modi or NOTA
The second bunch of Modi supporters share a love-hate relationship with him.
They had voted for him in 2014 and liked his first 2 years in office. They started hating him when he chose Adityanath as UP's CM in 2017. They haven't forgiven him for demonetization fiasco either.
In any discussion, they pinpoint a lot of things Modi hasn't done. But, they also know he is their only hope.
They may go for Modi again, or NOTA. But, not Congress.
For obvious reasons
And, there is a definite voter base for Third Front
Now, in a country like India, caste dynamics can never be ignored. And, that's where Third Front would figure.
However, what's perplexing is Congress hasn't been able to forge an alliance with any of the non-NDA regional parties - SP, BSP, TMC, TDP, or AAP.
Ideologically speaking, Third Front and Congress have always been on the same side. So, with this so-called rising mahagathbandhan who would be impacted more - BJP or Congress?
And, what about those who have been fooled by Kejriwal
A small but loud bunch, let's talk about AAP supporters.
When Arvind Kejriwal entered politics, he was welcomed by everyone who hated BJP. In 2014 General Elections, he had his dedicated fan base. But, in the last five years, his charisma has diminished, his voter base has exponentially reduced and his fans feel cheated.
These disillusioned fans may still hate BJP, but that hatred won't translate into love for Congress. NOTA would be their best bet.
Armchair Modi haters will not even go and vote
Now, this is a unique set. They are popularly called keyboard warriors, armchair activists or L3s (here at NewsBytes).
They hate Modi, they are the ones who think he is Hitler's reincarnation. They also "fear" for our Constitution. Their go-to source for any information is Facebook memes, Bollywood babas and "liberal" media.
They are unique because they won't go out to vote - either they don't have a voting card or they will go for a vacation during polling.
Will 2019 be worse than 2014 for Congress?
In conclusion, if BJP's manifesto is a repeat of 2014, Congress' manifesto reeks of socialism. It is dangerous and rogue in equal parts.
Nobody needs Congress' NYAY, but equal opportunities, upward mobility, access to better education and healthcare.
For the first time, anti-incumbency factor is at work for the party not in power. The burden to come out clean is on Congress.