As the PM candidate, Modi will have 3 major challenges

The BJP finally overcomes the strong resistance put up by party patriarch LK Advani and senior leader Sushma Swaraj  (but not in a happy note for sure) to announce Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Congratulations to the party. But what lies next for the party from here on? Will this move pay off from the word go or will the BJP face even bigger challenges?

Whatever be the consequences, there is no denying that this was the most viable option that the party had ahead of an election which is immensely important for its own future. For it the BJP fails to get back to power this time and face defeat for the third consecutive time, there will be serious question marks over its new generation leaders and the implications could be alarming.

But an ardent BJP supporter will feel relaxed now for the leader of his choice has been made the party's PM candidate. However, from here on, Modi's BJP will have three major challenges to meet and it will be interesting to see how the man will deliver on what is his first national assignment.

Challenge 1: Intra-party differences will not disappear overnight

Challenge number one will remain the section in the BJP which has objected to his elevation at this moment. Modi will have to take Advani and Sushma Swaraj into confidence from here on and work on settling the intra-party differences. Advani though looks to be out of contention for the prime minister's post in India ever again unless some miracle happens. But Modi might have to face a bigger challenge from other leaders who have not accepted his PM candidature with a happy mind.

BJP's internal differences will not disappear overnight after Modi's elevation

Even if he becomes the prime minister in future, these unhappy party colleagues might create problem in governance for him. A long-term strategy is required to avoid goof-up at the top in case a BJP-led government comes to power. The drama that unfolded over Modi's anointment has perhaps already made a few quarters suspicious about the BJP's internal unity even if it is in power. The issue of inviting BS Yeddyurappa back into the party could emerge a major challenge for Modi.

Challenge 2: A 'rattled' Congress will retaliate even harder

The second challenge will be the Congress. The latter, even though reasserted that Modi's anointment is the BJP's internal matter, but there is no doubt that this internal matter will also put it under a lot of pressure to announce its own PM candidate. It will have a major dilemma for projecting Manmohan Singh as its PM candidate again won't be a viable idea for both age and credibility will speak against him. An ailing Sonia Gandhi doesn't look to be a contender and this leaves only Rahul Gandhi, the party vice-president who has been reluctant to vie for the top post.

Even the prime minister also endorsed Rahul as the future leader and just like an average BJP supporter, a Congress follower will also heavily bank on him as the party's future leader. But Modi's challenge will be the motormouth Congress leaders more than Rahul, who hasn't taken the BJP leader's name even once during his speeches. A desperate Congress is most likely to step up its attack against Modi and a few Vanzara-like incidents will bolster it all the more. Modi will be needing the backing of his own partymen to withstand the mounting pressure from the arch-rivals, who have mostly treated him as an outsider in the power centre.

Challenge 3: Finding and managing allies

And the third and the most difficult challenge will be the regional parties. Modi will have a herculean task before him to gather allies to form the government at the Centre. Now, if he can lead the BJP to win around 170-180 seats, then finding allies won't be very difficult. For in Indian politics, opportunism plays a bigger role than ideology and the anti-Congress forces could be seen making a beeline to back Modi to get a taste of power, even if it is for a day.

Those political forces, who are targeting Modi as an untouchable politician, could be seen taking a U-turn if their poll prospects turn out as per the expectations. Now, it will depend on Modi's management capacity to do a Vajpayee and unite a fragile coalition so that the country doesn't require a mid-term election following a debacle.

So Modi will basically have to look after the differences in the party, in the potential alliance and also those with the opposition parties. It won't be an easy game by any means but Modi is also a tested politician who have made all the way up. It will be an interesting journey for the man, his party and the nation in general from now on.

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