Sunday, May 26, 2024

Bluff and bluster


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Narendra Modi might not meet with his Waterloo in the present parliament polls; but it is also clear by now that he’s going to be far down from his aim of 400 plus seats. As the nation crossed three of the seven phases of the general elections and heads for the fourth today, the mood of the electorate is bordering on boredom. To blame it on the high heat of the summer is one way of justifying the fall in the voter-turnout in successive phases; but another temptation is to guess that Modi’s performance so far and his Guarantees for this election failed to enthuse the electorate.
Out of jail, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal sought to catch the bull by its horns by saying Modi’s present aim is to win the polls and then hand over the reins to Amit Shah. True, Modi would cross age 75 by September this year, and by his own law, this is time for those in public life to hang up their boots. He craftily got this done in the case of LK Advani, MM Joshi etc, virtually wiping out the top layer of the BJP in one sweet go in 2014. Modi cannot be arguing that this law does not apply to him. Worse, Kejriwal sought to nail Modi on another front too, by saying that the PM was trying to sideline Yogi Adityanath, another claimant for the PM post after the Modi era. That Kejriwal hit the BJP where it hurts was evident from the immediate rebuttal of these charges by Amit Shah himself. Such issues are bound to exercise the voters’ mind even as about half of the polling is already over. These, or the promise by way of the 10 guarantees from Kejriwal that the army would be given the full freedom to take back the land that China took from India since 1962 might enthuse many. This has a whiff of fresh air.
Modi, on the other hand, repeatedly targeted Muslims in the current campaigning for no special reason other than that he seemed to run out of ideas to whip up the mood of the electorate. The BJP’s election manifesto itself was seen as a damp squib, it having failed to come up with any imaginative attempts to reassure the people that good days are ahead. Yet, it should require gumption on the part of Modi to say, at the end of his 10 years of governance, that what he provided the nation so far was only a “trailer” of what he would do in the next term. When he started in 2014, what he sought was two terms, which however failed to energize the nation.


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