There were plenty of buzz in the corridors of parliament last week as to who will replace Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the next general elections. While Congress President Rahul Gandhi predicted that Modi will not return as the country’s prime minister, many within the BJP have now begun quietly sharpening their knives against the latter.
BJP suffered a near defeat in its own bastion in Gujarat last year and was routed in the just-concluded bypolls for the two Lok Sabha and one assembly seats in Rajasthan. The Congress wrested all three seats from the ruling BJP with considerably huge margins. The saffron party had won all 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan in 2014 aside from winning all 26 seats in Gujarat.
The party’s dwindling graph in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP lost dominance in several civic bodies earlier this year has prompted many leaders within the party to start preparing for the worse in 2019.
There are conversations within the party on who will lead the BJP in the event that it falls significantly short of the absolute majority. Speaking informally to a group of journalists in the parliament last week, the Congress president had said that the next government in 2019 would be a Modi-less government adding that the saffron party may not even reach 250 seats.
As predicted by Janta Ka Reporter’s editor-in-chief, Rifat Jawaid, in his analysis, Gandhi cited Modi’s poor relationship with the NDA allies such as Shiv Sena, TDP and even Akali Dal as a reason for his poor chances of returning as the prime minister. Shiv Sena has already severed ties with the BJP and the TDP has threatened to follow suit.
Modi, according to many BJP insiders, will not be acceptable to several NDA allies if the party fails to win 250 seats on its own. Two names, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, are being discussed as the potential successor to Modi.
One BJP MP, wishing not to be identified, told Janta Ka Reporter, “Many in the party are not happy with the functioning of Modi and (BJP President)Amit Shah. There’s a general consensus that these two Gujjus have hijacked the party. Nobody is speaking up because they are scared. Just wait for the next Lok Sabha elections and you will see a revolt against these two gentlemen (Modi and Shah).”
There are also reports that Modi may not wait for 2019 and bring the dates for the next Lok Sabha elections forward. Whether this will save his political future will be determined by how his party performs in Karnataka, which goes to polls in few months’ time.