Socio-political agendasVarious national initiatives introduced by the Modi government since 2014 such as the Digital India Initiative, Jan Dhan Yojana for access to financial services, PM Awas Yojana for housing, PM Mudra loans, and Make in India project were welcomed by citizens across classes. Consequently, millions of beneficiaries of these projects, or “labharthis” were considered a crucial voter base for the party’s second-term win in the national elections and the state elections of the politically critical state of Uttar Pradesh. Recently, the Parliament passed the historic Women’s Reservation Bill which ensures 33 percent of seats in state legislative assemblies and the lower house of Indian Parliament. The legislation is scheduled to come into effect after the publication of the next census, the date for which has not been set.
During its second term, the government also executed two key missions on its ideological and political agenda namely the construction of the Ram Temple and the revocation of Article 370 and Kashmir’s autonomous status in 2019. Both are highly contentious and polarizing issues in India’s political history. The next year, the government faced farmers’ ire with the initiation of three controversial farm bills, that aimed to deregulate the government-run wholesale market system and remove middlemen. It led to widespread protests forcing the government to repeal the laws after a year. BJP-led central and state governments in Manipur also received widespread flak for political ineptitude in handling the ethnic violence in India’s northeastern state in May 2023.
Economic agendasA majority of the public welcomed the schemes of invigorating the economy through increased foreign direct investments and the reformed “one-size-fits-all” tax policy with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax in July 2017. However, overnight demonetization intended as a measure to root out corruption and cease the circulation of black money caused marked disruptions in the economy.
The high unemployment rate, low farm income, and little growth in worker wages remain a cause of concern for the general public. Despite these challenges, the Indian population’s support for the Prime Minister remains undeterred. The upcoming state elections will be the litmus test for the newly formed INDIA alliance as an opposition to the incumbent NDA government and a precursor to the general elections next year.