Samajwadis might be thumping their chests in joy and they definitely have a reason (or more) to. Winning the Cycle symbol, electing Akhilesh Yadav as the party supremo, the crowd at the rallies and the dwindling prospects of BJP could be a few reasons. However, this jubilance could meet a fugacious fate, for, the Bharatiya Janata Party has an open weapon, Narendra Modi which could be launched any moment. As we have seen in the recent electoral past, it has been customary for Modi to conduct rallies especially prior to elections. The impregnable eloquence with which Modi mesmerizes the voters is a token of the impact Modi’s enigmatic juggernaut has and will have. As an example, the recent post-demonetization speech by Modi in Lucknow, drew in around 10 lakhs of people, which is unprecedented by any means.
Public Perception: On my way to Belur Math in Kolkata, I happened to strike a conversation with an ola cab driver and asked him feedback on Modi rallies, to which he responded “Modi bhashan koi nahi kar sakta.” I got a similar response from other people i met. The take home here is the use of the phrase “Modi bhashan” and not “Modi’s bhashan”. This indicates Modi is no more an individual, he has metamorphosed into a brand, a Modi brand. The charisma of Modi is not unknown to his opponents, however, lack of a credible, charismatic and formidable opponent seems to be the issue which is clear in opposition’s unity (regardless of ideology) in admonishing Modi.
Let’s consider some possible favorite weapons which could be fired on Modi.
‘Insider Vs Outsider’. The ‘Bahari Vs Bihari’ concept worked against Modi in Bihar. However, it is a different scenario in UP. There is no Nitish Kumar equivalent in UP. ‘Development’ took back seat during the SP rule. There are other reasons too. Modi could always claim to be MP of Benares, which is part of UP. Also, UP despite being a non-Gujarat state, has a rare distinction of being an equally mainstream state, as a result, this attack would cut no ice and would result in a futile attempt.‘Dadri Lynching’ could be a possible weapon. However, considering this a law and order subject of the state, I would be surprised to see a shrewd politician like Mulayam using this against Modi. Since Congress is happy to play second fiddle to SP, it wouldn’t use this either.
The most possible and favorite weapon in recent times is ‘demonetization’. However, Modi’s popularity post-demonetization took even political pundits by surprise. Despite facing hardships, and expressing dissatisfaction, Modi’s move appears to have backing of the people. Like I mentioned in this previous article of mine, this was one of the biggest political gambles Modi could have ever played. Opposition has constantly been attacking Modi on demonetization. Many are discombobulated at the audacity with which opposition has been brazenly attacking Modi, despite public approval. Like Marcus Cicero says, “To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant but utterly shameless”. Since the Uttar Pradesh elections has been announced to be conducted in seven phases, there is ample time for entertainment. Sit back and relax. Time for popcorn and soda!