Narendra Modi is fortunate to have raised an army of followers who see nothing other than him. They do not care about the promises he made, nor do they trouble themselves to know about the work he has done so far. For them it is futile to even have a cursory look over the causes of protests waged by farmers, youth, Dalits, backwards and minorities. These followers have only one meaningful mission in their lives – to see Narendra Modi as prime minister for next 50 years, even if that goes against the law of nature. These followers are so excited and filled with enthusiasm that if only Modi declares he has to remain prime minister for the next 50 years, I believe in no time will it be fulfilled. Very few people are as fortunate as our prime minister.
This year and 2019 are the years of elections. Before delving into details about these elections, a thorough examination of the achievements and failures of the government – by the media, by intellectuals and by common people in the last four and half years – is warranted. But this is not the agenda even in informal discussions, not to mention detailed analysis.
Karnataka was the first stop of the experiment started in Gujarat. Now a few other states are going to polls. In order to take stock of the ground realities, Amit Shah and then Narendra Modi would be visiting theses states. Let’s start with Banaras and Rajasthan. In Amit Shah’s public rally in Rajasthan empty chairs were kept on waiting for their occupants, while occupants of remaining chairs, who did not come on their own, remained indifferent to the speeches delivered by the BJP leaders. In Banaras, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath, after having waited for a long time for people to come, addressed empty chairs. Interestingly the lunch packets kept on chairs for rally attendants were devoured by someone else.
The chairs were empty even in Modi’s rally in his constituency. The most astonishing part of the rally was that no sooner had Modi started describing his achievements that the people present at venue started leaving, even those who were sitting in front row stood up to left the venue. In the end prime minister had to appeal the participants to sit down for a while, but he was not obliged. The latest in the series is the rally from Madhya Pradesh, where television channels, newspapers and experts have served their viewers and audience with stories that a large crowd had gathered. But no said as to how many people came and how many chairs were empty. Photographs and videos of empty chairs found space on social media, but not on responsible national media or “Shivraj Media” of Madhya Pradesh. How many times did Prime Minister interact with Shivraj Singh on the stage or what problems he discussed with Amit Shah were watched attentively by the workers? They thought that Modi was giving cold shoulder to Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
Why didn’t people turn up in the public meetings of Amit Shah and Modi? One familiar excuse forwarded by the party: the ground was smaller for the large number of people to turn up in those meetings. BJP created history by dethroning Congress, but the question has never been about dethroning or reinstating the Congress. All that Amit Shah and Modi have been repeatedly saying suggests that the Congress is in power and campaign was on to dethrone the party. They conveniently forget that the people rejected the Congress in 2014. People replaced Congress with the BJP because working style of the Congress had become too much for them and their lives. And here comes the luck of Narendra Modi into play. A small but effective and vocal group makes sure that the only face seen on social media, newspapers, television, etc., should be that of the prime minister’s. For this group Modi is an epitome of success. They long to see Pakistan’s defeat at the hands of Modi. They also want to get rid of Article 370 as a solution to Kashmir problem.
When Modi says that India has grown in stature across the world, people do not ask as to what he means by the stature. In that case foreign investment would have soared up. But sadly enough the data we produce to prove our points is refuted by one financial institution of the world or the other next day. I want to reiterate my point here that Modi has emerged as the luckiest person so far here because people do not want to listen anything negative about him. Once, the famous film actress and former Rajya Sabha member Rekha told me “Luck is a big thing. If your fortune is with you, people will find something spectacular in your wrong doing, but when your stars are not with you, even your good deed will attract criticism.”
Today, Modi’s stars are bright, because the kind of infighting that is raging in BJP is unprecedented. Dismissal of General V.C. Khanduri from the post of the President of the Parliamentary Committee was unparalleled. Gen Khanduri has given report in favor of the army. Now preparations are afoot to rid Murli Manohar Joshi of the Estimation Committee –reason being he has attracted accolades from all quarters for scrupulousness in which the Estimation Committee functioned under his leadership, which has become unbearable to the BJP and its leadership. A lot of doubts have been cast on the procedure of assigning responsibilities, especially on whether the person who is entrusted with a particular task by the party is experienced and capable enough to discharge his responsibilities and promote the party culture. But the internal bickering in BJP, the success or failure of the state leadership is not the subject of discussion. The subject of the discussion is only one and that is a sustained campaign on social media to gloss Modi’s unsuccessful schemes. The impetus is on social media because the obsequious mainstream media has already prostrated itself in front of power.
No leader in the country is so fortunate to have such a larger number of committed volunteers. For that reason BJP is in a jubilant mood. For them it does not matter whether they are able to meet both ends or not, whether they get a job or not, whether the internal or external powers are under control or not. The splendor of blinding halo created around Modi is such that Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi publicly beseeches the criminals of the state to observe a moratorium in crime until the pitrapksha (an auspicious fortnight for the Hindus). Sushil Modi’s flattery to criminals has not yet attracted any reaction from any quarter of the party, not to mention bringing shame. The entreaty by Sushil Modi suggests that the Bihar BJP leaders are either patronizing the criminals or they are in the know of the crimes that beset the state. At the time of writing these lines, Sushil Modi has not expressed any regrets on his statement, nor has he said that it was a slip of tongue. Sushil Modi is not that kind of a man. Nonetheless, Sushil Modi’s entreaty is indicative of the new system that runs the country.