Which narrative is going to work with the voters? Is it the positivity of  Prime Minister Modi’s health insurance scheme, aimed at 50 crore of the poorest of the poor?  

Or is it Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s high decibel accusations of corruption at the highest level of government in the Rafale fighter deal?

Can a corruption allegation, even if it is mostly a charge of crony capitalism, resonate with the voting public?

Is the Congress and Communist call for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe, or exhorting the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) to confiscate the Rafale files, in national interest?

Particularly since the weapons configuration on the 36 ordered fighter jets is a secret between seller France and buyer India, and one that both Pakistan and China are keen to learn about?

Another possible motive of the Congress, quite obvious to many, is to deflect attention from several corruption and tax evasion investigations, involving the top echelons of the Congress leadership. Creating a hullabaloo over Rafale, they are probably hoping, will muddy the waters in their favour.

This campaign rhetoric has already been going on for some 4 months without gaining much traction, but the Congress and its president seem highly committed to keep up the pressure.

However, since the principal opposition party seems to have no hard evidence in its possession to substantiate its ever wilder allegations, a legal offensive against the government appears difficult.

Meanwhile, a thousand people had already availed of “Modicare” as the international media would have it, with its echoes of Obamacare, in the first 48 hours since launch.  

The ambitious and gargantuan scheme is more properly called the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS). It is also being referred to as 'Ayushman Bharat' and lately, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (PMJAY).

Modi himself dubbed it a game-changer, implying that this is a  non-discriminatory, “sabka-sath-sabka-vikas” horse, that he intends to ride into victory.

The NHPS is slated to benefit 10.74 crore families at first, thereby an estimated 50 crore people, with a fully government-funded health insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year. It will cover secondary and tertiary care inclusive of hospitalization. It will, at full stretch, cover a population comparable to that of Canada, Mexico and the US combined. And it will certainly boost the healthcare insurance industry to unprecedented levels with an attendant growth in jobs.

The  Congress, and some other opposition elements, have been quick, perhaps out of a foreboding panic, to cast doubts about  the feasibility of its funding and implementation, calling it a “hoax” and an election season “jumla”.

The PMJAY is ten times bigger in terms of cover, than existing healthcare schemes for the poor in some states, no greater than Rs 50,000 per family. However, this scheme, like almost any other, does not cover as many poor people as some of the dissenting states would like.

And as usual, despite healthcare being a state subject neglected by most for over 70 years, some dissenting states want the Centre to take on more than the 60:40 cost split of it. They have suggested 75: 25 instead, and demanded inclusion of many more numbers of people in their state.

Let us see how swiftly this massive and countrywide scheme rolls out.  It has been accepted by all in its present form, except for Telangana, Odisha, Kerala, Punjab and Delhi. However there are signs that these states too may soon come on board if their comments and objections are addressed.

And also because they will not want to be caught on the wrong foot if PMJAY succeeds as expected by the government.

Nandan Nilekani, of Infosys fame, who was instrumental in building the Aadhar infrastructure and the Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN), has been asked to work out the distribution for NHPS by Niti Aayog, the government’s primary think-tank. As he has the requisite experience to handle such a huge scheme, and has accepted the challenge, good outcomes may be anticipated.

The opposition, out-classed on this initiative, is in any case finding it difficult to come together owing to differences between its various leaders and their priorities.

The only thing they theoretically agree on is that they want to remove Narendra Modi from the prime ministership.  For some, like Congress president Rahul Gandhi, anyone else in BJP will do, if push comes to shove.

In terms of a policy beyond this, the opposition seems to have found nothing  to project. The Congress promises to dismantle GST if voted into power while being ambivalent on its own leadership role. Irrespective, it says it will grant special status to Andhra Pradesh. It loses no opportunity to malign and  cast aspersions on the RSS, side with the separatists in J&K, and the maoists in central India too.

Another opposition stalwart and PM aspirant Mamata Banerjee of TMC, highly dependent on her Muslim vote bank, never tires of calling the BJP communal. She professes determination to oppose the work of the National Citizens Register (NCR) in Bengal, deeply rattled by its implementation in Assam.

Significantly, Dalit leader Mayawati’s BSP has recently formed her own alliance with expelled Congressman and tribal leader Ajit Yogi in Chattisgarh. She has, by this action, sent out a signal that she will negotiate hard for the requisite number of seats to contest in other states as well, or possibly go it alone.

BJP, on its part, is definitely feeling the heat of a weakening rupee, high oil prices, a skittish stock market, a persistent NPA problem, a moribund property market, low export levels, a high import bill, widening fiscal and current account deficits, little private sector investment, and other economic challenges brought on by the global scenario.

Will it pull off any other bold initiatives like the Triple Talaq Ordinance in the remaining months? Can J&K be trifurcated into 3 union territories? Will the long- awaited temple at Ayodhya commence its construction?

The sense one feels however is that these things will probably have to wait, because the government does not want to unleash unforeseen forces at this late juncture.

But, politically, it is still in a better position to pull off a victory in most of the assembly polls coming up, and in the general elections of 2019.

If a second term does come about, it will usher in the first government that is not Congress or Congress-led, to be in power for a consecutive decade.

Narendra Modi has often stated that he wants to transform India. Some of the work is done. All of India’s villages are electrified, high level corruption has been eliminated, the North East of India is now in the mainstream, infrastructure has been given a massive push, the administration and systems have been largely digitized, Indian diplomacy and foreign policy have been refurbished, the economy has been revived from its lows.

But of course, given another five years, many pieces of the unfinished jigsaw  will be put in place - housing for all, smart cities, rural infrastructure, food processing and value addition, more of India’s armaments made in India, an economy doubled to $ 5 trillion with all its attendant benefits, a modernized railway, inclusive of dedicated freight corridors, bullet trains, and many more metro systems around the country.

This is therefore the last chance of the opposition to return the country to its own comfort levels and it seems certain that it knows it.