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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party are capitalizing on the publicity of hosting the G20 summit last weekend to kick off a busy campaign season that will culminate with national polls early next year.
At the summit, Modi issued a unanimous statement that brought together Russia, China and the West, struck a series of economic deals and a series of photo-ops, giving the Bharatiya Janata Party an unparalleled platform to support India realizes its aspirations of global leadership and provides an unparalleled platform to the people of India. Elevate its prime minister to a key figure in foreign policy.
Fueled by the global spotlight, the party is now looking to turn that momentum into electoral success as Modi faces a unified and reinvigorated opposition at the polls in a fight that will largely revolve around inflation and other domestic and economic issues.
India is entering a busy political season, with five state polls due in the coming months and a national vote in early 2024, when Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party will seek a third term in power.
Political commentator Neerja Chowdhury said that for India’s middle class, the summit showed that “on a global scale, we now have a place”. For them, India’s rising status as it overtook China this year to become the world’s most populous country and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies “will make a difference”.
As soon as the G20 summit concluded on Sunday, the BJP started formulating its strategy. Modi and top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party held a planning meeting on Wednesday for November elections in the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where the ruling party is expected to face a strong challenge from its main rival, the Indian National Congress.
The government has also unexpectedly called a special parliamentary session next week, which will celebrate 75 years of parliament in addition to debating several pieces of legislation.
BJP leaders have touted their achievements at the G20 summit in recent days, and analysts say there is no doubt about the way they are about to sell it to voters.
Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, the author of Modi’s biography, said the summit was “viewed as a personal achievement for Mr Modi”. “This is what the BJP will emphasize: Modi has greatly improved India’s prestige abroad, Mr. Modi…” . Interacted with the most important people in the world. “
India has held about 60 events in cities across the country since taking over the G20 presidency this year, which the government says helps to make otherwise routine diplomatic events more accessible by spreading accompanying interest and investment to more remote areas. “Democratization”.
The opposition believes the strategy is more about using a global platform to boost the prime minister’s personal image. Ahead of the event, New Delhi and other host cities were covered with photos of Modi, which often resemble campaign materials.
India was originally scheduled to host the G20 summit last year, but it was later replaced by Indonesia, which was scheduled to host in 2023, a move that critics speculated was intended to time its rotating presidency ahead of next year’s vote.
Opposition Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh accused the ruling party of campaigning around the summit. “This is being done to divert attention from important issues,” he wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) last month.
The Modi government even sparked controversy over whether it would formally rename the country ahead of the vote after Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the summit on Saturday, sitting behind a sign that read “Bharat”. “Bharat” is a Hindi nickname for India that has long been favored by partisans. Supporter of Hindu nationalism.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh cited the divisive debate on Monday, saying Modi had “successfully demonstrated the strength of Bharat” at the G20.
The BJP has shrugged off criticism of its actions.Amit Shah, the home minister and Modi’s de facto No. 2, told an interviewer this year: “If the G20 summit is successful… the opposition should get [the credit]? Obviously, the credit will go to Modi. “
While most analysts expect the Bharatiya Janata Party to form India’s next government, the party’s path to retaining power is uncertain.
Dozens of opposition parties, including the Congress, formed an alliance in July to focus on attacking unemployment and Modi’s alleged ties to scandal-plagued tycoon Gautam Adani And other issues.
It is also negotiating a plan to unite against individual BJP candidates in general election constituencies. Analysts say the strategy could slash enough seats to end Modi’s majority in parliament if the opposition manages to strike a deal, forcing him to form a coalition that would curb his power.
But Modi remains popular: A poll released this week by Morning Consult, an American research group, showed that 76% of Indian respondents approved of his tenure as prime minister.
Brand expert and political commentator Santosh Desai said that while he believed the G20’s impact on state elections would be limited, at the national level it would “certainly intensify [Modi’s] Chance”.
“Even for people who might be on the fence, it becomes a pretty significant factor rather than a question mark on what’s on the other side,” he said.