Modi haters are only making it worse for India

Their attacks have ensured that he stays in the minds of all Indian citizens 24x7.

 |  6-minute read |   22-06-2016
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Prime ministers Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao and VP Singh were all riot-tainted, but nobody gave them a tough time for even 24 hours, let alone a decade and counting.

Nobody even knows the names of chief ministers of the states where more than half of the major riots took place in independent India.

narendramodi_pti_9ap_062216013748.jpg It is plausible that 2019 will be much worse than 2014 for Modi haters.

What if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was meted out the same treatment when he was chief minister during the 2002 Gujarat carnage?

Would he have become so notorious and, subsequently, so famous? Would he have become so hated and in turn got such tremendous sympathy from a large section of people whom the haters label as bhakts and trolls? (They had run into crores by the time of the 2014 general elections.)

It is said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. From 2002 to 2014, Modi got tonnes of bad publicity, which simply became tonnes of publicity in the end.

His haters ensured that they attacked him 24x7 - this meant he stayed in the minds of all Indian citizens 24x7.

Modi's haters have proved to be his biggest PR agents in the end. But then that is stale news and everyone has seen and recognised the phase. What's new is that in 2016 they still haven't learnt their lesson and continue to make exactly the same mistakes, and it looks like they will go the whole hog till 2019.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it and it is plausible that 2019 will be much worse than 2014 for Modi haters.

For one, he continues to stay in the news 24X7, but now it is also for positive news like foreign policy, road and power reforms and the like. Modi must be making a lot of mistakes.

However very little time is spent on analysing that and trivial issues like whether he once wore a Louis Vuitton shawl or whether Goggle (sorry Google) thinks he's India's stupidest prime minister (courtesy, Congress leader Raashid Alvi) gain precedence.

50 per cent good publicity + 50 per cent bad publicity over trivial issues effectively translates to 100 per cent of jolly good publicity.

The crimes of others are also attributed to Modi. He is blamed for law and order breakdown in Akhilesh Yadav's Uttar Pradesh (#Dadri #AwardWapsi). Mamata Banerjee's problems are being blamed on him (West Bengal nun rape case).

Modi was chief minister when Gujarat burned in 2002 and more than 1,000 were killed. Modi haters couldn't even pin the blame for the carnage on Modi (he won three state elections and 200 million voted for the NDA in 2014), so how do Modi haters plan to attribute rival CMs' failures on Modi? The anti-Modi camp has clearly not thought this through.

Another strategy was to attack Gujarat. Gujaratis were dubbed communal bigots and claims of development rubbished. That backfired and curiously their new strategy is even worse. Since Modi is prime minister of the India, India itself is rubbished.

How that works nobody knows. Yoga Day is ridiculed. India's setbacks on the foreign policy stage are celebrated. Won't all this push people towards Modi instead of his haters, thereby making him more powerful?

Then there's the question of a suitable challenger to the prime minister. Former deputy prime minister LK Advani took on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009.

It was Congress president Sonia Gandhi versus Prime Minister AB Vajpayee in 2004.

In the 1998 and 1999 elections we had strong prime-ministerial candidates in the form of Madhavrao Scindia and Rajesh Pilot from the Congress.

It used to be a battle of equals once upon a time. One of the reasons why the BJP thrashed the Congress with 282-44 in 2014 was the mismatch between Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

By attacking Modi, his haters are putting him on his guard all the time and by refusing to go after his rivals, they are lulling them into a false sense of security. Pappu has been relaunched half a dozen times.

If he lasts in politics till 2019, there will be yet another relaunch instead of a possible transformation or his party looking for a viable alternative. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is making a fool of himself by gallivanting all over India while Jungle Raj rages on at home.

All the sins of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and even a non-entity like Kanhaiya Kumar are being washed away. But court cases are finally catching up with Kejriwal - the office of profit involving 21 MLAs being merely one of them.

A final point is that anti-incumbency is actually a rarity in Indian politics at the Centre. Jawaharlal Nehru won every general election in his life. Indira Gandhi lost only due to the Emergency and made a comeback despite her excesses.

Rajiv lost due to Bofors and Manmohan won in 2009 despite doing nothing really great. The BJP saw a marginal fall in 2004 and the Congress a marginal hike in 2004 and the two were neck and neck. At present, the difference (280-45) is simply too vast for such a situation to repeat itself.

It will take an earth-shattering event by 2019 to knock Modi off his perch. Controversies like the Louis Vuitton shawl or even #AwardWapsi will make no dent.

Most Modi haters make self-fulfilling prophecies. If he continues winning in Gujarat, he will become a powerful national leader. If he wins in Gujarat again (2012) he will make a bid for the prime post of prime minister.

If he becomes prime minister, he will wipe out all opposition.

The biggest unfulfilled prophecy is that he will become a fascist dictator. Will that too come true?

Many theorise that if the BJP goes down from 280 to 230 in 2019, Modi's position will be severely weakened.

That may not happen.

In 2013, the BJP brutally crushed their opponents in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In 2014, the BJP stormed into the bastions of Maharashtra and Haryana and even entered Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2016, they breached the Northeast and made gains in Kerala and West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the Congress continues to hurtle from one disaster to another.

So what if the BJP, instead of going down from 280 to 230 in 2019, goes up to 330? In light of all of the above, this is an eventuality.

Then Modi would own the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, the president, the vice president along with the biggest communication channels in the land - Doordarshan and All India Radio. (By the way, he's already the boss of Twitter.)

Dictator anyone?

Writer

Sunil Rajguru Sunil Rajguru @sunilrajguru

The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.

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