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India elections 2019: An overview of influential factors

Upcoming Lok Sabha Election from April 2019

Bangalore, March 12 (UITV)

Caste Reservations

India has persistently defied predictions of the advent of a post- caste society. This election is unlikely to be any different. The opposition's hope relies on calculation that the coalition of yadavs, Jadavs and muslims represented by SP and BSP can defeat the saffron party in UP, which it had manage the please the last time. they are also laying store by currently imprisoned Lalu Prasad's plan to pit a block of OBCs and muslims against BJP. But the other obstacle it finds as that of JDU in bihar which too targets the OBC's and Muslims as its vote bank. The Modi brand completely swept away the 2014 elections leaving opposition parties not even the required share of seats for opposition in the Parliament.  But the prominence of caste was evident in November elections in Madhya Pradesh when the BJP found itself caught in a pincer of resentments- of reservation demanded by dalits and Genral category. It has since taken an initiative for appeasing its upper caste constituency with a 10% reservation, while seeking to counter the  antagonism of Dalits. The effect of such an attempt towards equality in society has been welcomed by the general category and will be dominant on upcoming election numbers.

Corruption

Congress had paid a huge price in 2014 because of several allegd scams like 2G and 3G. In addition to it, the Vadra scam also massively affected its numbers in the last elections. That time Modi had committed to the masses that BJP will not suffer any such handicap. Rather, he means to capitalise on his success in ensuring there was no scam on his watch. People swallowed the bitter pill of demonetization largely because of the strength of his image as a corruption buster. But the death numbers of more than 100 people and shut down of small scale industries within a month as the Post demonetization effect can be targeted as a resourceful factor during election campaigning by the opposition. The aggressive campaign by congress over Rafale deal and the consistent corruption charges at the grassroots may influence the voters who were under shock when it came to know of the documents related to rafale deal getting stolen. Yet the BJP is not discouraged with the perception of institutionalized corruption that inverted the congress 5 years back.

First Time Voters

A huge addiion to the electoral college, they can tip the scales with their sheer number. what makes them crucial is the enthusiasm to exercise the just acquired franchise, the willingness ensuring that they turn out in bigger numbers than other cohorts. Exposed to a deluge of information that was not available to previous generations, they are more likely to experiment with options; they could also influence a shift in preferences in the larger groups they are connected to. This could benefit the challenger who comes riding with the promise of a fresh beginning. But since the political millennial have not entered the job market yet, they have fewer disappointments and grievances and could be persuaded to stand by the incumbent who has not turned hard.

 Inflation

Generally, a global factor. The Modi govt. has succeeded in taming price rise, which combined with corruption and perception of paralysis, contributed to UPA's debacle five years ago. NDA's success, however, seems to have come at a price. Some experts have argued that price stability has been achieved by depressing the price of farm produce, a strategy that has generated rural unrest and could cost BJP. But the latest budget 2019 is a fair attempt to ensure the balance in income and expenditure factors. It has also conveyed that high farm production and productivity will be achieved through modern agricultural technological intervention and value addition.

The Financial budget 2019

The Budget 2019 has addressed in a limited way the farm distress by providing relief to small and marginal farmers upto Rs 75,000 crore for an income support scheme and interest subvention up to 5 per cent in event of natural calamity. The direct income transfer scheme, Rs 6,000 a year, in three installments, to farmers with land holdings of less than 2 hectares, is expected to benefit 120 million farm households. It leaves out landless farmers, who are worst affected by the rural distress and have little to fall back upon. Interim Budget has exempted income tax for income upto Rs 5 lakh for individuals. With rebate of Rs. 12,500 for the individuals having income upto Rs 5 lakh will not have to pay any taxes. Both the reliefs are aimed at two big constituencies—farmers and the middle class. Thus, an attempt to appease them will positively influence voters these two classes. Government aims to completely digitalise income-tax return verification and scrutiny over the next two years. This phasing out of human intervention will reduce tax terrorism also.

National Security/anti - terror mechanisms

The biggest theme in 2019 polls will be the retaliatory measures over Pulwama CRPF killings, taken by the govt. upon mainland pakistan. This has turned into a major fulcrum on which LS polls might turn. The Balakot Air strike will definitely help the ruling party protect its 'tough- on- security'plank, brightening the credentials that it acquired post the 'Surgical strikes' in rsponse to Uri terror Attack. BJP has since showcased Modi as a strong willed and determining leader who can confidently deal with India's hostile neighbour. even the 'grand co-alition'of opposition parties will be unable to the task of dealing with the heightened security challenge. On the contrary, the opposition's demand over Air strike proofs will nothing but cost themselves. The reigning nationalist mood and frequent worries about heightening tension on the border will add to the attraction of the promise of strong leadership and political stability.

Women voters

Increasingly a category that is decisive independent of wishes of menflok. It was in 1984 when, for the first time, many of them strayed from the line drawn by 'guardians'to vote for other parties because of the sympathy for yesteryear leader Indira Gandhi. they have since been a reservoir of support for several leaders from MGR, NTR and Jayalalitha to shivraj Singh Chauhan ad Nitish kumar. BJP expects a well proportioned support from them because of measures raniging from the substantial like 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao'schemes, building toilets and providing LPG, even going to an extent like capital punishment for those guilty of raping minors.


Rural unrest

Farmers or Rural voters were a big factor in Modi's stunning victory in 2014. this sprawling social constituency is percieved to be unhappy because of the poor returns on farm investments and stagnant wages. Demonetisation along with sundry factors like damage to standing crops by stray cattle is thought to have worsened the problem. Congress used it ti hit BJP hard in the November- december round of assembly polls resulting in a massive defeat of BJP in its traditional electoral seats of rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh ad Chattisgarh. BJP has since moved t repair the potential vulnerability by giving monetary assistance, reckoning it would pacify the angry farmer. Of course the larger calculation is that the schemes for rural reconstruction- such as housing, toilets, electricity and cooking gas- along with farmer appeasing schemes made in Finance budget this year.

Social media

A new entrant in 2014,it has established itself as a formidable player in the field, givin combatants an unconventional handle with which to try and set the agenda, and cudgel each other. its entry 5 years ago was seen as one of the factors that contributed to Modi's victory. the period since then saw congress closing the gap with a strut. It took BJP time to respond to the challenge. But it has since moved aggressively to save its advantage. post Blalakot, it appears to be established in driver's seat. things could change, however,The absolute desultory of the beast is such that it cannot be contemplated.

The NaMo Brand

BJP's hope of reigning in the second innings for another 5 years depends to a considerable extent around his continuing pull with solid sections of the electorate. it believes Amit Shah's organistaional machinery, which is again proven after the rebellious ally Shivsena decided to back BJP again in Maharashtra. This has aroused another hope of converting the goodwill for the PM into votes. The opposition, on the other hand, is convinced that the once formidable charisma has faded away, becoming a victim of the infinite nechanism of diminishing returns and unfulfilled promises.  infact they are focussing on defiling the brand NaMo with implacable vigour. However, there is no denial that Narendra Modi remains the single and most important factor in the fray. Many of those who voted against the BJP in the last round of state election did so declaring that they would back him in the saffron column for LS polls. There is a manifestation that Balakot Air strike may have restored a considerable part of the lost radiance.