Millennium Post

Shrill showstoppers of BJP

The screeching has become shriller. The subtle communications of coded anti-Muslim rhetoric yielding space to blatant raging against the minorities – designed to arouse the Hindu majoritarian sentiments – have become palpable to the naked senses.

The hollowness of the so-called Gujarat model of economic and social development is becoming apparent to the people when compared to the vastness of social and economic upliftment programmes like MGNREGA and the Right to Food programme, is seeping into the public consciousness, despite the high decibel levels of borrowed ideas from the American political campaigns, peddled by US-based global public affairs and lobbying firm like APCO – one of the three 
largest in the world. At some point, one feels that the chariot of Narendra Modi’s unrepentant campaign for political power at the national level has got its wheels entangled on the social and economic realities of India that is, Bharat. Suddenly it seems that he has not been able to create – despite the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ events of the past eight years and in spite of barn-storming for almost eighteen months now, across the country – a homogenous whole out of the Hindu community.
So, as a last ditch effort for Modi, the polarisation needs to get sharper. Praveen Togadia, Ramdev and few others of the flotsam that constitute the Sangh Parivar are being fielded to – though made to seem as aberrations, post-facto – do the task better.

Now that polls have been held in 350 constituencies of the country, a seemingly panicky BJP, led by its elected campaign committee chief, Modi, seem to be not so sure anymore which way the poll wind is blowing. They thought, with engineered opinion polls, corporate media agendas, plus the juvenilely delinquent news television channels of the country should be able to create a ‘wave’ that will sweep aside any opposition, which may come in the way of their electoral victory.

After the fifth phase of polling, and before the more decisive sixth, when Lal Krishna Advani’s RSS slip showed (he talked about 300-plus seats going the BJP way), there was nothing but the verbiage left, barring the shout. On that note of the slip, have you noticed one significant absence in the Modi/BJP rallies? The absence of women in them! The dehati aurat who would normally take time off from working the farms and flock to see the ‘whirly bird’ that brought the neta to the terra firma is missing. Nor are they visible at the bamboo quartered women’s wings at the public rallies. There seem to be only a few, more for photo ops, but the sections are overwhelmingly for men.

Is it that the story of Jashodaben, Modi’s abandoned wife, that have desisted the women of this country from blessing Modi? Or is it that they have deferred to their men folk to take the decisions on their behalf at the hustings. as was usually the case? So, hasn’t anything changed in past 20 years in the heartland of the country in terms of empowering women? But surely, a picture of a Kumar Vishwas being blessed by the ‘bhabhilogs’ of Amethi tell a different story. Or a Priyanka Gandhi eating in the middle of the paddy field with men standing around, while an old lady watches over her, tell a different story. The women are participating in the great spectacle that is the Indian general election. But where are they in the BJP show stoppers?

On a different note, the reason one can describe Modi to be clever-by-half is the attempt made by his camp between the sixth phase and the seventh to make him look prime ministerial. So, there were calculated leaks about he sending emissaries to Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Srinagar, Kashmir or even to Pakistan or even the press interviews of salivating economic advisers, like Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, warming up for advisory sessions with Modi. These were to make it seem that India’s next saviour is just round the corner!

Then there are, of course, stories from the ground as to how Mayawati was being provided blandishments for weakening her candidates in at least ten seats in Uttar Pradesh, so that a Rajnath Singh, Karaj Mishra or an Uma Bharati could win
There are also reports from Bihar where there is a ‘Lalu wave.’ And how he, and not Modi is putting up a fight against Nitish Kumar, who has already been villainised by suggestion – by who else, but the corporate media and the television channels. It is only 20 days till results day. Will that day go down in the history of the country as the day the citizens obliterate a scripted drama in favour of a real drama? Will the real people of this country – the proverbial silent majority – find their voice? Will the television anchors spin more and more on a successful legerdemain that stole an election? Or will they be spinning more and more to explain away the ‘anomalies’ in their opinion polls?

In other words, will candid camera roll? We will be watching.

The author is a senior journalist
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