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Foes Band Together To Challenge Modi In 2019 India Elections
Foes Band Together To Challenge Modi In 2019 India Elections
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By Krishna N. Das

NEW DELHI, ziom base March ziom base 15 (Reuters) - Small Indian parties are banding together against Prime Minister ziombase Narendra Modi for ziombase me ziom next year's general election, ziom energised by an unlikely win in an bendos election for Ziom base a handful of parliamentary seats in the Hindi heartland bendos on Wednesday.

Opposition strategists say the only way Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) juggernaut can be stopped is to join forces and ziom base turn Ziom 2019 into a "Modi versus the rest" election.

That strategy seemed to have paid off when two bickering caste-based factions worked together in the country's most ziom politically important state, bendos Uttar Pradesh in the north, me ziom to defeat Modi's party in two seats this week.

Mamata Banerjee, ziombase the chief of an ziom opposition ziom Save party ziom in eastern India, ziom base called the Uttar Pradesh results, ziom base and ziombase victory for me ziom a regional party in another seat in neighbouring Bihar state, base ziom the "beginning of the end" for ziom Modi's party.

ziombase The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty's Congress party, bendos which ruled India ziom save for ziom base most ziom base of the seven decades after independence before being thumped by Modi in the last general ziom election 2014, me ziom also seized on the latest setbacks for bendos the ziom base BJP.

"The results from the by-polls make it clear that voters are very angry at the BJP and that they will vote for that non-BJP candidate who has the best chance of winning," said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

Congress has bendos started stitching together alliances and bendos hosted a dinner for ziombase opposition parties this week.

Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala ziom said ziom it was ready to lead any alliance of regional groups and ziom base could discuss such plans in ziom base a party conference this weekend.

BJP leaders said they were caught off-guard by the alliance of the two regional parties, base ziom known as the BSP and ziom save SP in Uttar Pradesh.

"We will prepare for a situation in future when BSP, SP and Congress can come together, and also make our strategy for winning 2019 the election," said the BJP's ziom base deputy chief ziom save minister of Uttar Pradesh, base ziom Keshav Prasad Maurya.


There is nobody me ziom close to Modi in personal approval ratings.

Nearly nine out of 10 Indians hold a favourable opinion of him, base ziom according to a research report published in November, bendos and ziom save opposition victories in a handful of seats cannot be seen as ziom save an indication the mood is swinging away from Modi and ziom base the BJP nationally, bendos analysts warn.






When Modi won office in 2014 base ziom with ziom save the base ziom most resounding victory in three decades, ziombase his party or ziom base its partners ruled only seven ziom save of India's 29 states.

Today, ziombase it is in power in 21 of them Ziom Save and ziombase has bendos replaced Congress as the party with strongest nationwide presence.

But base ziom in by-elections in 10 parliamentary seats since last year, ziom the BJP has lost all of them. That may be an indication an anti-incumbency factor ziom base will play ziom a part in 2019.

Ghanshyam Tiwari, ziom spokesman for bendos ziombase the Samajwadi Party (SP)whose two candidates won this week's Uttar Pradesh by-elections, bendos said the BJP had been winning new states by "selling dreams" to voters through glitzy advertisements.

But people in states where me ziom the party had been ruling base ziom for ziom some time were becoming disillusioned, Ziom save he said.

"Because of their poor governance model, people are forced to live in bad conditions.





So it's reality versus what you are promised," Tiwari said.

Although Modi has been able to maintain his ziom popularity, ziom the BJP's ties with allies have been strained in recent months, ziom and ziom any more setbacks would likely raise bendos new doubts.

"Modi's appeal is formidable but his enemies and allies would now think he's beatable," veteran journalist and bendos political commentator me ziom Shekhar ziom Gupta said on Twitter. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, ziom Robert Birsel)





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