From decisions to radical policy changes, the historic 8-year rule of the Modi government is characterised by several watershed movements.
One key aspect of the Modi rule at the Center has been the political consolidation of the BJP. In the Modi era, India has witnessed a tectonic shift in its political landscape, spurred by the fading footprint of the Congress and the electoral dominance of the saffron party.
Here are 8 political highlights of the last 8 years of Modi rule …
Capturing key states
The BJP has expanded its footprint from just 6 states in May 2014 to 17 states in 2022.
Since 2014, the BJP has managed to win power in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh — not once but twice, swept the entire northeast region where it barely had any presence before 2014 and clinched crucial northern states.
Moreover, in key states like Bihar, the BJP is now the senior NDA partner with a higher seat share than its ally JD(U).
Despite some electoral setbacks in states like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the BJP’s overall gains have been rather impressive.
Presently, the party rules over a population of roughly 70 crore people and has chief ministers in as many as 12 states.
Uttar Pradesh conquest
The BJP’s electoral successes of the last few years would have lacked the punch had it not been for its dominating show in Uttar Pradesh.
It all started with the BJP’s buoyant performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when it won a historic 71 out of 80 seats.
In the subsequent 2017 state elections, the BJP wave swept the state again as the party won a historic mandate with 312 of the 403 seats.
Going into the polls without a CM face, the party reaped the fruits of Prime Minister Modi’s popularity at the national level. In essence, the voters gave a big thumbs up to PM Modi who proved to be too tough to beat for even a star alliance comprised of Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi.
In 2019 too, the BJP repeated its dominating show in UP, winning 62 of the 80 seats.
And in the recently held assembly elections, the saffron party — led by CM Yogi Adityanath this time — scripted history by winning a consecutive term, albeit with a depleted seat share.
Dilution of grand old party
PM Modi gave the call for a “Congress-mukt” Bharat in the run-up to the 2014 election. In the last 8 years, the saffron party has left no stone unturned to turn that into a reality.
The BJP’s meteoric rise in the last 8 years has inversely proportional to the Congress’s steep decline.
In the last 8 years, PM Modi has used every platform to contrast his government’s performance to over 60 years of Congress rule, and helped his party win crucial elections in states where the grand old party once held sway.
Due to factors like BJP’s 24×7 politics, PM Modi’s mass appeal and internal squabbles, the Congress now finds itself ruling just two states in 2022. Compare this to 2014, when it was in power in 13 states, either on its own or with the help of allies.
20+ years in office
Modi may have completed eight years as the Prime Minister of India but he was no stranger to ruling even before 2014.
With 8 years at the Center and over 12 years as the chief minister of Gujarat, PM Modi has been in the office for a continuous 20-plus years.
This has also made him the longest-serving head of an elected government (state & centre) among all the prime ministers who have preceded him.
In all, PM Modi has been in power for a total of 7,541 days.
Setbacks in Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan
Despite making deep inroads in the country, the BJP suffered several electoral setbacks along the way.
In Maharashtra, the saffron party lost its grip on power in 2019 despite winning the elections after its long-standing ally Shiv Sena snapped ties with the party. In Rajasthan, the Congress managed to topple the party and Vasundhara Raje’s rule, albeit with a slim margin.
Similarly, in 2015, the party lost power to the Grand Alliance (JD(U) + RJD + Congress) in Bihar. However, it managed to come back to power in 2020 after Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP again.
But perhaps the biggest setback for BJP came in West Bengal last year when it failed to topple the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government.
The hard-fought elections, which came during the peak of the second wave of the Covid pandemic, put the political strength of both the parties to test. The BJP pooled all its resources to take on the mighty Mamata on her home turf.
Despite massive improvements in its seat share (from 3 in 2016 to 77 in 2021) – owing to the depletion of Congress and Left – the BJP failed to dislodge Mamata.
The BJP’s increasing footprint has covered almost all of India, except the South where the party has yet to make inroads.
The five states of South India — Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka — elect 129 MPs to the Lok Sabha. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, these five states can play a big role in forming the government, so it has become crucial for the BJP to increase its support base in these states.
Since its formation in 1980, the BJP has been continuously trying to increase its base in South India.
Karnataka is the only state in South India where the BJP has managed to form its government besides the Union Territory of Puducherry.
But despite all its efforts, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu remain a challenge for the saffron party.
The BJP is determined to change this.
PM Modi has already set his eyes on states like Tamil Nadu, where the BJP has not enjoyed much success. After the vacuum left behind by stalwarts like Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi, the BJP is keen to make gains in the southern state.
The BJP top leadership also has high hopes from Telangana with leaders like JP Nadda and Amit Shah regularly touring the state.
Most bankable politician
Be it state, national or even civic polls, the BJP has milked PM Modi’s popularity to the hilt since tasting victory in 2014.
Even as the Prime Minister, Modi has regularly campaigned for the BJP in state elections and helped the party script crucial victories over the years.
The 2017 UP and Gujarat elections are a case in point wherein PM Modi addressed hundreds of rallies to help improve the party’s prospects.
Over the last eight years in power, PM Modi has often used the development plan to woo the voters at the hustings, highlighting the various schemes launched by his government.
Rajya Sabha dominance
From heavily trailing the UPA-led Congress in Rajya Sabha in 2014, the BJP has now not only gone past its opponents but even secured the elusive 100-seat mark in the upper house a few weeks ago; albeit for a few days.
In 2014, the BJP’s strength in Rajya Sabha was 55. Currently, it has 95 members in the upper house.
In the coming Rajya elections, the party is likely to retain 20 seats and may end up with 91 seats in the house. But with seven nominated seats still vacant, the party will hover close to the 100-mark again.
This, along with support from non-NDA parties like BJD, will help the party in the crucial presidential elections slated for July this year.