Scenting BJP Will Be Routed In The Assembly Polls, Cries Of Emperor Has No Clothes Get Only Louder??

Friday, February 17, 2017

“If the solution or the idea is right, it will go like a hot knife through butter. If the idea is not working for example demonetisation, don’t blame the execution, I think your idea itself is wrong...If your innovation in the country depends on government approval or judicial process, it will not be a case of ‘Made in India’ but ‘Mad in India’”

That is Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto. When leading corporate houses in the country gather courage to publicly proclaim ‘The Emperor has No Clothes’ we can sense the change of mood in the country. AG Noorani writing in the Frontline describes this change most lucidly:

“Just half-way through his term in office as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi faces disenchantment to a high degree. Demonetisation only served to remind the people of lapses they had overlooked. He hugely personalised demonetisation. The gamble failed. The slide downwards has begun. The Emperor has no clothes on him.

Modi’s hysterical performances reveal his panic at the wide public disenchantment in the wake of his quixotic decision on demonetisation of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes on November 8. This was the first major test of his mettle and he has been found wanting. Slogans, his favourite ploy, do not help (vikas, vishwas, et al). People want answers; they demand accountability for the havoc he created. But the concept is foreign to him. 

He has deployed every trick in the book to build himself up as a mass leader, above the party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and even its parent (the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), and above institutions, Parliament and the judiciary. His technique was continuous electioneering, doling out slogans, impugning the integrity of critics and opponents without a thought for accountability to Parliament. He began by going over the heads of Cabinet colleagues to civil servants (vide the writer’s article “Modifying Democracy”, Frontline, July 11, 2014). He is now reduced to embarking on a course of cheap demagogy. It will not work.”

And the opposition scents victory in the ongoing 5 State Assembly elections. In an exclusive interview to NDTV, former Home and Finance Minister P Chidambaram spoke about the impact of the ongoing state elections on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's political image. "In my assessment, the BJP has already lost Punjab... If BJP loses UP, it will be a huge setback for the PM. Voices will be raised within his own party," Mr Chidambaram said. On whether PM Modi is a 'messiah-like figure', he said, "No one is unbeatable". 

So now we are seeing an interesting spate of articles in the media speculating on not only the extent of rout the BJP is expected to face in the 5 State Assembly elections but more importantly their impact on Indian politics, particularly the future of Modi-Shah duo. One of the most brilliant pieces had been written by Siddharth Bhatia in whose extracts we are reproducing....

Indian politics is in a churn. Two-and-a-half years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resounding victory, when it appeared that the opposition parties had been so bulldozed such that they would not recover for a very long time, they are back with renewed confidence while Modi is looking and sounding defensive.

The elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are of course the most crucial, but even the local municipal elections in Mumbai and nine other towns in Maharashtra are not without significance. Add to that the turmoil in Tamil Nadu, which is yet to run its full course, and the elections in Gujarat later this year.

The general feeling, it is hoped, seems to be that the Akhilesh Yadav-Rahul Gandhi combine will sail through in UP. Yadav has come out of the family spat looking good, and has successfully elevated himself from being a mere sectarian leader to a young and modern politician committed to development. The BJP, with its polarisation, anti-Congress rhetoric and tall promises sounds jaded; Yadav comes across as fresh. Mayawati is in the wings and she too could spring a surprise. True to form, the Yogi Adityanaths have upped the communal content of the campaign, but will that wash away the brutal memories of demonetisation?

If, despite these predictions, the BJP pulls through, it will be a miracle and boost the party’s confidence. If it comes second or worse, the party could face internal dissonance; questions will be asked about Amit Shah and his style of working.

A failure to win key elections will have three potential outcomes. In the immediate term, there will be an impact on the mid-year election of the new president after Pranab Mukherjee’s term expires. The NDA does not have the requisite numbers in the Electoral College and needs the support of the non-NDA, non-UPA parties, which would back Modi if the BJP is fresh out of a victory in UP and elsewhere. A loss will undoubtedly decrease his clout and the combined opposition – and silent dissidents within the NDA – could thwart his plans.

Secondly, opposition parties, encouraged by the BJP’s loss, will once again begin to look for ways to come together. This is, of course, easier said than done, given the conflicting aims and claims, but the Bihar and UP coalitions show that it is possible. If various parties, in their own self-interest, agree to align behind one leader, a credible platform could emerge. The BJP will certainly not want this to happen.

But the biggest question is, what bearing will an electoral loss have on the BJP itself? Modi’s position remains unassailable, but will Shah be safe? Will he be able to call the shots, no questions asked? Or will his detractors and critics and those whom he has sidelined go after him?

Read the full article: HERE

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