3 factors that ended PM Narendra Modi's honeymoon run

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Narendra Modi stormed to power in New Delhi in May last year and raised a lot of expectation about the future of India's governance.

The BJP not only earned a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha election in April-May, it also rode the Modi wave to make history in states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand.

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But early in 2015, the saffron party suffered three major jolts and these have in a way ended the honeymoon period of PM Modi. The road will only get rough from this point.

BJP's overconfidence smashed by AAP

The first of the debacle occurred in Delhi where Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) decimated the BJP in the prestigious assembly election despite the latter deploying its entire might to take on Kejriwal who had abruptly left the chief minister's office a year ago.

The BJP had assumed Kejriwal's irresponsible act of 2014 would make the poll a one-sided one and targeted him with all its force.

An outsider in Kiran Bedi was nominated as the chief ministerial candidate to take on Kejriwal and bury the internal rift in the Delhi chapter of the BJP. But the entire strategy backfired and the BJP managed to win just three seats in the 70-member assembly. It was the first major loss for the saffron party after Modi's takeover as the PM.

PDP's politics left the BJP battered in J&K

The second instance that hurt the BJP took place in Jammu and Kashmir. The saffron party fared magnificently in the J&K poll held in October last year as it won the highest vote-share in an alien territory.
But since no party could get a majority, the BJP engaged itself in arriving a deal with the People's Democratic Party (PDP), which received the most number of seats, to form a government in the state.

The deal was finalised after a considerable time but soon after the PDP-BJP government took charge, all hell broke lose. PDP Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed released a separatist leader, posing a major threat to the nationalist BJP.

PM Modi had to defend his party's commitment towards the country in the Parliament but the damage had already been done. There was demand from BJP supporters to end the alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, but even that looked a mockery for the BJP had already done a lot of compromise while forging an alliance with the PDP to form an alliance.

Mishandling of Nirbhaya interview & documentary fiasco

The third episode that left the BJP leadership embarrassed was the controversial interview of one of the Nirbhaya gangrape accused in Tihar Jail by a foreign film maker and a documentary that was made subsequently.

The BJP government at the Centre strangely turned too aggressive to stop airing of the documentary and even tried to run its writ beyond the jurisdiction.

One suspects the Modi government lacked the necessary PR skills to find a moderate way to handle the issue and the stubborn initiative to suppress the film actually backfired. It gave a sort of legitimacy to the saffron camp's patriarchal ideological base, hurting the prime minister's image in the process.

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