‘India First’ or ‘India Shining’?
[dropcap]G[/dropcap]ujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi, is in top form ever since the BJP has decided to project him as the next Prime Minister-in-waiting. Speeding on top gear while addressing a mammoth gathering in Hyderabad on Sunday (August 11), Modi flagged off the BJP’s campaign for 2014 elections to the Lok Sabha with a clarion call to rid the country of Congress rule while simultaneously, he sought to attract the support of parties in South India, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP and the AIADMK.As chairman of the BJP’s campaign committee, Modi emphasized that development was the foundation of the vision of India. Accordingly, the “only religion” should be “India First” with the Constitution as its mantra. He invoked the slogan “Bharat Bhakti” meaning people’s power for the welfare of India’s 1.25 billion population. In a move to stoke communal feelings in spite of granting creation of Telengana State Modi has accused the Congress of creating a wedge between the people of Telengana and Seemandhra (Rayalseema and Andhra regions of Andhra Pradesh) by emphasizing the Congress failure to build a capital for Seemandhra despite promises since 2004. This was the prime reason for the ongoing protests over the decision to carve out a separate State, claimed.
Modi has accused the Congress of “divide and rule policy” and had warned the people not to get provoked by Congress games. Unfortunately for the UPA government, it had become afflicted with so many scams that it is under the grip of impression of all round failure, corruption and vote bank politics. Modi claimed that Congress had become a burden to the country and the youth, farmers and the poor were getting into the mood to oust the party from the reins of power.
He also could not help but vociferously voice his opinion against the silence of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh over the killing of Indian soldiers by the Pakistani army and reminded the gathering of the government’s failure to give a“befitting reply” to Pakistan but silently tolerating the incident.
Even if for political gain, despite the tainted mantle he dons for the post-Gothra anti-Muslim riots, Modi seems to have scored brownie points. The BJP’s entry into the national political arena was with the election of a very few negligible number of MPs to the Lok Sabha. Over time, the Indian electorate became somewhat disappointed with Congress rule followed by Prime Ministers of mish-mash political parties who lasted for short periods.
In this scenario, the electorate seemed galvanized by the idea of “Why not give the BJP a chance?” From this it followed that after the rule of the United Front government, the BJP at last got its mandate which it honoured to its full term under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
But then, the cracks in the BJP began to show and so the electorate, in its wisdom, reverted back to its old familiar meadow of the Congress for better or worse. Thus we now have the UPA coalition for two consecutive tenures despite the tantrums of the Trinamool Congress and BSP and the Samajwadi Party etc.
The BJP could not win a second tenure despite its slogan of “India Shining” amidst much fanfare the last of which not being the multi-lane highway to connect New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, which initially seemed so attractive and compelling.
Can Modi’s “India First” slogan outdo it?