‘Modi’ goes missing from PM’s speeches, NDA is the new focus


In four speeches made since the Lok Sabha election results were announced last Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mentioned the National Democratic Alliance 60 times. Barring once, he has refrained from referring to himself in the third person.

Contrast this with the last four election rallies that he addressed, in which he referred to himself in the third person 29 times and mentioned the phrases “Modi government” 13 times, and “Modi guarantee” four times.

The change in the prime minister’s language is a reflection of the new political reality: unable to win a majority on its own, the Bharatiya Janata Party is now dependent on its NDA allies.

In his victory speech after the 2019 elections, when the BJP won 303 seats in the 543-member house, the prime minister had mentioned his party 12 times, and the alliance on just three occasions. However, last week, addressing party workers after it was apparent that the BJP’s tally was near the 240-mark, Modi mentioned BJP just seven times and the National Democratic Alliance 16 times.

Modi has also refrained from mentioning Muslims directly and indirectly in his speeches since he came back to power with a significantly reduced mandate. In the course of the election, Modi had repeatedly cast India’s Muslims as a pampered minority, pitting them against other disadvantaged communities.

NDA vs BJP

The BJP’s election campaign had pivoted around a set of promises called “Modi ki guarantee”, or Modi’s guarantee, a phrase that served as the tagline of its manifesto. The prime minister had repeatedly used the phrase in his speeches.

However, after the results, Modi has abandoned use of the phrase, instead highlighting the “guarantee” of the National Democratic Alliance.

On June 4, in his first speech after the results, Modi referred to his second term saying: “The second term of NDA became a guarantee of development and legacy. In 2024, with this guarantee…we went to every corner of the country to seek blessings of the people. Today, for the third time, NDA has received blessings.”

There was also a difference in the importance that Modi gave to the National Democratic Alliance.

In his victory speech in 2019, Modi began his speech with a reference to Home Minister Amit Shah and “senior colleagues of the Bharatiya Janata Party”. He came to the NDA later, thanking his party’s allies for their contribution to the win.

In contrast, in his speech on June 4, Modi mentioned the alliance in his very first sentence, hailing the results as a victory of the National Democratic Alliance.

In his speech, Modi specifically lauded the performance of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party – two allies key for the sustenance of the government at the Centre.

He mentioned Naidu and Kumar again in his speech at a Parliamentary Party meeting of the National Democratic Alliance on June 7. At this event, Modi even said that consensus was more important than majority.

He said: “Majority is necessary to run the government, that is a principle of democracy but consensus is very important to run the country and I want to assure the countrymen from here that the way you have given us the privilege of running the government by giving us majority, it is the responsibility of all of us that we will continuously strive for consensus.”

Brand Modi fades?

Another key aspect of the prime minister’s post-results speeches is a marked decline in the number of times he refers to himself.

In the four election rallies that Modi addressed in Hoshiarpur of Punjab, Mayurbhanj and Kendrapara of Odisha and Mathurapur of West Bengal before campaigning for the last phase of election ended on May 30, the prime minister referred to himself in the third person 29 times.

In Kendrapara alone, his speech featured 12 references to himself. Linking his party’s success to himself, he said: “The more the number of [BJP] MLAs you elect, the more power you will give to Modi”.

Since the results, Modi has publicly spoken on four occasions – at the party headquarters on June 4, at the NDA Parliamentary Party meeting on June 7, at a media briefing on the same day after staking claim to form the government, and to officials of the prime minister’s office on Monday.

Only in the speech at the party headquarters did Modi mention himself.

Addressing his party workers, the prime minister said: “Your hard work, your sweat in such heat, this inspires Modi to work continuously…If you work for 10 hours, Modi will work for 18 hours. If you take two steps, Modi will take four steps. We Indians will walk together, we will take the country forward… In the third term, the country will write a new chapter of big decisions and this is Modi’s guarantee.”

Shift from anti-Muslim rhetoric

Throughout his election campaign, Modi repeatedly made false claims that if the Opposition INDIA bloc came to power, it would snatch reservation benefits from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, and hand them over to Muslims. He also targeted Opposition-ruled states that included Muslim communities in the Other Backward Classes category, despite such measures being in existence for decades.

After the results, Modi has fallen silent on the subject, avoiding any direct reference to Muslims. The BJP’s allies, however, have been speaking up.

Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party has said that its government in Andhra Pradesh will not discontinue the 4% quota for Muslim OBC groups in the state. The Janata Dal (United) has also said that it will not allow anti-Muslim campaigns.



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