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  • No Arrogance Please; Listen to “Janta ki Baat”

    Published on May 17, 2018

    by Suresh Unnithan                


    The defeat at the Gurudaspur  Lok Saha by-poll could have possibly startled the Ruling BJP and its Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress has captured the Lok Sabha seat from the BJP by a huge margin of 1, 93,219 votes. In 2014 general election BJP’s Vinod Khanna had won the seat defeating his nearest Congress rival  by a margin of  1, 36, 065 votes.  The seat fell vacant after the death of Khanna early this year.

    The political observers feel the ruling BJP should not and need not discounted the Gurudaspur verdict just as an aberration.  “The electoral defeat with a huge margin like this indicates chinks are developing in the BJP armor. All in not well with the ruling party as it thinks,” is the observation of a senior journalist in the national capital o has been covering BJP for over two decades.

    He feels, while the verdict is giving a warning to the BJP and its “all powerful Prime Minister” about the Indian electorate, it gives some positive signals to the dispirited Congress party that all is not lost as its arch rival has been trumpeting.

    The Vengara assembly by-poll verdict has further confirmed BJP’s illusion that under Modi’s “radiant leadership” the party could make inroads in the stats like Kerala where it has scant presence. But the result was disheartening for the party. It emerged a distant fourth polling just 5,728 votes. In the 2016 Assembly election BJP had polled 7055 vote which means in a year and half the party is poorer by 1327 votes in the constituency.

    Though the BJP state leadership dismisses the humiliating electoral display “due to the communal card played by the rival parties”, the poll pundits see this as an indicative of a dip in the overall appeal of the Modi government at the Centre. “The by-poll result has proved the Modi government’s public appeal is draining.  Even a well orchestrates Janaraksha Yathra (save people march) which was inaugurated by the high-profile party president Amit Shah and taken forward by the national leaders of the party including their chief ministers and union ministers could not generate any impact.”  However, jump is the votes polled the SDPI; a party known for its pro-radical Islamic approach should be worrying all political factions including the IUML who won the seat with a comfortable margin.


    The ‘Jana Raksha Yathra’ lead by the BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan was a campaign against the “Red and Jihadi terror” flourishing in Kerala. The party alleges the current CPM rule supports “ party goons and Islamic terror groups” against those supporting Hidutva ideology.  The state-wide march was to intend to generate public opinion against the “killing of RSS-BJP activists by the left” and the march and the blessings of central leadership. To add sparkle to the ‘Yathra’ an array of chief ministers and union minister like Nirmala Sitaraman and Smriti were lined up at various stages.

    On the impact of the march a former worker of the party points out “the starlit Yathra could not cut much ice. People will asses any party by it performance.”   Many BJP sympathizers feel that in Kerala leadership crisis is taunting the party. “The incumbent state president Kummana (Rajasekharan) is not a capable or impressive leader. He is influenced and also encircled by a group with vested interest.  Kummanam has hardly any political vision or acumen. If he continues as state head the BJP’s future in Kerala will be bleak” is the perception even within the state party circles.

    These two poll results- Gurudapur and Vengara, are a clear indicative of the simmering discontent against the Modi dispensation among the electorate. The perception that the Modi government is an oligarchy is gaining strength among the public and the party alike, and this could prove detrimental.

    Not just the opposition but many in the party and its ideological parent RSS feels most of the decisions, related to party and the government are privy to a preferred few. Arum Shore, a high profile minister in the Vajpayee cabinet, noted author and internationally acclaimed economist, recently said in a TV interview that major economic policies were being decided in “a sealed echo chamber” of “2.5 persons” whom he listed, “Amit Shah, PM Modi, and an in-house lawyer.”  Many in the party endorse Shourie’s observation.

    As a senior party functionary in Delhi piquantly points out, “the 2014 BJP victory was more to be attributed to the rampant corruption and incompetent administration of the Manmohan Singh Government. There was a perception about Modi as an agent of change.  But in three years he has squandered the massive mandate. Modi government has annoyed even its admirers. Traders and small time businessmen, the definite electoral constituency of the BJP have started moving away, thanks to the hurried and faulty decisions like demonetization and GST.

    Many feel “Modi is more a showman” and has been able to create an inflated image, thanks to the relentless PR efforts.  “Through the publicity blitzkrieg on programmes like Swachh Bharat and Yoga Modi was trying to lift up himself to a unique pedestal, a rank close to Mahatma Gandhi, if not equal.”

    There is a growing with in a section of the party that  a win for Modi –Amit Shah lead BJP in 2019 could mark the end of the political prospects of some senior leaders who are critical of the duo’s “ making the party their subservient.”  The feel “many more senior leader could be dispatched to the retirement destination like LK Advani, Yashwant Sinha and Murli Manohar were sent to  Margdarshak Mandal.”

    Its time Mister Nerada Mode ignore the extra enthusiasm from the turncoat sycophants, ask his party president and the ministers to shun arrogance, and start listening to the “Janta ki Baat” or  the “Man ki Baat” of  the Aarma  Admi,  the ultimate boss in democracy.