BJP needs different narrative down south

BJP needs different narrative down south

The BJP is all set to launch a massive poll campaign with its pet theme ‘Congress mukt Bharat’ and ‘Corruption mukt Bharat.’ It will be showcasing the...

The BJP is all set to launch a massive poll campaign with its pet theme ‘Congress mukt Bharat’ and ‘Corruption mukt Bharat.’ It will be showcasing the achievements of the NDA government in the last ten years which would include all the welfare schemes, abrogation of Article 370 and the latest Ram Mandir inauguration at Ayodhya. Both the party and Modi will claim that the saffron party has provided a corruption-free rule and ensured that the country remained united and had taught Pakistan a lesson when they tried to attack India.

It’s true that there have been no scams as one used to find during the UPA regime but then one cannot say that the country is free from corruption. The government led by Modi may be free from corruption but it has not percolated down to the level of state governments. We have many such examples. Take for example, the Andhra Pradesh government where state BJP leaders themselves accused the government of being neck-deep in corruption and criminalising politics.

Then we have the alleged scam in irrigation projects in Telangana. We have seen how the piers of Medigadda barrage had sunk and how water was leaking from Annaram and Sundilla barrages and now both the state government and the construction agency have locked horns on who has to bear the cost of repairs and reconstruction wherever necessary. Then there is the liquor scam in Delhi which has names of several top politicians and business people from the state who are reportedly involved in it.

But still there was nothing the Centre had done to rein in such governments. The argument they would give is we cannot interfere in the affairs of the state unless there is law and order breakdown or some other such emergency. But that does not convince the common man.

Unless the Centre devises method to go in for Swachh, corruption-free state governments, it cannot be claimed that the country has a government which is free from corruption. Otherwise, it would be like a ship with several holes. The captain may be best but the results will not be what they should be.

While the present campaign style and narrative of BJP may work well in the Hindi belt, but down South, it needs to customise its strategy depending on the local situations. The same narrative will not work here. For example, if they talk of Modi government’s achievements during the campaign in Andhra Pradesh, it will not cut ice with the voters. There is a deep-rooted feeling that the BJP government which befriended YSRCP in 2019 remained silent and during the last five years it allowed the state to suffer in terms of development and did nothing to check when politics were getting criminalized.

In Telangana, too, the state unit had kicked off the first phase of campaigns for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday with a 10-day-long Vijay Sankalp Yatra. The focus of the campaign is on the recently formed Congress government saying that it came to power making false promises. It is alleging that BRS and Congress were two sides of the same coin. Such argument cannot be sold here. Here, too, there is strong belief among the people that it was BRS and BJP which were having an understanding to keep Congress at bay. The state BJP has been speaking the language of BRS in criticising the newly formed Congress government and questioning them why they have not yet implemented all the 6 guarantees.

Amidst this scenario, BRS chief KCR hinted at possible tie-up with BJP since most of the former allies of NDA were joining the saffron party. Only for the last few days, it has been vehemently denying any such moves. It would have been advantageous for the BJP if it had treated both the Congress and the BRS with same yardstick for better credibility.

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