It’ll be business as usual for Modi
In a few hours from now, by this afternoon precisely, the much-awaited results of the Assembly elections held to the five states in the recent weeks...
For those who presume to see Modi's sullen face on March 11, this could come as a disappointment. He won't be affected because he knows BJP will be safe as none of Opposition leaders has the national stature required and the same could not be that easily acquired in the next couple of years and in the race to the 2019 General Elections
In a few hours from now, by this afternoon precisely, the much-awaited results of the Assembly elections held to the five states in the recent weeks would have been declared. If you are a political creature, you could be either celebrating it in one way or the other or a pall of gloom might have descended on you. If not, you could simply shrug off the results as a routine that happens every day and get along with your daily chores.
Believe me, the heavens are not going to fall either way for Narendra Modi. Neither is his 'chappan inch ki chaati' going to shrink by an inch nor is it going to swell in pride as there are several things on his mind and he will get immersed in them as usual.
But, those who have been hanging onto every word that the psephologists have been uttering or following every story in the media are not going to let it go. They are bound to discuss and debate how everything is set to change "henceforth, because Modi has lost UP/Modi has won UP.”
Let me assure these guys that all the excitement will simply boil down to Modi congratulating the winners in the event he loses, and appeal to them to join hands in the nation development business. If it is the other way round, he would simply thank the people for having reposed confidence in him and promise them that his good work would continue.
For those who presume to see Modi's sullen face, this could come as a disappointment. But, they should know better. We have all seen Modi's mood after the Bihar elections when the BJP took a beating in the hands of the 'Mahagathbandhan.' It was business as usual for him.
Similarly, if the 'Minigathbandhan' of UP manages a victory, Modi is not going to be affected. He won't be affected because he knows that the BJP will be safe as long as the Opposition remains fragmented. He knows that none of the leaders of the Opposition has the national stature required and the same could not be that easily acquired in the next couple of years and in the race to the 2019 General Elections.
The names that instantly come to your mind when a reference is made to the not-so-tall leadership of the Opposition is perhaps a Nitish Kumar, an Akhilesh Yadav, a Mamata Benerjee or a Mayawati. No one seems to be taking the Left front seriously any longer in this country in the changed economic scenario, what with their diminished role in the national politics.
It is in no position to commandeer the respect of all opposition as it has lost its adhesive quality of the past when a stalwart like Harikishan Singh Surjeet used to play a stellar role in binding the opposition against the BJP. Surjeet, known for his steadfast opposition to the BJP and communalism, was instrumental in forging a number of anti-BJP coalitions in the 1990s and for ensuring the support of the Left parties to the then UPA governments.
There is no Surjeet now in the Left. That only emboldens Modi to go about his policies and impose his ideas on the nation. Modi is also aware of the fact that the present stock of Opposition has no fundamental resolve to come together to fight him and his party tooth and nail.
At the best, they might decide to extend issue-based support to the BJP-led NDA. These leaders are also worried about perceptional politics. Growing ultra-nationalistic feelings throughout the world and the growing tentacles of terror make them wary of reacting to the policies of the Centre all the time.
Secondly, none of the leaders is agreeable to a common agenda –which they require apart from their anti-Modi agenda – to stay strong and united. Each one of them has been playing the local card at the drop of the hat and, more so, during elections such as these to hit out at Modi and his party.
We have seen this in play in every state that has gone to polls in the recent. Be it in Punjab, UP, Bihar, Telangana or even in Gujarat, the local and the non-local sentiments were aroused and the opponents were challenged. (So much so that finally even the Congress had to project Rahul as a local talent in UP in the company of Akhilesh, and question Modi's outsider image despite his being the Prime Minister and that too as the one representing Varanasi).
Modi knows that the greater the play their local cards, they would be more vulnerable when it comes to playing a national role. So far the BJP is the only party that has been seen as a pan-Indian offer (in the Assembly elections), thanks to such pranks that the "locals" adopted diminishing and confining their images to the local level.
This apart, the caste and religious bases that the parties prefer to maintain and the identities that they had cultivated assiduously all the while would offer them little leeway to compromise in any political parleys. Imagine a scenario wherein the combined Opposition outsmarts the BJP and decides to form the government and the leaders sit together to decide on their PM candidate.
Who would be the most acceptable leader to them? Is there a single name? That is the real weapon that the BJP would have in its hand when it comes to the next General Elections. Hence, Modi will be more worried about his economic agenda than the political outcome of these elections.
Yes, he would be happy if he wins UP too. But, he will be happier if AAP routs the Congress in Punjab and Goa which effectively could prompt Rahul Gandhi to go on an unannounced holiday abroad for a long, long time to come. Modi is aware of the ground realities far better than the Opposition leaders. As long as the AAP continues to rise, the Congress would get pushed into a greater oblivion like a lost satellite in the vast dark outer space.
Modi needs UP too in his kitty more to increase his numbers in the Rajya Sabha to counter the Opposition onslaught on his economic agenda. As for these Assembly elections, he knows that people have also adopted the two-pronged strategy sometimes. In 2012, UP hoisted the SP firmly in the driving position, but just a couple of years down the line, it opted for the BJP in the elections to the Parliament.
Voters said "Mulayam for UP and Modi for Delhi.” Modi did his best in Delhi elections too, yet voters said, "AAP for us and you for the nation.” And they did not allow the BJP to mess up with their choice. Just as they swept aside the SP in 2014, they did sweep aside the BJP in Delhi.
Of course, there would be efforts by someone in the Opposition to bring them all together. Someone like KCR might attempt to experiment it if Modi loses UP, if the Congress does not come out of the comatose state it is in now under the brilliant leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
Knowing the constraints full well in this attempt, the BJP would not be too much worried. To those who expect an internal revolt against Modi in the event of his losing UP, Punjab and Goa, remember that the RSS would step in and undertake the necessary course correction. So don't get too excited today with the results. Sit back and enjoy. That is all!