Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been scheduled to distribute appointment letters to 71,000 newly-inducted recruits via video conferencing on Tuesday, May 16. With less than a year remaining until the 2024 general elections, Modi was well aware that he might not be the frontrunner for 2024. His position at the top is now up for grabs, and his rivals have their eyes set on it. The outcome of the Karnataka election dealt a severe blow to the BJP, forcing India’s political heartthrob to snap out of his daydream. The closely watched “Rozgar Mela” organized by Modi raised questions about whether 35% of the jobs would be allocated to the Pasmanda Muslims, a minority group in India. The chances of this happening are quite likely. The selection of beneficiaries for these positions had taken place months before the recruitment event and the Karnataka assembly elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to appease the Pasmanda Muslim community have been ongoing for months.
Despite Modi’s belief that nothing he does can dislodge him from the hearts and minds of his Hindutva vote bank, the BJP is fully aware that Narendra Modi has lost his status and standing among the captive vote bank of the BJP. Modi’s proxies and surrogates are busy spreading false claims that he continues to reign supreme, but the reality is far from that. Modi’s final campaign in the Karnataka election left a lasting impression on BJP supporters and workers, especially the images of him in his orange SUV amidst a shower of saffron petals. However, it was clear to everyone that he couldn’t reverse the election’s outcome. The Karnataka vote bank of the BJP blames Modi for the demolition of 26,000 temples in the state under BJP rule, with the image of the broken statue of ‘Bajrang Bali’ lying in a garbage dump serving as a painful reminder. In response to the BJP’s unexpected defeat in Karnataka, there was an immediate shift in blame away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Simultaneously, there was a concerted effort to deny Congress leader Rahul Gandhi any credit for the party’s victory, particularly his Bharat Jodo Yatra. This led to the emergence of a cottage industry in mainstream and social media, dedicated to salvaging Modi’s reputation as an election winner from the remnants of the defeat. The talk of “Modi fatigue” among the BJP vote bank has been juxtaposed with the assertion that the party’s vote share remains intact.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has less than 10 months to regain his standing. To achieve this, Modi and his team, including their mainstream media partners and social media supporters, are once again focusing on issues that are important to the BJP’s Hindutva vote bank. They are discussing topics such as the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), the 1991 Worship Act, and the “Gyanvapi and Mathura” disputes. All eyes are also on the “Rozgar Mela” to see which community receives more job opportunities and which community gets left behind. Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces a challenging road ahead. Reports suggest that he will be travelling overseas, including a visit to Papua New Guinea. However, Modi’s raucous appearances abroad have been a weak point for him. The nation can expect to witness some of his final grand receptions at overseas Indian events before the hammer of the 2024 elections falls.