The BJP is desperately trying to drum up the so-called lapse in the security of PM Modi on the Punjab tour for an opportunity to make PM Modi the face in the campaign for the assembly elections to be held in five states. The party continues to raise this issue in the upcoming elections, and some programs are also likely to be organised around it.
The entire episode has seemingly allowed the BJP to woo voters in the name of Modi, especially in a crucial state like Uttar Pradesh. By making PM Modi the face of the election campaign, the BJP is expected to get the same benefits as it has many times in the past.
BJP leaders have now started targeting Congress for this lapse in security. To the people’s amusement, on Thursday, BJP leaders across the country went from temple to temple and prayed for the longevity of PM Modi. UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi was eloquent. “‘BJP had not thought of this in advance. The party runs according to what the people of the country feel about an incident. People are angry about the lapse in security of PM Modi, and everyone is praying for the long life of PM,” he claimed.
This poll trick is similar to former Pakistan President (rather a Dictator) Parvez Musharraf. Each time Parvez Musharraf was seen losing power due to unpopularity, suicide bombers and car bombs mysteriously targeted him. However, the sympathy votes went to the Opposition after Benazir Bhutto’s death, whom Mussharaf is allegedly accused of killing.
A habit of double-checking PM Narendra Modi’s claims
Yogi Adityanath once told a Television anchor that it was ‘perception’ and not ‘facts’ that wins elections. PM Narendra Modi has been observed adhering to this policy. His speeches, even from the Red Fort on a day of national importance, was riddled with the perception of claims. A simple fact-checking on the complete electrification claim by PM Modi was found false or, at best, a half-truth.
The rise of independent websites and youtube channels have dulled the national outreach by the pro-government media derogatorily called Godhi Media. Some of these youtube channels have a more extensive viewership than the national media. Most of these channels wouldn’t exist if BJP or PM Narendra Modi stopped lying or spoke half-truths. The youtube channels bring in experts or video analysis each time a BJP spokesman or PM Modi speak.
These independent channels immediately exposed the so-called security breach claim by the BJP. They collected the videos made by onlookers on their mobile. They proved that the so-called protestors were actually the BJP workers chanting pro-Modi slogans with a BJP flag. One video shot by a BJP cadre during the incident also exposed the claim that the people seen in proximity with the PM Modi’s cavalcade stranded on the Punjab flyover were BJP workers and not protestors.
Will the polls go the Mussharaff way?
The Drama created by PM Modi’s alleged statement with the theme “tell your CM I escaped with my life” was immediately compared to Indira Gandhi’s statements in the past to show how strong she was. Punjab CM Charanjit S Channi added to the insult by quoting Sardar Patel. “Someone who is concerned more about his life than his duty should not take a big responsibility in a country like India,” tweeted Mr Channi, with a photo of the freedom fighter.
In Punjab, an obscure CM Channi and the struggling Congress party have received a new lease of life by inflicting PM Modi through the pain of coming to Punjab. Will this put the Aam Admi Party (AAP) on the back foot, or will it win Congress another term? It is not known. But what is known is that BJP is not in contention anymore. Akali Dal, the former ally of BJP, understands the anger against PM Modi in Punjab and has made a minimum noise over the incident. Punjabiyat and insult of Punjab by RSS backed PM Modi could gain ground.
In Uttar Pradesh, this incident will be seen as a further loss of PM Modi’s image, and without doubt, it will amplify BJP’s mishandling of the state. One can gauge the mood in Uttar Pradesh by the incident of BJP MLA Pankaj Gupta, who is from Unnao’s Sadar constituency. A local farmer leader slapped the MLA on the podium. Congress party is not a significant factor in UP, but Priyanka Gandhi may capitalise on the incident to the favour of Congress as the party had taken the might of Hindutva politics in Punjab and can do the same in Uttar Pradesh. BJP is not expected to gain much from beating the Congress horse.
However, BJP can capitalise on the event by polarising the Hindu – Punjabi divide as the Hindu- Muslim divide is not a compelling narrative with a large section of the Indians. The Khalistan narrative had failed to gain traction during the year-long farmer’s agitation and had only fanned the anger among most Sikhs.