No indication of `Modi wave` in Assembly results: US experts
Washington: The results in four Assembly polls in India have given the opposition BJP the necessary momentum ahead of the general elections, but there is neither an indication of a `Narendra Modi wave` nor a guarantee of a similar performance next year, experts have said.
Giving due credit to its emphatic victories in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and in Delhi, where the Aam Aadmi Party`s performance has surprised many, these experts, who are closely following the Indian elections, concluded that the Modi factor is not the only reason for the BJP doing well.
"The BJP has always been competitive in these states, evidenced by roughly similar results in 2003. The bigger test of a wave is whether the BJP can win Lok Sabha seats from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala. The BJP won just one total Parliament seat from these states in the last two elections," said Richard M Rossow, Director for South Asia, McLarty Associates.
In recent months, both the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Modi visited these states over a dozen times each.
"While everyone has an opinion, there is no empirical evidence to prove whether either leader caused a wave in a direction," he argued.
However, Sadanand Dhume, of the American Enterprise Institute, argued that Modi passed his first big test after being declared as the prime ministerial candidate.
"While it`s hard to quantify exactly how much Modi contributed to the BJP`s strong showing it`s clear that Modi has energized the BJP," he said.
Although the recent state elections have been billed as a "semi-final" for the 2014 elections, one should keep in mind that the scope of these elections is limited to four states in the Hindi heartland where the BJP has historically had a strong presence, observed Milan Vaishnav, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The prestigious American think-tank has launched a `India Decides 2014` on its website, which keeps a close tab on the developments in India ahead of the 2014 elections.
"BJP`s strong performance gives it unquestionable momentum heading into 2014. Even though Delhi remains a question mark, the BJP`s sweeping victories in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will give it a leg up as it builds its case nationally," Vaishnav said.
The BJP triumphs also allows Modi to consolidate his position within the party, he said.
"As the effective leader of the party, Modi will undoubtedly receive the credit for the BJP victories. But the Modi factor is not the principal reason the BJP fared well in these elections. The BJP`s success is due to local factors, including the fact that it had strong chief ministerial candidates," Vaishnav explained.
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