There is a tumult in the media. As different political combinations take shape, our studio warriors are a lot worried.
If Rahul Gandhi meets N Chandrababu Naidu, or if 22 political parties share a platform, or Tejashwi Yadav touches Mayawati’s feet, the resultant earthquake in our studios cannot be measured on the Richter scale.
I must say, I envy the kind of freedom anchors and reporters have these days to proudly voice their political leanings on air and on their social media platforms. “It is Modi vs All”, shout some of our anchors.
The anger with which some of them are pushing this faulty narrative only reflects the desperation of the ruling regime and its ecosystem.
Why This ‘Modi vs All’ Narrative is Fake?
Look at the BJP’s own dependence on allies in different states. In Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana, the BJP and the Congress fight each other directly in 110 Lok Sabha seats.
In 273 Lok Sabha seats of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Goa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, the NDA and the UPA fight each other, with Punjab and Goa being two states with the Congress fighting solo against the NDA.
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It is the remaining states/seats where there are attempts to forge another front and, hence, the speculation. In a highly-polarised and shrill election, the space for another front may not be an easy task, especially when the front does not have either a story distinct from that of the UPA or a personality that momentarily attracts all the rest, like VP Singh in 1989.
Having said that, political parties must necessarily respond unitedly to the need of the hour to voice peoples’ anger from one platform, as was done on 19 January in Kolkata.
How is Modi Taking the ‘United-Front’ All Alone?
With 42 partners constituting the NDA, how is Modi “taking them on alone”, as being claimed by regime-apologists in the media?
In Maharashtra alone, the BJP fights with four partners. In Tamil Nadu, where the BJP has one Member of Parliament, the party partners with six parties. Same is the story from other southern states as with the north eastern states.
In 2014, Narendra Modi’s image managers projected him as this strong, macho, action-oriented man with a 56” chest and qualities of a lion. He needed to see himself through the prism of the width of his chest, height of the statue he could envisage, speed of the bullet train he could dream about.
Perhaps, psycho analysts will have an appropriate term for those who have a desperate need for seeking validation or such obsession with size and speed. They did succeed in portraying an image of Narendra Modi taking on the very ecosystem that in a parallel universe victimised him.
Such myths were marketed with such ferocity that they did appear to be real to a lot of innocent bystanders on the roads and lanes of Lutyens.
In 2019, however, the image managers have either not reinvented themselves or have not been paid their consultancy. The same narrative cannot be pedalled over and over again, with failures on economy, foreign policy, defence, internal security, agrarian distress, corruption, black money, women’s safety, etc. you cannot show Prime Minister Narendra Modi flexing his muscle and flaunting his chest as this victim having to fight ‘all of them’ alone.
More so, when the so-called victim has done everything and more to victimise all those who either questioned him and even those who could question him.
From the CBI to the ED, Income Tax department, the RBI, the EC and the RTI, the misuse, abuse and selective disuse of the various institutions is a telling tale of how within a short span of five years, the Modi ecosystem undermined every single institution that makes our republic.
Can BJP Fight Upcoming Lok Sabha Election Completely on Its Own?
As an interesting challenge to the Modi-Shah-Jaitley ecosystem and to all other ‘compulsive courtiers’, I ask a simple question - Can the BJP, under Narendra Modi, announce to fight the upcoming Lok Sabha election completely on its own, on all the 543 seats?
If it cannot fight alone, then stop calling the opposing combination as an ‘alliance of opportunism’ or ‘Modi vs the rest’. If the PDP-BJP was not an alliance of opportunism; if JD(U)-BJP reunion is not an unholy alliance, stop doing selective name calling just to please your political masters and just to keep the ecosystem alive.
Whenever it came to power, with the exception of 2014, the BJP in its various avatars has always been in coalition governments. If Morarji Desai-led Janata Party of 1977 or the VP Singh led (and BJP-supported) National Front or the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA were not khichdi sarkars; let the politically-aligned pundits not be politically so blind as to label every combination other than the one that has the BJP in it as unholy, unstable or accidental.
It is a matter of historical record that the Congress-led UPA got re-elected and gave ten years of stable government and a robust economy apart from better implementation of pro-people policies. It is also a matter of historical record that no BJP-led alliance has been re-elected at the Centre.
(Pawan Khera is the national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for them.)