Can Narendra Modi’s ‘chaos theory’ mitigate the challenge of mega Opposition in 2019?

Narendra Modi’s exhaustive interview conducted by the Swarajya magazine throws incisive light on the tactics that BJP may adopt in 2019. A detailed list of questions covering diverse topics elicited an even more detailed response from the prime minister, revealing the strengths that he may bank on and the vulnerabilities that he must grapple with.
It was apparent that Modi recognises the true nature of the perception battle that he must conquer to seal a return mandate next year. And he also seemed aware of his biggest handicap going into the battle — in his quest for deep-seated, structural reforms that may carry long-term benefits for the economy, Modi has inflicted short-term pain on the electorate.
This provides the Opposition with a handy stick. While the reforms are necessary in order to usher in true “achhe din”, the transitional cost of these key reforms can have a magnifier effect if juxtaposed with the promise of “achhe din”. To mitigate this challenge, Modi must convince the electorate that he is on the right path, give a detailed account of the steps that he has taken to deliver on his promise and hope that public imposes trust in his intentions. This is crucial, because unlike in 2014 he can no longer bank on a narrative of hope. Some of these cues were apparent from the interview while some less so.Aside of these signals, it was also interesting to note how Modi plans to counter the increase in Opposition unity index. It is almost a given that in 2019, the Congress will play the role of a facilitator and try to bring all non-BJP parties on a common platform — either on a pre-poll or post-poll arrangement. The prime minister hopes to offset this strategy through twin planks of chaos theory and development.The “chaos theory” is Modi’s gambit to show that even if the Opposition were to stitch an “anti-Modi” alliance (which he dismissed as unlikely), it will make for an unstable arrangement where the partners would be too busy mitigating inherent challenges to focus on governance.“In any election, a non-ideological and opportunist coalition is the best guarantee for chaos. The next election will be a choice between governance and development on one side and chaos on the other,” he said during the interview.
Conversely, this casts BJP in a favourable light as the only party that may prevent India from slipping into chaos and provide the stability that the nation needs. Modi also portrayed the “mahagathbandhan” as a grand alliance of power hungry leaders who have no agenda except “personal survival” and “removal of Modi”. He also drove a distinction between the political situation in 1977, 1989 (when a grand alliance came together to defeat the Congress) and 2019. According to him, while 1977 and 1989 were necessitated by the Emergency and the Bofors scandal.