By Sunil Dang
While all opposition was busy criticizing Narendra Modi for his ‘Shmashan-Kabristan’ jibe in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the least bothered Indian Prime Minister decided to participate into the inaugural function of Lord Shiva statue in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore on the auspicious day of Mahashivratri. Interestingly, he was at the inauguration of the idol which was build two years ago. Hence, the message from Modi is clear and the opposition parties must grab this message before it becomes too late to stop Modi once again becoming a Hindu mascot by 2019.
If we go back in 2002, the BJP was facing huge anti-incumbency and huge infighting in Gujarat under Narendra Modi and all of a sudden a single attack of ‘Maut Ka Saudagar’ put Modi on the fore front and BJP won the Gujarat Assembly Polls with a handsome margin because this jibe by the Congress leaders helped Modi and other BJP leaders to polarize voters. This blunder was repeated by the Congress and other party leaders when Narendra Modi was made Prime Ministerial candidate by the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Whole opposition attacked on Modi labeling him ‘communal’ which helped BJP dub the entire opposition being indulged in minority appeasement. As a result, BJP polarized consolidated a formidable majority vote bank that bundled out the whole opposition to it nadir. The Congress party which often claims to be the principal opposition party failed to get the minimum 10 percent of Lok Sabha seats required for claiming the leader of the opposition’s post. Rather criticizing Modi for being ‘communal’ the opposition should have tried to evaluate Modi’s work as CM. Even media professionals got caught in Modi ‘Gujarat model’ trap. If any leader had argued over the authenticity of the Gujarat Model, it would have forced the New Delhi-based national media professionals to go to Gujarat and check the claims made by Modi.
It looks that the opposition is not ready to accept that public has turned down its claims that ‘Modi is a communal leader.’ Voters were found standing behind Modi in 2003, 2008 and 2013 Gujarat Assembly polls defying to by oppositions claims. Similarly, whole India stood behind Modi in 2014 when the Congress and other ‘secular’ parties tried to demonize the minority community on Modi being ‘communal.’ But, leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar learnt from their mistakes. Realizing the ‘communal card’ infusing fire into the brand Modi, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal refocused on the BSP (Bijli, Sadak, Pani) Model of his election campaign in February 2015 Delhi Assembly Polls and decimated both Congress and the BJP. Taking cue from Kejriwal, both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav depended upon their strength than on the weakness of brand Modi in October 2015 Bihar Assembly Polls. Sensing the Delhi like defeat, BJP tried to polarize Bihar voters through ‘Pakistan’ and ‘Kashmir’ rants but neither Nitish nor Lalu walked into the trap of Modi. They continued to ignore such statements by BJP leaders. As a result, BJP failed to consolidate the majority behind it and Nitish Kumar led ‘grand alliance’ won Bihar assembly polls with thumping majority.
However, in Assam, Congress once again tried to demonize minority voters alleging BJP being ‘communal’ which irked the majority voters. This helped BJP to score over Congress once again by consolidating the majority as its vote bank. Similarly, after sensing Jat desertion in the western UP and minority consolidating behind either of BSP or SP-Congress combine, BJP played its religious rhyme and whole opposition walked into this trap.
In democracy, being secular is a huge responsibility, but it should not come at the cost of the majority vote bank. Our leaders must understand that being secular doesn’t mean minority appeasement. They need not to demonize the minority as they have that sense. By attacking Modi for being ‘communal’, the opposition helped the Gujarat CM to become Indian PM. Now, if they don’t stop alleging him on the religious line, Modi would soon emerge as super PM in 2019 because Modi cares a straw when the opposition attacks him for being ‘communal.’
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