Swapan Dasgupta in The Indian Express:
“It is striking that despite being a beneficiary of rudderless governance [of the UPA], the NDA is not confident of notching up a clear victory. BJP strategists are worried that the next election will have only a handful of national issues, notably terrorism, the crisis of agriculture and, maybe, inflation. The ultimate verdict, it is felt, will be shaped in the states where the NDA has a local anti-incumbency to cope with. In short, the next election could well be a zero-sum game….
“From 1990 till 2004, the BJP was justifiably proud of its ability to set the political agenda and redraw the electoral map. Yet, with barely a year to go before the UPA completes its full term, the party’s political positioning remains remarkably fuzzy. There is some awareness of what the BJP opposes but remarkably little clarity over the NDA’s agenda of governance….
“It is undeniable that in the past four years the central BJP has appeared to be out of tune with the impulses of a youthful and modern India. Interestingly, this is not the case with the BJP state governments, particularly the administrations run by Narendra Modi and Vasundhara Raje. Modi’s victory last December was, in fact, propelled by the enthusiasm of the New India that the BJP seems so anxious to alienate.”
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