Opinion: Why Modi May Emerge Stronger Leader Than Jawaharlal Nehru After Securing Third Straight Term In 2024?


The 2024 Lok Sabha Election is going to be historic in many ways. First, it will mark the first instance when Congress will go to the polls after warming the opposition benches for 10 consecutive years. Second, the BJP will complete 10 years in power with an absolute majority and third, it will seek another straight term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the history of independent India, only Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had secured three consecutive terms as Prime Minister with a clear majority. While under Nehru, Congress won 364 seats in 1951-52 elections, 371 seats in 1957 and 361 seats in 1962 elections. Nehru remained PM of India from 1951 until his death on 27 May 1964. Even Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh ruled for a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Why Modi May Emerge Stronger Than Nehru?

When the former PM Nehru went to the third Lok Sabha polls in 1962, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about the Congress party’s prospects as there was no strong opposition. The opposition at that point in time constituted smaller parties having no leaders who could challenge the authority of Nehru. In the 1962 polls, the Congress won 361 seats, the Communist Party of India won 29 seats, C Rajagopalchari’s Swatantra Party 18 and the Bharatiya Jana Sangh 14 seats. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh was at that time led by Debaprasad Ghosh but was popular only in certain regions. Also, back then, there was no concept of even Leader of Opposition and the provision for the post was made only in 1969. So, it can be said that Nehru virtually went into an opposition-less poll and the the victory for Congress was not only guaranteed but foretold. 

Challenges Before NDA

On the other hand, the BJP led by Narendra Modi not only faces a strong opposition like Congress but also a united front of the INDIA bloc led by the grand old party. The bloc includes regional patriarchs like MK Stalin’s DMK, Nitish Kumar’s JDU, Lalu Yadav’s RJD, Sharad Pawar’s NCP, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and other key parties like Left, Hemant Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Omar Abdullah’s Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party.

If the BJP manages to get a clear majority for the third straight time, not only Modi will emerge as a strong national leader but the opposition will have to rethink its strategy as well. 



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