BJP Develops Sinews To Win
Aam aadmi, that is the common man, is in a cuckoo land. Their views are sought after by political leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a strange phenomenon in India where normally leaders condescend only at election time. This strategy worked wonders for AAP; its chief Arvind Kejriwal became a hero and a leader overnight. So, the new wind blowing in the polity is being adopted by the BJP, albeit with more finesse and greater chances of success. It could create a wave that would at its peak carry Narendra Modi into 7, Race Course Road.
The BJP will now aggressively promote its “Narendra Modi for PM” message across the country through a new programme called “One vote, one note”. Under the programme, billed to reach more than 100 million people, hundreds of BJP workers will go to households, pitch for Modi as PM and seek funds–from as low as Rs. 10 to a maximum of Rs. 1,000. This public donation the BJP is looking at is on the lines of what AAP relied on in Delhi.
The drive, which was finalised at a brainstorming session of five BJP chief ministers and the party’s central election committee is aimed at ensuring that the BJP returns to traditional methods of electioneering. This way, Modi’s appeal, which the party believes is exhibited in mass rallies, can be taken to the booth level and will ultimately get converted into votes. Addressing the session, Modi exuded “full confidence” in the BJP securing more than 272 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections. Such a showing will give it a majority on its own.
Modi says that in 2009, in seats where the BJP was placed second, the difference in the number of votes secured by the Congress and the saffron party was only 8.9 million. The Congress added 90 seats to its tally because of this factor, he said. “This time, with the addition of 12 crore (120 million) new voters in the last five years, many of whom are put off by the Congress, our task to win those 90 seats and more is much easier,” he told party leaders.
Modi will urge BJP workers not to be distracted by new issues or factors (read AAP) and instead focus on the “inner strength” of the party’s network. According to general secretary Ananth Kumar: “BJP’s ‘Modi for PM’ campaign will be on the lines of the JP (Jayaprakash Narayan) movement that was launched in the Emergency era to throw out the Congress government.”
Another mass contact programme will be to collect iron for erecting the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat. The BJP plans to reach half a million villages for this initiative. The party will also hold meetings in over 400 Lok Sabha constituencies before selecting its candidates for the polls. A national meet of party’s booth-level workers will be held on February 28 to discuss the micro-level management during polling. In addition to a vision document, the BJP will come out with a manifesto and a chargesheet against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA). With an estimated 120 days left for the elections, the BJP will devote 60 days for preparations including selection of candidates and 60 days for actual campaign.
Referring to the recently-concluded state polls, BJP president Rajnath Singh says, “We swept three states (Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh) and emerged the single-largest party in Delhi. We won 407 of the 589 seats. This has set the momentum for 2014.”
The party’s slogan, Nayi soch, nayi umeed (New thought, new hopes), will be the mainstay of the party’s drive for “Mission 272 plus”. Modi’s attempt to woo Muslims could also be realised through this mass movement. For, the ‘mass contact’, that is door-to-door contact, would include Muslims and even hardcore Congress supporters.
The other segment of the youth, which is now a major deciding factor of who will win, is yet to be attracted. It is enthused by Modi’s clean image and his record of governance and development but the aspirational youth will like to know in simple words what Modi can do for them. The generalisation would not inspire them, although in his speeches Modi has appealed to the youth to come forward and help in his various programmes. But this did not help in the Delhi election.
In any case, the BJP is taking the lead in the campaign for the general elections. Its manpower, that is the RSS cadre, would be the basis of the mass contact. There is no other political party that has the cadre or the ability to touch all parts of the country.
No betting on who would be the winner!
Gaffe By Mulayam Singh Could Be His Undoing
The aging pahelwan of the Samajwadi Party (SP) hit his own self when he declared that those living in the refugee camps near Muzaffarnagar were not genuine survivors of the riots but men of the BJP and the Congress Party. This ‘profound’ statement was made by, at one time astutest political leaders in India, Mulayam Singh in response to the scathing criticism by Rahul Gandhi of the miserable conditions at the refugee camps. After visiting the camps and talking to angry inmates, he alleged that the living conditions were pitiable and children were dying. The UP government must do something to improve the condition of living in the camps.
Mulayam’s son Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s reaction to the criticism was appropriate. While denying that the living conditions were as bad as Rahul described, he said that if the Congress vice-president had some advice to offer, he was open to it. But the SP supremo, although he wanted to protect his son’s government, damaged his own and the SP government’s credibility beyond repair. His suggestion that those in the camps in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar districts were men planted by the BJP and Congress bared that his concern for Muslims and the riot victims was limited to his public posturing and to swell his vote bank.
The lie of the UP government that adequate blankets and medicines were provided to the refugees was exposed by India TV channel. Its correspondent spent a night at Camp 4. One young mother of two, Shahnaz, was sitting inside a tent clutching her three-month-old baby closely to her body. She said since blankets provided were not in adequate numbers, she was trying to provide warmth to the baby through the heat of her body. Her elder child was lying ill.
They complained that apart from blankets and other facilities to protect them from winter, there was not adequate supply of medicines. The correspondent said that the District Magistrate had claimed that the hospital nearby was open in the night as well but she found it closed. A person she spoke to informed that the doctor and nurses etc come in the morning but leave by 4 pm . The TV channel correspondent alleged that 15 children had died in the camp.
With such awful conditions, no lie would cover the real situation in Muzaffarnagar district. Once people in the western part of the state were strong supporters of Mulayam Singh Yadav but if the neglect by Akhilesh government of the riots’ victims and generally of the area continues, it could turn out a graveyard of the hope of Mulayam Singh to become Prime Minister.
A Proxy Tussle Between Dikshits And Gandhis?
Delhi is never short of political rumours, or call them gossips, but amazingly some with uncanny regularity turn out to be true. The latest in that genre is that the opposition to the Aam Admi Party (AAP) by the Congress is being given a boost by the faithfuls of Sheila Dikshit, whose Chief Minister’s seat has been snatched by Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of AAP. This is substantiated by the fact that after the rout of the Congress and of her own, Dikshit unequivocally blamed the party’s high command, in plain words the, Gandhis, for deserting her to fight the electoral battle alone. She was given no support.
The demonstrations before the Congress office, opposing the party’s support to AAP to enable it to come to power, are alleged to be a proxy bout between Dikshit and the Family. In this, she would have support of the dissenters and dissatisfied in the Congress Party. The apprehension is that this shadow boxing could burst out as an open opposition to the Family-dominated affairs of Congress, meaning a rebellion. For this small group of protesters led by one of the ministers in the Dikshit Cabinet could become a platform for all Congressmen, who would near the general elections jump off the sinking ship, captained by Rahul Gandhi.
What can be the risk for Dikshit? None except the tenancy of a Raj Bhavan, which in any case would be lost after six months, if the UPA loses power. And the possible gain for Dikshit? The opposition leadership if she leads the defectors in larger number as against the Gandhis’ Congress Party.