Modi's Parliament Speech: Aggressive and Sarcastic in 2019, Conciliatory in 2024

Modi’s emphasis on Vishwas extends an olive branch to the Opposition and the public.

4 min read

As the 18th Lok Sabha session commences following the 2024 general elections, the political atmosphere in India is charged with anticipation and scrutiny. Despite the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) securing another term with Narendra Modi at the helm, there is a palpable shift in the dynamics of Indian politics.

Prime Minister Modi, who has been the face of the BJP’s campaign, now leads a government with a reduced majority. The NDA's tally has dropped by around 60 seats compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This decline is indicative of the evolving political landscape, where BJP's brand of majoritarian politics is being increasingly challenged.

The prime minister's speech before the start of the 18th Lok Sabha session outside the new Parliament House reflected this shift. Contrasting sharply with his post-2019 address, Modi's tone this time was more measured and conciliatory. The bombast of previous victories gave way to a recognition of the altered mandate from the Indian populace. While still critical of the Congress, especially regarding historical grievances like the Emergency, there was a noticeable plea for cooperation and a humbler approach to governance.

As the new session unfolds, the challenge for the Modi government will be to navigate this complex terrain, balancing assertive governance with a renewed spirit of cooperation. The 18th Lok Sabha session will not only test the resilience of the BJP’s leadership but also the robustness of Indian democracy in adapting to new political realities.


In his speech before the 18th Lok Sabha, Modi stated, “We believe that a majority is required to run the government, but consensus is very important to run the country.”

Contrastingly, in his 2019 speech before the 17th Lok Sabha, Modi said, “I hope that the Opposition should now stop worrying about numbers. The public has given certain numbers to them, but for us, every word and feeling is precious.” This indicated a more directive stance, emphasising the Opposition’s responsibility to align with the government’s agenda.

The 2019 approach suggested a focus on leveraging the BJP’s electoral majority to drive its policies, whereas the 2024 address reflects a matured strategy, prioritising consensus and collective decision-making.

A critical difference between his speeches in 2019 and 2024 is the addition of Vishwas (trust) to his Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas mantra. This focus on trust is essential, especially as Modi leads his first coalition government.

In the 18th Lok Sabha, the coalition includes seasoned partners like the Telugu Desam Party and Janata Dal (United), who have extensive experience in coalition politics, unlike Modi's BJP. The era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, where coalition politics was navigated effectively, is less prominent within the current BJP leadership. Thus, Vishwas becomes crucial for smooth governance.

Modi’s emphasis on Vishwas extends an olive branch to the Opposition and the public, aiming to cultivate a collaborative atmosphere in the Lok Sabha. As the nation faces complex socio-economic challenges, trust in leadership and policies is paramount. Modi's speech underscores this understanding, positioning trust as the cornerstone of India’s future trajectory on the global stage.

Additionally, in the 17th Lok Sabha, Modi's approach to the Opposition was subtly sarcastic, as he quipped, “There are several members in the House who make debates lively and place some wonderful thoughts and ideas; but as most of it is constructive, it doesn't match with the TRPs. But sometimes the members will get the opportunity even beyond the TRPs.”

This statement, while acknowledging the Opposition's contributions, carried a hint of irony.

However, the speech before the 18th Lok Sabha, despite being relatively measured, saw a few moments of typical Modi-style aggression, as he invoked the dark days of the Emergency, casting a stark reminder of past political transgressions and signalling a tougher approach towards the Opposition, especially the Congress party.

The prime minister’s message was clear: while the need for collaboration and consensus remains, the BJP will not shy away from combative politics when necessary. This shift underscores a readiness to ensure that the BJP maintains its space and influence in the legislative process. The evolution in Modi's rhetoric, therefore, reflects a strategic blend of cooperative intent with a robust defence of political ground.

Finally, before the 17th Lok Sabha session, Prime Minister Modi’s rhetoric focused on his governance model as the key to transforming India into a developed nation. This time, his speech conveyed a clear message to the newly elected MPs about the necessity for inclusive development and the urgency of accelerating decision-making processes.

Modi’s directives to his cabinet ministers were explicit: remain focused, avoid distractions, and create a comprehensive roadmap to steer India towards development. This change in tone is partly driven by the BJP's relative shortfall in the elections, signalling that some MPs had not effectively engaged with their constituencies where the party needed to improve its ground-level impact.

Each cabinet minister's role becomes crucial, and Modi’s speech underscored the importance of unity among coalition partners. This strategic pivot from continuity to collaboration not only addresses the immediate political realities but also signals a matured understanding of governance.

(The author, a columnist and research scholar, teaches journalism at St. Xavier's College [autonomous], Kolkata. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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