PM Modi, who took the oath for his second term on May 29, 2019, is all set to become the longest-serving non-congress PM. With 2,273 working days in office as on 15th August, overcame the record of late Atul Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday.
Late Atul Bihari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India first for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for 13 months from 1998 to 1999, followed by a full term from 1999 to 2004. And now, PM Modi has surpassed the record by his tenure of 5 years of his first victory in 2014, followed by his second in 2019. In May 2014, Modi was first elected PM when he led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections winning 282 seats in the Lower House. Five years later, he returned to power with an unprecedented 303 MPs. Other than Vajpayee and Modi, PM with long tenure includes the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who served for almost 17 years or 6,130 days; his daughter Indira Gandhi served for 5,829 days, and Dr Manmohan Singh was PM for ten years or a total of 3,565 days.
As Modi becomes the longest-serving non-congress PM, it gives a firm counter to congress argument that only congress can provide stable governance. His tenure saw a lot of ups and downs with Kaliachak riots in 2016, to the Delhi riots in 2020 resulting in 53 deaths. Though BJP’s decision-making policies have resulted in polarisation across the length of India, it has been successful in implementing its long-pending agendas. Article 370 nullification, Ram Mandir construction and NRC proceedings, all count to be the ‘masterstrokes’ of Modi’s legacy. Though, it is believed that it is too early to term these as ‘masterstrokes’ or ‘absolute failures’.
“Some PMs left a mark on polity while others on governance. He has made a mark on both,” said BJP national vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe on Modi’s governance. Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said, “Prime Minister Modi will be remembered for setting scary, disappointing and nation-damaging records.” “He is the first Prime Minister to give the unwarranted gift of the highest unemployment, giving a clean chit to land grabber China apart from being the architect of biggest and scariest economic disaster existent in India,” Shergill added.
With over three years left in his tenure, Modi has a lot to do. He must take over the younger generations that demand nothing but a robust education system and economic strengthening. Unemployment is a significant issue. As the GDP of India falls on an all-time low mark and unemployment rises, India has a long way to go. Managing the over-burdened health system during the pandemic is also essential. Even if we ignore the economic factors, the responsibility to instil a sense of secularism and fraternity also lies on the shoulder of the government. Hence, though PM Modi marks a milestone by becoming the longest-serving non-congress Prime Minister, he still has a long way to go.