Millennium Post

Not a sure sign of Modi effect

Arguably, the party would have fared as well even if it had not appointed a prime ministerial candidate because if there was any wave at all, it was an anti-Congress one.

Even then, the Congress ran it close in Chhattisgarh, suggesting that for various reasons, the Congress is capable of holding its own against both Modi and the local BJP leadership. The reason why the Congress performed quite satisfactorily was apparently because Chhattisgarh is in a special category because of the Maoist insurgency. The fact that the rebels had wiped out the Congress’s top leadership in a murderous attack may have  created a sympathy wave for the party. But, the fact remains that the presence or absence of Modi made no difference.

Elsewhere, as in MP, it was a combination of the popularity of a chief minister like Shivraj Singh Chauhan and the Congress’s failure to get its act together notwithstanding the presence in the state of a plethora of leaders like Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, which let the party down. It might have performed somewhat better if Scindia was formally made a chief ministerial candidate, but internal rivalries and the reluctance of the first family to boost the prospects of another young man probably stood in the way. In Rajasthan, it was the lacklustre performance of the unprepossessing Ashok Gehlot which let the Congress down in the face of the challenge from the far more energetic Vasundhara Raje. Although the latter gave credit to Modi for the BJP’s good showing, it was more an act of courtesy than an acknowledgement of the reality. But, it was the Delhi result which showed that there was virtually no Modi effect, for if there had been one, then the BJP would have won far more seats in place of the greenhorn AAP. That the untested and inexperienced AAP came out of the blue to trounce the Congress and Sheila Dixit personally was a sign that the voters exercised their options without being swayed by any outsized figure.

Their sole intention was evidently to oust the deeply unpopular Congress and they were ready to vote for either of its two opponents. Considering that a sizeable percentage of the AAP supporters told a survey that they would vote for Modi in a parliamentary poll, it is obvious that, to them, there was little difference between the AAP and the BJP. Nor is this surprising since the RSS had claimed that its followers constituted a major portion of those who were present at Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption rallies in Delhi in 2011.

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