Narendra Modi: Hot Favourite To Opposition
Otherwise accused to be the most “divisive force” in the country, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has suddenly turned as hot favourite for the Opposition leaders in Andhra Pradesh. Leaders of divergent political standing are coming openly in praise of Modi and the BJP.
The former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu is now running from pillar to post to revive his poll alliance with the BJP, which was unilaterally suspended by him after debacle in 2004 polls. The Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao, who has many times openly admitted his intention to merge his party with Congress, once the latter approved bill bifurcating the state into two, so that to create his ambitious Telangana state, is now praising the BJP loudly.
The YSR Congress president and Kadapa MP, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who only last week returned on bail from prison after 16 months, is showering praise on Narendra Modi. It is worth mentioning that many times, Chandrababu Naidu openly regretted his earlier alliance with the BJP and promised people that during his life time he will not return to the BJP in an attempt to woo Muslims. In 2002, he was the only leader from the BJP alliances who strongly demanded resignation of Narendra Modi, after Gujarat riots.
When Narendra Modi was in Hyderabad on August 11, to address his first major public meeting in the country after projected him as BJP’s star campaigner for 2014 polls, Chandrababu Naidu’s brother-in-law and film hero N Balakrishna met him in person inviting him to his daughter’s wedding. Scores of Telugu Desam supporters, including some of its prospects candidates in the forthcoming polls also meet him in person.
After detaching from the BJP, for the first time, Chandrababu Naidu met a senior BJP functionary in Delhi during September third week, leading a delegation of his party leaders to BJP President Rajnath Singh’s residence. He also had one to one meeting with him. He is openly asking his party leaders to get prepare to contest polls in alliance with the BJP.
Meanwhile, according to popular percetiopn, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy got bail after his mother Y S Vijayamma and other family members reached an understanding with the Congress high command. Their political opponents are even accused that her mother met Rahul Gandhi in a private hotel during her tirp to New Delhi. In this background, in his first ever press meeting on September 30, after returning from prison, he surprised every one by praising Narendra Modi. Jagan dropped enough hints that he was keeping his options open for a post-poll alliance with the BJP-led NDA, provided it upheld secular principles. He said he admired Narendra Modi as an administrator but wanted him to strive for bringing all parties together on a secular platform.
“What I want Narendra Modi to do is to change this entire system in bringing every party on to a secular platform in the interest of the nation. I want peace along with development,” Jagan said. “I have my options (on post-election scenario). I don’t think I would be in a hurry. All these options are there for everybody,” he added. His statement was a clear deviation from his party’s earlier stand that it would not have any kind of alliance with the BJP and that it would join the UPA government and bid for major portfolios for its MPs. The YSR Congress Party president, however, sought to maintain a secular profile. “I said I am secular. What other secular parties like Janata Dal (U) would do, I will also do the same,” he said.
Stressing that religion is a matter of personal faith, he wondered why religion should be politicised and any individual discriminated over his religion. “I belong to the present generation. Whether we are Hindus, Christians or Muslims, we are all born here, live here and are going to die here,” he said.
A day before, the TRS chief Chandrasekhar Rao showered encomiums on the BJP top leadership for coming out strongly in support of Telangana state, prompting political observers to wonder how Modi has suddenly become a paragon of virtues for the opposition parties in the state. At a public meeting, he thanked BJP President Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition Smt. Sushma Swaraj for their constant support for Telangana cause.
Even he indicated a possibility of his party inclining towards the BJP, if the Congress failed to deliver the Telangana state before December. “If the UPA does not give Telangana, the NDA is always there to concede the separate state. We have nothing to worry,” he said. Though KCR did not take the name of Modi, he was all praise for the BJP top leadership for its support for Telangana. At the same time, he did not utter a word in praise of Congress President Sonia Gandhi who took a decision in favour of Telangana.
On the other hand, Chandrababu Naidu has been sending clear signals to the party cadres and people that his party would join hands with the BJP and support Modi’s leadership. Speaking to media a couple of days ago, Naidu did not deny the talk of an alliance between the TDP and the BJP in the coming days. In fact, he did not attach much significance to the 2001 communal riots of Gujarat when he said: “Why Gujarat? There were several other incidents of communal violence during the UPA regime in the last nine years.” Hinting at an alliance with the NDA, he even reminded that the country and the state had witnessed tremendous growth during the NDA and the TDP regimes respectively.
After Congress Working Committee resolved favouring formation of Telangana state, Chadnrababu Naidu became worried sensing that his party will suffer badly in both the regions of Andhra Pradesh. So, he found Narendra Modi’s image will help his party candidates get additional votes in the coming polls. After successive defeats in polls in 2004 and 2009, he fears if he failed to get back to power in this polls, it would be difficult for him to sustain his party cadres.
Even otherwise, till now TDP never witnessed major electoral gains under his leadership, except in 1999, which was possible due to his alliance with the BJP, when the then Prime Minister Vajpayee’s image spread all over the country.
Both Chandrasekhar and Jaganmohan Reddy are known for their proximity with the Congress. Jaganmohan Reddy revolted against the Congress high command when the latter refused to give chief ministership to him, after the sudden tragic demise of his father, the then chief minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and floated his own regional party. This led to CBI cases against him in disproportionate assets. Howeverm in the present scenario, the political observers feel that both these leaders are finding Narendra Modi’s name only to bargain well with the Congress and also to impress the public that they are not surrendering to the Congress.
By Ch. Narendra from Hyderabad