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Tough road ahead for the longest serving non-congress PM

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Avichal Sharma

Fortune favors the brave, 'but not always', The longest-serving non-congress PM Narendra Modi must have experienced the adage in his second term as prime minister. Modi-led BJP retained power with a thumping majority of 303 seats in the year 2019. Around 6 months later the widespread protests tried to create a dent in the NDA government's image but the jolt received by the covid pandemic has put Narendra Modi in the doldrums.
Narendra Modi surpassed his political mentor and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in terms of being the longest ever BJP prime minister or a non-congress PM. Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government ruled from 1998 to 2004. On 27th May 2020, i.e a day after being the PM for 6 years Modi made sure the longest ever non-congress regime witnessed by countrymen.
 
Now the former Gujarat CM is the only non-congressman to possess prime ministerial powers for 7 years. However, scenarios have changed drastically for him. In the second term, Narendra Modi-led government had to not only fought tooth and nail in the upper house to pass a bill but also appeared to be on the backfoot whenever protests broke out in the capital be it on the issue of CAA-NRC or farmers bill. 
 
Modi was down but not out as he knew his electoral potency, but ever since the coronavirus wave has struck, especially the second wave it seems things are getting out of hand for the 70-year-old leader. During the first wave, the govt came under fire nationwide due to migrants' exodus from various cities in the absence of public transport.
 
It was expected to hit the ruling party severely in Bihar elections but the issue was doused timely. Along with the Bihar elections BJP managed to retain power in tiger state Madhya Pradesh by grabbing 20+ seats in Bypolls. In the midst of Pandemic, it came as a sigh of relief for the saffron party. 
 
Pumped up by the poll results, The BJP bandwagon marked the next target West Bengal. The top brass leaders kicked off the rallies in the state and sidelined the second wave which was silently spreading like a wildfire. The party should be thankful when the situation became worse the polling in 4 out of 5 states was wrapped up.
 
The Fumble
From March to April the daily spike was skyrocketing with the death toll but the government's dilly dally attitude in the second wave created havoc across the nation. The scarcity of oxygen for the severe covid patients, beds in hospitals, the emergence of another disease such as black fungus, white fungus pushed the country into a medical emergency. People lost their near and dear ones.
 
Not only the COVID mismanagement, but the govt has also faced severe criticism for exporting the covishield and cowin vaccine to other countries while the country reels under its shortage. The opposition parties viz Congress, AAP & others have used it as a most lethal weapon against Modi led NDA government. 
 
Amid the grim situation, BJP faced the biggest setback which drew ire directly from its voter base all across the country. The post-poll violence in West Bengal which claimed 17 lives of BJP workers saddened the supporters and subsequently blamed the party's high command of being a mute spectator as they were already aware of the mishappening after the election results were out. 
 
The beeline of these incidences makes the road ahead for Narendra Modi topsy turvy till the year 2024. As per the few right-wing pages, a demand to not project NAMO as PM face is rising constantly as they are equating the PM's inaction after post-poll violence in Bengal with that of Gandhi's in 1947 when he allowed partition at the stake of many lives. 
 
The Plus points
Although Narendra Modi has many decisions to showcase in his favor. The 70-year-old Abborgation of Article 370 in Kashmir, formation of the triple talaq bill, Amendments in the CAA-NRC bill paved the way for the minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to get Indian citizenship with ease.
 
In a major economic reform, the government merged 10 banks to 4 which reduced the public sector banks from 18 to 12. Last but not the least, With Bhoomi Poojan of Ram Mandir, Narendra Modi completed the major commitment mentioned in the manifesto and provided the momentous occasion to the Hindu majority.
 
Narendra Modi and BJP both are known for bouncing back, but this time both are cornered. It will be interesting to see How the man who has proved to be electorally invinsible as chief minister and Prime minister battles the mammoth challenge in the coming years.

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