Countdown to 16 May : Important New Trends

On 10 April, elections were held in Delhi and west Uttar Pradesh. There was voting too for 6 seats in Bihar. Overall, votes were cast for a total of about 91 seats. The percentage of voting was splendid. At the root of this was of course the publicity by the Election Commission, its efforts that the maximum number of voters should cast their votes, and since the last few elections greater enthusiasm can be seen amongst young voters to cast their votes. Suddenly, youths between 18 to 24 years have started believing that elections are most important. Earlier, there used to be ‘workers’ in the elections. Thereafter, in the last 10-15 years instead of ‘workers’, young people working on daily expenses were used in the elections. But after the last assembly elections in Delhi, throughout the country parties started getting young workers afresh. In these Lok Sabha elections, young workers had participated actively in their parties activities, participated in the elections. The share of young voters played an important role.
Now these youth votes, which are being given in large numbers and which have increased the percentage of voting from 65 to 70 and from 70 to 73 – in whose favour they will go cannot be said at the moment, but Narendra Modi’s publicity team is saying this percentage went in their favour. On the morning of 11 April, the information had been conveyed to almost all important journalists that in all the Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and west Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party was certainly winning and all the people had voted in favour of Narendra Modi. It may be that this has happened, but it is not important that it has happened, because what has happened will be found on 16 May when the figures captured in the EVM data will become known. What is important is that voting ended in the evening at 6 p.m. on 10 April and by 9 a.m. on the morning of 11 April information from various sources had somehow or the other been conveyed to all journalists, important politicians and opinion makers that this round was Narendra Modi’s and in the third round of voting more than 95 per cent seats are going in Narendra Modi’s favour.

The Congress in the last 10 years did good work even though the results did not appear to be good. Leaving aside the Right to information Act, all the other laws were seen to be helping and in favour of corruption, but the Congress left the electoral battle without a fight… It seems as if within the Congress there is no political thinking left and no will or strong wish to fight a battle.

This is success. Whether Narendra Modi spent or did not spend 10,000 crore rupees on publicity is a matter of debate, but if Narendra Modi spent 10,000 crore rupees, then they were spent with an intelligent mind. On the other hand, even if 10,000 crore rupees were spent, they were spent foolishly, because no publicity appears to have been done in favour of the Congress. The Congress in the last 10 years did good work even though the results did not appear to be good. Leaving aside the Right to Information, all the other laws were seen to be helping and in favour of corruption, but the Congress left the electoral battle without a fight and in the midst of the elections allowed its ‘soldiers’ to say that at the level of concept, the Congress has lost the elections.
Jairam Ramesh, P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony are prominent among such people who have made the ‘announcement’ of the end of Congress possibilities and the Congress has not given them any punishment. All these three people are members of various Committees and even now P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony are very close to Sonia Gandhi and Jairam Ramesh to Rahul Gandhi. It seems as if within the Congress there is no political thinking left and no will or strong wish to fight a battle. It seems that the Congress took back as commission 50 per cent of what it paid to the Japanese company to which it entrusted its campaign on contract. I am saying this because those Indian colleagues which this Japanese company kept with it could not understand how an election campaign should be organised. Perhaps a second reason could also have been that Rahul Gandhi did not assign anybody the responsibility of what the basic form of the campaign should be. The Congress and Rahul Gandhi were seen only – and only—as giving clumsy answers to what Narendra Modi was saying.
Why the Congress surrendered its weapons, there may be many reasons for this. The first reason is that when Sonia Gandhi decided that Rahul Gandhi would be the future leader of the Congress, then Sonia Gandhi’s team stopped working and wasted its entire time wondering how to work in Rahul Gandhi’s team. They could not work at all. There is a process for transfer of power, but to believe that Rahul Gandhi does not even have the intelligence to understand how to use a mixed strength, one can’t have faith in this. All the options and alternatives were open to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. There was the option of filling people of the party with enthusiasm, there was the option of strengthening the party, there was the option of engaging prominent people in the party in the election campaign, there was the option of promising them a Rajya Sabha seat and getting them to work for the party, but there was no such stirring visible anywhere.
On the other side Narendra Modi has been fighting the elections since the last three years. Three years meaning ever since he made Amitabh Bachchan the brand ambassador of Gujarat, who increased the intensity of gradual campaigns like ‘Gujarat-Gujarat-Gujarat- Gujarat’ and then Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. Narendra Modi appointed his first class IAS officers to oversee the entire election. Nowhere did Narendra Modi rely on his political workers. The only exception is Amit Shah, whom he had sent months ago to Uttar Pradesh, because he knew that the kind of grouping and contradictions that were there in Uttar Pradesh – he could not combat them through an Uttar Pradesh leader, therefore he sent his most trustworthy Amit Shah. Narendra Modi’s strategy was substantially successful. At the very least Narendra Modi’s campaign did not run weakly anywhere in the country and in the entire country he made the Bharatiya Janata Party irrelevant as a party.
No big leader of the party is campaigning electorally anywhere in the country. All the people are in their election constituencies. Only one special person is campaigning in the entire country and saying that you give me your vote and I will give you change, I will give you good governance, give you Swaraj and that special person is Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi did not show any laxity either in spending money. To get all those classes to stand with him who do not go with Hindu society, he used the policy of “Saam, Daam, Dand and Bhed” (Saam: to advice and ask; Daam: to offer and buy; Dand: to punish; Bhed: exploiting the secrets ) and also successfully sent the message to Muslims that that if they stay with Narendra Modi, they will be happier and more comfortable and if they stay with the Congress they will be miserable. Amongst Muslims too confusion has increased, but this confusion is not benefitting the Congress and instead at different places it is giving different benefits. In Uttar Pradesh, it is helping the Samajwadi Party and in Bihar it will now go with Laloo Yadav and Nitish Kumar. In these two States at least it cannot be seen to be helping the Congress.
Therefore, where without fighting the Congress has given up command of the electoral war, there it is now on the judgement and discretion of the people that recognising the reality of promises they stand with Narendra Modi or with the Congress which does not speak about promises with honesty or whether they go with the regional parties. No matter who wins, the country will win – this should be believed and whoever wins should work for the country. Such a small expectation we must have from those who will win.

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