Iss Baar 400

Manipur due to its own problems cannot see beyond its nose and is not interested in the national scenario to its own peril.

ByRK Nimai

Updated 1 May 2024, 3:58 am


The battle cry for the NDA in the 18th Lok Sabha election is Iss baar 400 meaning that NDA will garner 400 plus seats. A tall aspiration which before the poll seems attainable but with the Supreme Court orders on the Electoral bonds and the revolt of the Rajputs has made it doubtful. The chances of NDA returning to power is high but questions were being asked about it after the first and second phase of the poll. There are no slogans this time to attract the voters and even with the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, 400 are a bit too high.

Even in Manipur, there is a very strong contest in both the seats so much so that it is difficult to predict the winners, despite the fact that money and muscle power have been used.  Before the election, there was a claim that both the seats would go to the NDA but after the poll no one can claim this with a straight face. This indicates the frustration of the people from the 11 month old crisis which has impacted the lives of all in Manipur, whether one belongs to the warring communities or not. 

The only problem in Manipur is that the Meitei are in a Catch-22 situation with the demand that with the present CM in his seat the Kuki will not hold talks, thereby ensuring that Meitei do not make such a demand which will be seen as supporting the Kuki. For a majority, the present situation has come to this stage due to lack of governance by the state government compounded by the indecisiveness of the Central government and supporting the state government through thick and thin. Thus the state is saddled with a government which had failed to act decisively, especially during the first few days of the crisis.

Due to its failure to protect the life, liberty and property of its people of both communities, a responsibility of the state as per the Constitution; common folks have taken up arms to protect their villages. This can only lead to civil war. The candidate for the Inner seat from the ruling dispensation was confident when he stated that in Manipur for the Lok Sabha seat, the ruling party invariably wins; but there is always an exception.

To improve on the result of the  2019 election from the north east is debatable; especially with the ZPM in Mizoram claiming that it will not join either the NDA or INDIA bloc and will be equidistant; a very sane decision taking into consideration the events unfolding. Many agree that in the first and second phase of polling, the advantage is with the INDIA bloc, which may be true or not but it indicates a very tough fight between the two fronts. This had led to upping up the rhetoric from the PM mentioning things like that the mangalsutra will be snatched if the Congress comes to power which will be distributed to the minorities, there will be change in the reservation denying the SC,ST, OBC etc to the advantage of the minorities, etc., leading P Chidambaram observed that the PM is rewriting the manifesto of the Congress party! There are even allegations of hate speech against the PM, though the ECI is yet to take any action. Such rhetoric will only increase till the seventh phase poll is held. 


In the south, the increase in tally is doubtful as Kerala may continue to be a tussle between the Congress and Left Front, though both are in the INDIA bloc, with hardly any pickings for the NDA.

Though earlier, some seats were expected for the NDA in Tamilnadu, after the order of the Supreme Court on the Electoral bonds, the chances had gone down and even in a couple of seats it is 50:50.  Retaining the seats in Karnataka will be a tough task and inroads are likely by the opposition. There may be some advantage in Odisha, Telangana and Andhra due to the strategic partnership but the number may not be very large. In Maharashtra, the fight will be tough and improving from the 2019 position will be a tall order. NDA is likely to be in the driver’s seat in Madhya Pradesh but improving from the 2019 position is unlikely and so is the case In Gujarat.

The Rajput revolt which constitutes about 10% in quite a few seats in Rajasthan and Western UP may make it difficult to hold on to the numbers in the 2019 election. The arrest of Arvind Kejriwal may have an impact on the outcome in Delhi and the result of 2019 cannot be replicated. Punjab and Haryana seem a gone case and the outcome will not be favourable to the NDA due to the farmers’ agitation.

J&K may see similar results as in the 2019 election. It will be an uphill task to replicate the resounding result in UP in the 2019 election. West Bengal may provide a ray of hope for the NDA and more MP is likely to be returned from this state. But Bihar is doubtful due to the jumping jack behaviour of the partner JD (U) which may impact the result. NDA is likely to do well in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh but in quite a few seats it will be no cakewalk. Thus improving in 2019 is no cakewalk. 

Why does the NDA seem to be stumbling? The answer may be that there are no new catchy slogans and all the candidates depend on the charisma of an individual, the PM. But his inability to hold a proper press conference during the last ten years have made many voters to believe that he has limited knowledge of the affairs of the nation and drilling by an antagonistic reporter will lay bare this suspicion. He gives interviews to only a few select reporters who are seen as close to him and that too after the questions were handed over and vetted in advance.

However, with the passage of time his charisma seems to be fading as many promises he had made in the last two elections are yet to be fulfilled. Doubling the farmer’s income is one such promise which even with the current prices is unattainable. The party is so dependent on one person’s charisma that the BJP manifesto was called Modi ka Guarantee, and once the charisma fades, it will fall like a pack of cards. The party had betted all on his charisma, which can be a double edged sword.


One still remembers the rhetoric in 2014 when every household was assured Rs 15 lakh as the party will ensure repatriation of all money locked in Swiss banks but rather they were given a shock by the demonetisation which is nothing but demonization leading to deaths after standing in long queues to exchange the currency notes. It didn’t serve any purpose like doing away with black money, or doing away with counterfeits, etc except it literally killed the informal sector which deals mostly in cash. Public memory may be short but collective memory can be long and can strike when it is most unexpected.

The call by many that this may be the last democratic election if the NDA is returned with a resounding victory, including the husband of the Finance Minister seem to hurt its chances. The continuous targeting of the Gandhi family and the Muslim minority no longer seems to cut too much ice, except for the hard core Hindutva.

The hardliners continue to target the minority but affirmative action needs to be taken not based on religion but rather on the socio-economic conditions. The call by some hardliners that STs who have changed their religion shall be denied the benefits and those in the upper class will also be done away have distanced the elites from this community. Further, within the party local satraps are uncomfortable with all powers resting with an individual which cuts into their power base and they remember the power wielded by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi when they got 400 plus seats which makes them function as autocrats and nobody wants to lose their relevance, hence internal conflict is observed. We blame our CM but almost all CMs are in his position. 

The 2024 Lok Sabha election may throw up surprises and if the NDA returns with fewer seats than in the preceding House, the exalted position of the PM will be brought down to earth and he would have to rely more on the local satraps within the party and alliance partners. Public can be sadistic and once a man is done, all will try to see he is out; irrespective of how much he has done for the party or the nation. Putting all on one shoulder has its consequences. Manipur due to its own problems cannot see beyond its nose and is not interested in the national scenario to its own peril.

(The views expressed are personal)


First published:


narendra modiindia blocab ki baar 400 paariss baar 400 paarbjp 400 paarnd

RK Nimai

RK Nimai

The author is a former bureaucrat, Imphal, Manipur


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