1. Bihar: This is the Big Daddy of them all. It is a crushing blow for Modi. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar makes a comeback as do Modi-baiters like RJD’s Laloo Prasad Yadav and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
The Opposition will be united as never before and you can be sure that they will get together for all elections, agitations, Parliament walk-outs and scuttling of BJP bills from now on.
Modi faces a very stormy time ahead thanks to this loss. He may not be able to continue with his “business as usual” approach and may have to re-invent himself yet again.
2. Dadri #AwardWapsi: While Uttar Pradesh has seen increasing crime and violence after SP took over and law and order happens to be a State issue, the blame of the Dadri incident has been successfully transferred to Modi.
Both the Indian and foreign press have blasted him and we had the high-profile #AwardWapsi campaign which targeted Modi directly.
Again, this came on the backdrop of things like the FTII students’ protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chouhan. Writers, artists and Bollywood stars have been blasting Modi day in and day out.
3. Delhi: Losing is one thing but getting thrashed 3-67 is another thing altogether. Modi hater and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal scored his biggest victory. The Lutyens Club was the most thrilled because it happened in their backyard.
You could say this was the first step in all anti-Modi forces uniting and they saw their next success in Bihar. Kejriwal will be projected as a Prime Ministerial candidate again in 2019 and now most Opposition leaders will be open to doing business with him and campaigning with him.
4. #LalitGate: Modi has so far stayed clear of scam allegations, but this time it was different. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje were hounded weeks on end by TV channels.
All the good work that the ruling government did that month was overshadowed. They say an ounce of image is worth a pound of performance. Well this was like a pound of bad image.
5. Lok Sabha derailment: The BJP-Congress seat share in Lok Sabha is 282-44. That was not reflected in the way Sonia stalled Parliament day in and day out and stopped government functioning.
At the end of the day the Prime Minister heads Parliament and it’s his responsibility. Rajya Sabha is out of BJP’s control. If they can’t control the Lok Sabha too, then they are in deep trouble.
Modi has a grand development agenda and will need to push many pieces of key legislation right to 2019.
6. Land Bill: Last year Modi tried to push his Land Bill and failed. He then said he was open to changes and took inputs from all the parties. His supporters expected that he would get his act together and push for a new revised Land Bill in 2015 at least.
But it is a total non-starter. How this affects infrastructure projects in the coming year remains to be seen.
7. GST: This was the biggest shock in terms of government legislation. Most thought that the Goods and Services Tax (India) Bill, which had widespread consensus, would be passed this year.
Many business houses had even started making changes expecting it would be implemented in the 2016-17 financial year. Even that appears to be a non-starter like the Land Bill.
8. Church attack campaign: Modi had the image of a Hindutva hardliner in 2002. Since then he has slowly been shedding that image for one of development. Since 2014, he has been cultivating the image of a statesman.
Like the Dadri incident, church attacks were also successfully reported to present Modi as a religiously intolerant leader. Again that subsequently led to the current campaign against intolerance.
Overall it has been a torrid year for Modi. He has faced flak all his life and has usually come out of all of that. Out of all these #BlowToModi moments comes #Modi’sBiggestTest!