Monday, April 1, 2013

So what will Narendra Modi’s “strategy” be????

Now that Modi has made it to the Parliamentary Board of the BJP (we are told this is the “highest” decision making body of the party), what will his strategy to win the elections in 2014 be? To those who track Narendra Modi, the answer is so obvious it doesn’t even need a full post to be written. But to those who are mesmerized by the man, this post should provide a preview of what to expect…..and an eye opener to those who care for the nation.

Modi knows only one strategy. One that has given him rich dividends in Gujarat. That’s the strategy of whipping up communal passions and dividing society. Of making the majority Hindus somehow feel insecure of their own strength and get them to blindly vote for him; ignoring his several flaws and forgiving his penchant for claiming credit for things he has not done. His “development” plank hardly cuts ice even in his own state, as I will show in this post.

But first lets look at how deviously clever Modi can be. In one of the earlier state elections, an ad mysteriously appeared in the local papers a day before election day, which appeared to have been released by a group of Muslims. The ad exhorted the Muslims to vote en-masse against Modi and frustrate the plans of this post-Godhra riots “hero”. Till date, no one knows who released that ad, but people now suspect that the ad was released by Modi himself. The result was as expected; a perfect play-out of Newton’s “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” theory. The Hindus saw the ad and thought “this is really going too far. We have to protect our Hindu Hriday Samrat”, and they voted en-masse for him. The Muslims remained as organized or disorganized as ever, since this was never their thought or their ad in the first place. Modi won hands down.

As another example, see how the Congress walked into a trap laid by Modi in the 2007 state elections, when Sonia made the mistake of calling him “Maut ka saudagar”. That was seen as an affront to their hero, the Hindu Hriday Samrat, and again, elicited a reaction of massive dimensions. Modi stomped home clean, largely on the back of Sonia’s mis-step. Again, people were willing to forgive Modi and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Its not really a very clever guess to imagine now what Modi’s 2014 strategy will be. He will 100% whip up some or the other Hindu-Muslim conflict. I say 100%, because I know exactly how his mind works. The exact provocation can be anything. The inclusion of Uma Bharati and Vinay Katiyar, the full backing of the RSS, the removal of the “opposition” camp of Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh, all point to the possibility of a major initiative in UP. The BJP knows that if it has to have any chance of becoming the single biggest party, and overcome its losses in Karnataka, Bihar, elsewhere, it has no option but to revive itself in UP. So a major conflict in UP is logical. Maybe it will be a renewed effort at Mandir construction. It is not difficult to imagine that the mob that destroyed the Masjid, can also get together and construct a temporary structure in the dead of the night, security notwithstanding. Such heightened rhetoric would be entirely in line with Modi’s style. Maybe a few people will die. That, and the beginning of the construction, will be enough to polarize UP. The Hindus will unite in support of their religion all over again, forgetting their class, caste, creed and sex divides. In his own way, Modi will unite UPites….or at least a part of UP.

Or he could equally stir up some major confrontation with Pakistan. Like demand that India invade PoK and take it over. The pragmatism of the suggestion is least important. The audacity is what matters. People vote out of emotion, not out of thoughtful analysis.

All along, Modi will keep packaging himself as a “decisive” leader, as a “development guru”. The external packaging is as important as the masking of the core strategy. The core strategy is for those who understand. “Jo na samjhe woh anaadi hai”! In reality, everyone will understand what Modi is up to. He will be all over talking development; his cadres will be all over whipping up support for the resuscitation of the Hindu pride.

So expect trouble in the next few months. The ones to worry the most must be the SP and the BSP, whose caste based following could gravitate to the “protector of faith”, the one and only Modi. In a quaint way, Modi’s aggression could help the Congress, as many have already written about, by forcing those opposed to Modi’s divisive politics to gravitate to a stronger national party, rather than vote for their favorite local one. In a way, this will be good for national politics, as the destructive impact of the local parties will be pared. But it will take India back to the time of India’s independence, when religious fervor resulted in the splitting up of undivided India. Or to 1992 when the destruction of a Masjid split the country into two unequal (fortunately) parts, one solidly crooning for the Modi-likes and the other rooting against him.

But the battle is still an uphill one for Modi. He should remember that even in his own backyard, and in spite of the strongest communal potion he brews every time elections come, he has managed to get only slightly more than 50% of the seats that the state sends to the Lok Sabha. The BJP’s vote share is hardly 5-7% more than the Congress’s in the state, even in the assembly elections. Its closer in the Lok Sabha elections. If the strategy is this tenous in his own home state, can he count on its efficacy elsewhere?

Modi knows this. And that’s one more reason for the development story. Modi expects that some of those who dislike his strong Hindutva pitch may fall for his development trick. Every vote counts; every trick in the trade is permitted.

The real truth is that India will be taken back a few decades in the way elections are fought, and votes are caste. Religion will become the number 1 reason to vote for or against a party; caste etc will take a back-seat. Keep this post aside…..very soon the real truth will become visible to all….

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