After the hectic 9 phase campaigning, whole nation is anxiously awaiting for the election results. Campaign Trail of these general elections was unique in many senses. BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, consistently attacked by the opponents as a ‘divisive figure' turned out to be a unifying force. While undeclared, reluctant heir of the Congress proved to be liability to the party
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‘So Called’ Divisive Face turns into Unifying
After being announced as PM candidate, Modi was vociferously attacked by the Congress and secular brigade which tried to polarise the society on communal lines. The game plan was to attack the three times Gujarat CM on 2002 riots issue. On the contrary, Modi from his Rewari rally in September picked up right issues at the right moment and defined momentum of the campaign. He also entered the areas where BJP has been conventionally weak and created mass appeal. Effective use of local issues and parlance, clear presentation of ideas on national issues, connecting with the masses while exposing the opponents and spectacular use of new age media made this election as
Modi’s election. Issue of Army personnel, Telangana, North-east, Jammu & Kashmir and the issue of Article 370, Tamil language, Bengali pride and development of Eastern India, challenging Gandhi family in their own bastion and finally connecting to Varanasi through Ganga, everything was a well executed strategy. Even, the interviews given to media were on his terms and all manipulations were negated. Timing and technology were the critical factors on which whole Modi campaign compelled supporters and critics to talk about what Modi was saying.
Missing the Plot… Completely!!!
Rahul truly proved to be a liability for Congress. Right from the day one when he started campaign from Bardoli (Gujarat) on February 8, he spoke childishly and failed to influence the voters. From admitting UPA’s failures in 10 years and a strong anti-incumbency wave against Congress, to criticising Modi model of development he proved embracement for party. That is why the Congress election managers pushed him back in middle of the campaign and brought Priyanka at the front seat. Fed up with the way Rahul handled the campaign Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi projected Priyanka as a remedy. Mani Shankar Aiyer raised the issue of democratising the party. In TV interviews too Rahul literally proved ‘disasterous’. Repeated attacks on Modi without verifying the facts also invited embracement. In last days of the campaign the party questioned OBC credentials of Modi. But prior to making it an issue it forgot to confirm that Modh-Ghanchi community to which Modi belongs to was put into OBC category by Gujarat’s Congress government only in 1995. Finally, the books by Baru & Parekh put the entire party defensive.
One need not be a psephologist to predict election results after this campaign trail. Throughout the campaign, all attempts to bring Modi on a wrong agenda failed. In fact, Modi cleverly used all the attacks against him with ‘shasak nahi sevak’, ‘badle ki bhavna nahi Badlav ki bhavna’ and Secularism is not only in our Constitution but also in our veins, remarks. Prime focus on development and governance was Modi Mantra while invoking freebees schemes, family sacrifices and creating apprehensions on caste-communal lines was Congress’ strategy. Besides trusted lieutenant like Amit Shah, whole party machinery was galvanised behind Modi, while in tune with the Congress culture, hardly any leader outside Nehru-Gandhi family was visible on the ground. That is why while Modi campaign revolved around ‘hope’ and ‘positivity’ while Congress campaign remained negative and defensive. Finally, Modi turned the table around in Varanasi when the local administration denied him permission for an election meeting. The reaction of this mischief was that Modi’s entry into the city on May 8 after combing the rural areas of the constituency itself turned into a road show. There were lakhs of people both sides of around 6 km roads.
Though results are awaited on May 16, this is campaign trail has resulted into two contradictory anticipations, how much comfortable will be the Modi led NDA in forming government and how far Gandhi family led Congress will be able to attain a respectable total.