Reportedly if one word has been unavoidably clingy to any electoral discourse in India, that is anti-incumbency. In plain and simple terms, it refers to a sentiment in favor of voting out incumbent parties or politicians. But if one leader in recent history seems to have made the concept a thing of the past, replacing it with pro-incumbency, that’s narendra Modi. On december 4, just a day after election results were out, the prime minister probably for the first time articulated in clear terms: “When there is good governance, the word anti-incumbency becomes irrelevant.” He said some call it ‘pro-incumbency’, while others label it ‘good governance’. While PM Modi’s detractors may have construed it as a trump speech, the man doesn’t utter words without evidence.

On Thursday, the prime minister backed up his claim with proof. It was a regular bjp parliamentary party meeting ahead of the session which turned out to be a “master class” in politics, a word used by a sitting Union minister while describing the experience. PM Modi entered the meeting with facts and data. He was contrasting the bjp and congress the prime opposition party. He said of the 40 times that the congress faced assembly election after one term, in relatively recent electoral history, they could make a comeback only seven times. The success rate is below 20 per cent, in fact, just 18 per cent.

Collectively, these were some of the schemes that the prime minister intended to mention when he referred to the term ‘good governance’. It was this ‘good governance’ he wanted to underline to his colleagues in parliament when he proudly claimed that the schemes helped the bjp have a success rate of 56 per cent of coming back to power in state elections. And, probably, it is this ‘good governance’ that gives the prime minister confidence to come back to power in the Centre in 2024. When he repeatedly says “poverty is the biggest caste”, he has his eyes fixed on ‘good governance’ which translated to ‘pro-incumbency’.

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