2019 Election: A S.W.O.T. Analysis 

With less than a week to go before the first votes are cast in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, how do the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Others stack up against each other? A S.W.O.T. (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis by BloombergQuint of the three big political blocks attempts to find out who’s ahead in the electoral race.

The BJP

Perhaps the biggest strength of the BJP going into the general election is Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. Modi continues to be the face of the BJP and his popularity among the BJP's core voter base seems to be what the party is once again banking on. The importance of national security is another factor that the BJP is using to push its agenda. The Balakot air strikes is being projected as a show of strength by the party at election rallies. Senior journalist and political commentator Madhavan Narayanan told BloombergQuint that the BJP has already ensured that this election is polarised.

There has been systematic whipping up of national security and patriotic sentiment.
Madhavan Narayanan, Senior Journalist and Commentator

The BJP's finds itself in a tough spot on socio-economic issues like the lack of jobs and rural distress. However, according to Manu Sharma, editor of Advance Analytics at CVoter, anger regarding these issues is not necessarily directed towards the Prime Minister or the BJP government.

Socio-economic indicators cannot become the focus of anger against a leader unless there is a narrative to it.
Manu Sharma, Editor - Advance Analytics, CVoter

The big opportunity for the BJP lies in the Opposition’s inability to come together and put up a united front. The much talked about 'Mahagathbandhan' of non-BJP parties never really took off and the Opposition was frequently found wanting in its strategy against the BJP. The lack of any alliance has resulted in the Opposition having no clear leader to take on Narendra Modi.

The real threat for the BJP is perhaps its biggest strength, the party’s over-reliance on Modi. BJP’s top leadership seems to be going for broke by projecting Modi as the end-all for the BJP, Narayanan said, adding that it could be a problem in states beyond the Hindi-belt where Modi's popularity is low.

2019 Election: A S.W.O.T. Analysis 

The Congress

The Congress' 'NYAY' promise to provide a minimum income of Rs 72,000 a year to the poor has been a well thought out plan, Narayanan said. “It projects a 'Congress 2.0' but the timing of its release makes it difficult for the party cadre to spread the message to the masses.” Its recent victory in the assembly elections in the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh also provides the party with a strong base to contest the 2019 polls, he said.

The weakness for India's grand old party is its inability to go toe-to-toe with Narendra Modi. The Congress, he said, would be walking into the BJP's trap if it made the election all about leadership.

A big opportunity for the party could be Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress General Secretary from Uttar Pradesh East. She has certainly been a morale booster for the party cadre but that must not be confused with voters, Narayanan said. Priyanka Gandhi's biggest weakness, he said, is her inability to form an alliance in her region. The Nishad party recently joined hands with the BJP in India's most populous state.

The threat to the Congress is its 'big brother attitude' when it comes to seat sharing with potential allies. The Congress failed to form an alliance in Uttar Pradesh where the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have teamed up to take on the BJP.

2019 Election: A S.W.O.T. Analysis 

The Others

Strong regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, K Chandrasekhar Rao, Naveen Patnaik, Chandrababu Naidu, MK Stalin and Arvind Kejriwal have stood out for their vocal opposition against the BJP government. All these leaders have a strong presence in their respective states and that seems to be their biggest strength going into the general election.

The road to victory for the Opposition lies through the path of the others and not the Congress.
Manu Sharma, Editor- Advance Analytics, CVoter

The weakness, however, is the absence of a leader for this non-BJP, non-Congress front. Every leader has been attacking the government individually but there seems to be no coherent plan in place. If this block can overcome this hurdle, it could be a big opportunity for them in the 2019 election.

The big downside for this block is the threat of another Modi wave. If the BJP is able to retain its majority in the Lok Sabha once again, it would render these leaders redundant, regardless of the seats won, just like in 2014.

2019 Election: A S.W.O.T. Analysis 

You can watch the entire discussion here