Asim Kumar Mitra
Let me start this newsletter with comments of two prominent English newspapers of Kolkata The Times of India said: “Rolling out the saffron roadmap from a state that has never elected more than two BJP MPs was not an easy task for Narendra Modi. On February 5, 2014, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate stood up to the challenge by playing on ‘Poribartan’ (change) and trying it to strike a chord with issues that bother Bengal the most.”
Kolkata edition of Hindustan Times wrote: “In this season of pre-poll alliances and post-poll calculations, Narendra Modi dropped enough hints on February 5, 2014 that the BJP was keen on a tie up with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress after the elections.”
The sum and substance of Modi’s speech had definitely provoked the newspapers and media to come out with such comments. And there was no denying of the fact that both Narendra Modi and the party President Rajnath Singh had stressed on the point that West Bengal was denied its legitimate demands fulfilled by the Centre. Modi was very candid in his speech when he said, “You have brought ‘Poribartan’ here, now let’s bring one in Delhi. I will give you development, which you were denied for so many years. Give me a chance. I will come to Bengal. I will work for Bengal. And then you can ask for a explanation from me. I will address all the problems of Bengal.”
Rajnath Singh, on his part, had mentioned the injustice inflicted on the State by UPA Government by quoting some definite example. He said: “CPM had squandered away the treasury of West Bengal before they were defeated in the elections and the newly formed TMC Government had to shoulder a burden of loan taken by the Left Government to the tune of rupees 2, 26,000 crore. The TMC Government of West Bengal had requested the UPA Government to allow them a moratorium of three years on the payment of interest on the loan. But the UPA Government did not allow it. This was a gross injustice on the State government.” Surprisingly enough, Mamata Banerjee did not immediately react on the comments made by Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh. But her Cabinet colleague Firhad (Bobby) Hakim said, “Didi had enough courage and self respect to curve out her own way to get her legitimate due for the State. Only for that reason Mamata Banerjee, the leader of Bengal had given a clarion call of ‘Delhi Chalo.”
Although TMC, Congress and Left parties were critical about the largeness of the BJP’s Brigade Rally, the fact remains that at least 25 buses carrying BJP workers and supporters were coming to Brigade Parade Ground were attacked in different places and almost in all the places goons belonging to ruling party had beaten up the BJP members. They have put up barricades on different roads leading to the said ground. Nevertheless the rally was so impressive that many have compared it with the rally on same ground addressed by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee before he became the Prime Minister.
On the stage a galaxy of former IAS and IPS officers were present who have recently joined BJP. On the rally-day world famous magician P. C. Sorcar (Jr.) had joined the party. The Brigade Rally had witnessed another remarkable aspect. Two third of the attendants of the meeting were youth and this was possible for the social networking sights. In fact these sights have created havoc. Many youths have paid money to the extent of Rupees five thousand just to make sure of their seats in the rally. Even after that when they have found seats were not available as they were filled up earlier, they sat down on the ground without any complaint. Online booking of seats for attending any political rally was unique. Even many corporate officials have willing preferred to seat on the ground.
Although Didi was a bit perturbed with the speech of Narendra Modi, she kept herself free from all official work just to listen to Modi’s lecture.
After complimenting the audience for ending 34 year’s of Left “misrule”, Modi asked “Poribartan”aaya hai? Poribartan mahsoos ho raha hai? Poribartan dikhai de raha hai?
(Has the change come? Do you feel the change? Can you see any change?)”
Nahi (no), the audience thundered in chorus.
Modi injects new elixir in western UP
Surendra Singhal from Meerut
The February 2 massive rally of BJP’s Prime Ministerial nominee and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi proved anything but magical for the BJP in this region of Uttar Pradesh, which has 14 Lok Sabha seats. The electrifying speech of the firebrand BJP leader and icon of good governance and development came as a new invigorative elixir for the party organisation.
Modi injected a new confidence in the party cadres and supporters that gathered in lakhs from neighbouring Saharanpur, Meerut and Moradabad districts of this Jat dominated province of UP.
The 50-minute speech of Shri Modi was more concentrated on development than political polarisation. This region of western UP famous as Jatpatti is rich and developed as compared to other regions of the State. However, the lack of good governance was visible here also.
This is the region from where BJP could bag maximum seats. However in the last Lok Sabha elections the party could bag only two out of the 14 seats from this region comprising of Saharanpur, Meerut and Moradabad divisions. Besides two MPs-BJP’s national president Rajnath Singh (Ghaziabad) and Rajendra Agrawal (Meerut), the party has 13 out of 70 MLAs from this region in the State Vidhan Sabha. Political observers feel that the BJP would now got maximum seats here.
UP makes for 80 seats of Lok Sabha and presently the BJP has only 10 seats to its credit. In 1996 and 1998 BJP had won 58-60 seats from UP and even as of now the party could pocket over 40 seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The Congress with 22 MPs and BSP with 20 MPs are organisationally weak. In such a situation it is expected that Narendra Modi should concentrate more on UP to ensure bright chances for his party.
The youth and new voters from middle class section seem to be under the influence of Narendra Modi and his campaigning style. But they could get attracted to the Aam Adami Party (AAP) too as has happened in case of Delhi Assembly elections. It appears that Narendra Modi had understood this predicament of the voters.
The BJP should venture to field clean candidates in the coming Lok Sabha elections in comparison with SP, BSP and Congress and indications to this effect are visible from the party. For example, the BJP is expected to pit former Mumbai Police Commissioner Dr Satya Pal Singh, who hails from Baghpat against RLD Chief Ch Ajit Singh and from Muzaffarnagar the party seems to be fielding Dr Hariom Panwar, a nationalist poet and patriot against the BSP candidate.
Two aspects of Modi’s speech need special mention. One, he did not politicise Muzaffarnagar riots and showed scant interest in making it an election issue. Two, he referred with utmost respect and regard the names of Chaudhary Charan Singh and Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Takait.
The BJP is taking the help of Yoga Guru Ramdev Baba in Saharanpur and Bijnaur. The party has a galaxy of stalwarts who belong to this region. They include party President Rajnath Singh, State BJP president Dr Laxmikant Bajpai, BJP LP leader Hukum Singh, former Union Minister Satpal Malik, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh.
This region is dominated by Muslims, Jats and Dalits. During the temple issue, the BJP could win 10 out of 13 seats from these three divisions of the region. However, the BJP is to tread a torturous path ahead. Narendra Modi has, no doubt, injected a renewed vigour in the party organisation, the party needs to work hard and keep a constant vigil if it were to emerge victorious in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. The regional leaders can achieve this only when they follow the advice of their leader Narendra Modi.