Narendra Modi has already lost the electoral battle. It may sound outlandish. On May 23 the election results may portray that the BJP has emerged as the single largest party or even the BJP has won the Lok Sabha elections, but in reality the BJP has already lost the elections even before the last ballot is cast.
During his five years in power, Modi has survived on his rhetoric to create a Bharat free of Congress. He put all his might to prepare the ground for obliteration of Congress but outrageously for him it continued to grow, not only survive, that too under the leadership of his favourite “pappu”.
How to describe this phenomenon? Only some months back the three states, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, that had the reputation of being the saffron bastion, courted the Congress and terminating their relations with the BJP. This must have come as a rude shock to Modi who was striving hard to finish Congress.
True enough the bitter realisation that his strategy to finish Congress has failed made him switch over to the agenda of nationalism. This agenda was fraught with the danger losing the sympathy and support of the common people as they had come to realise that this was a slogan for ushering in Hindu Rashtra. But Modi used it for rouse the passion for his electoral gains.
Indian people may be naïve, but are certainly not stupid, as Modi and his second in command Amit Shah think about them. It is clear to them that believing in democracy and by following the democratic procedure they cannot imagine to rout out the Congress. Besides levelling charges of corruption Modi has been making the dynastic rule as the key propaganda issue, but these two failed to provide any advantage to him. The people did not wish to subscribe them.
His attempt to exploit nationalism and army for electoral gains is in fact admission of his failure to play a decent and honest game. While this was an attempt to titillate the nationalist passion, it was also a move to prepare the people for future make over. It would not be an exaggeration to say that leaving aside the saffronites and a section of the urban neo-middle class it has not made much of impact on common people.
His roar and pledges to dissipate Pakistan is the camouflage of his mock fight against the neighbour. It is really strange how the people could not decode the actions and utterances of Narendra Modi and make out what he is and also the fact that he in real terms was engaged in a mock fight with Pakistan. As was mentioned earlier it is a fact that in order to strengthen his electoral prospect he has been indulging in Pakistan bashing. He knew that only by exploiting the nationalistic feeling of the people he can expect to get their votes for winning the election.
Little doubt Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan supporting Narendra Modi’s return as India’s prime minister after this year’s parliamentary polls, has simply exposed the plot. BJP’s political rivals have already begun questioning its alleged secret nexus with Pakistan.
If Modi has been a real threat to Pakistan and its sovereignty how could its prime minister Imran Khan day that Modi’s return as India’s prime minister will be a good news for Indo-Pak relations. How could the executive head of a country throw its weight behind a person who publically utters to finish Pakistan. One thing is explicitly clear his rhetoric to finish Pakistan has wider implication. Undoubtedly Imran Khan has bared the secret love story.
Modi, master of theatrics has been using his acumen to exploit Pulwama massacre and Balakot airstrike to present his macho image. In fact his blatant misuse of the achievement of the army that made even the poll panel to sit and ask the political parties to keep the military’s activities out of their campaigns has been a matter of concern.
The psychological utility of the security forces could be gauged from the simple fact that even after 156 veteran soldiers requesting the president Kovind to restrain the leaders from invoking the army in electoral propaganda, Modi and Shah continue to indulge in.
BJP president Amit Shah has not only invoked the Balakot air strikes at a campaign rally on April 13 but also sought to send message that it was Narendra Modi who had ordered the operation. The veterans, led by several former service chiefs, have written an unprecedented letter to the President, who is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, appealing to him to direct parties not to invoke the military for political purposes. Recently, Modi appealed to first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the Pulwama victims.
BJP’s sustained effort Modi as the embodiment of issues of nationalism, security, and religious identity might appear to be a shrewd move of the party but in reality this underlines its ideological bankruptcy. Almost all surveys suggest that BJP has considerable edge over its opponents. Had it really been the case then there was no need for Modi to be nervous and resorting to all tactics for winning the election.
There is little doubt that Modi and the BJP’s re-election bid got a boost from patriotism after the suicide bomb attack and India’s Balakot fast response. In an obvious taunt on Prime Minister Modi, Omar Abdullah tweete, “So much for Modi Sahib telling the country only Pakistan and its sympathisers want BJP to lose. Imran Khan has just endorsed him for a 2nd term – BJP election win will boost chances of Pak-India talks”.
The writer is a freelance journalist. Views are personal.