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Delhi assembly election set to be a litmus test of Narendra Modi’s popularity

Even though, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under its star campaigner Narendra Modi has managed to form governments in almost all the states where assembly elections took place after Modi became Prime Minister, recent trends show that there is a decline in popularity of Modi. The upcoming assembly election of Delhi will be litmus test for Modi’s popularity.

The assembly election in the national capital will be the test of strength of BJP in general and Modi in particular. The saffron party managed to win in three states — Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand — and emerged as the second-largest party in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It is pertinent to mention here that the party had contested last year’s Delhi elections in the name of its star campaigner Narendar Modi and emerged as single largest party in the city bagging 31 seats.

On the other hand, the main opponent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stood second winning 28 seats and Congress was at the third position with just eight seats. After BJP refused to form government despite emerging as the single-largest party, AAP formed its maiden government in Delhi with the support of Congress.

Interestingly, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal resigned from the chief minister’s post in just 49 days to try his luck in Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwal was over confident that his party would win at least 100 Lok Sabha seats and he would play a key role in government formation at the centre. But it couldn’t happen and Kejriwal’s party lost all seven seats to BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

With no government in place, the Modi government imposed President’s Rule in the state on the recommendation of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.  The BJP has decided to contest the upcoming assembly election again under Modi’s leadership. But, the performance of Modi government in the last seven months is not sufficient to attract voters into their fold as his popularity has declined a bit among masses.

The BJP has fared well only in Haryana as the party has got majority in the state winning 47 seats alone, while in Maharashtra, the saffron party emerged as single-largest party with 122 seats and Shiv Sena stood second with just 63 seats. The party had contested alone in the state after severing 25-year-old alliance with Sena. 

Interestingly, BJP formed the government in alliance with Sena.

In case of Jharkhand too, the Modi magic proved right for party, but failed to get majority of its own. The party won just 37 seats, which is five short of majority, while its ally partner All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) won five seats, combining both, the party is able to form government in state with a non-tribal Chief Minister. In case of J&K, there is no doubt that party has performed very well winning 25 seats. It’s for the first time in the history of J&K that BJP has emerged as second largest party. In this state, Modi had addressed seven election rallies.

With this kind of performances, it reflects that the Modi magic is deteriorating. But the analysis of popularity of BJP and Modi could be done only after the final outcome of Delhi assembly polls. In the state poll, this time again there will be straight fight between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi’s former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. 

The electorates of Delhi will have to choose one among these two. After summarising the outcomes of assembly elections in four states, it can be assumed that the popularity of Modi has declined. So it won’t be an easy task for BJP to win Delhi assembly poll in the name of Modi only.
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