I, Me, Modi: Why Narendra Modi made Lok Sabha 2019 all about the Nehru-Gandhi family, Pakistan and himself

Sharat Pradhan
Sharat PradhanMay 20, 2019 | 10:33

I, Me, Modi: Why Narendra Modi made Lok Sabha 2019 all about the Nehru-Gandhi family, Pakistan and himself

Has Narendra Modi's key strategy been self-glorification, combined with the vilification of Pakistan and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty?

With the 2019 General Election coming to a close, what has become increasingly visible is the unending rhetoric on Pakistan, the Nehru-Gandhi family — and Narendra Modi.

This was, however, not the first time that the Nehru family was dragged into the narrative of a political campaign. But the repeated references to Pakistan were surely unprecedented. And so were the echoing references of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “I, me and myself”. Even the 1971 Indo-Pak war that compelled a badly defeated Pakistan to give away half the nation and herald the birth of Bangladesh did not propel a victorious Indira Gandhi to go for such self-glorification.


I, Me, Myself ki sarkaar? Critics suggest Narendra Modi has taken credit for all positive work in the last five years.  (Source: Reuters)

It is amply evident to me from his poll rallies from across the country that credit for anything and everything must accrue to the one-man army called Narendra Modi.

While leaving no stone unturned to create a hype about impending threats from Pakistan, he made it a point to impress upon all and sundry that if India was safe today, it was only because of him. No sooner than Pulwama happened, and we lost precious lives of our Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, blown apart in a human bomb attack by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists, it led to speculation that this would become a key narrative in the election campaign.

Sure enough, the Indian reprisal through a surgical strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist camp in Balakot went a long way in that.

Unlike 2014, when Modi’s development card had people’s aspirations soaring to give him the surge that propelled him to the highest position, the election in 2019 became all about the “Modi success story" in Balakot.

What followed made it increasingly evident that this election was to be won largely in the name of Pakistan phobia that was being hyped, to my mind, by Modi himself.


“The utterances of opposition and maha milawat (grand alliance) are making headlines in Pakistani media. Their names are being quoted in Pakistan Parliament. Is it proper to speak the language of Pakistan while staying in this country? Even an illiterate person of our villages will not speak such language,” said Modi.

On April 17, Modi claimed at a poll rally that India had called Pakistan’s nuclear bluff. “Earlier, terrorists from Pakistan would come here and go back after conducting an attack. Pakistan would threaten us, saying it has the nuclear bomb and will press the button,” Modi said. On April 21 at another rally in the Indo-Pak border town of Barmer, Modi returned to the theme: “Every other day, they used to say ‘we have nuclear button, we have nuclear button’. What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali?”

He made it a point to emphasise, “Atankiyon ke ghar me ghus kar marne ka faisala maine liya. Humne ghus kar mara. Aur ye sabut maang rahe hain (I took the decision of storming into terrorist bastions. We got into their homes and killed them. But they [opposition] want proof)?


Target — Pakistan: Modi ensured Pakistan remained the focus of his politial campaign. (Source: Reuters)

He also reportedly said, “Ab Bharat ne Pakistan ki dhamki se darna ki niti ko chod diya. Ye theek kiya na maine? Humne aatankiyon ke dil mein dar paida kiya. (India has said goodbye to its policy of getting intimidated by Pakistani threats. Haven't I done the right thing? I have instilled fear in the minds of terrorists).”

To drive home his point that he had brought terrorism under control, Modi went on to add, “Paanch saal se sab aatanki dhamake band hain na (Haven’t all terrorist attacks come to an end in these five years?)”

He also reportedly said, “Kya karan hai band hua, doston? Arre Modi kaaran nahi hai, ye aapke vote ki taakat hai ki Modi ye kar paa raha hai. Humne Pakistani ki saari hekri nikal di. Use katora le kar duniya bhar me ghumne ke liye majboor kar diya maine. Theek kiya ki nahi kiya, aap khush hain na (What is the reason that terrorist activities have stopped tell me... It is not Modi but it is the strength of your vote because of which Modi is able to do that. I have silenced the arrogance of Pakistan. I have compelled Pakistan to go around the globe with a begging bowl. Haven’t I done the right thing?”

He then comes to the point, “Aap paanch sal ka mauka aur dijiye — phir dekhiye (You give me a chance for another five years and then see).”

Modi’s obsession for Pakistan was reflected in yet another speech during the course of his campaign in Gujarat. "Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, if a resident of Jamnagar has gone to Bhopal and falls sick, he need not come back to Jamnagar for treatment. If he shows his (Ayushman Bharat) beneficiary card, he will get free treatment in Kolkata and even in Karachi," PM Modi apparently said.

However, he was quick to realise his faux pas, so he rectified it by adding, "Not Karachi, but Kochi” but also apparently hastened to confess, “Nowadays my mind is preoccupied with the thoughts of the neighbouring country."

As for the blame-game, it is more than evident that he holds the Nehru-Gandhi family responsible for anything and everything that has gone wrong with India since Independence. He has never made any bones about suggesting that Sardar Patel would have been a far better choice than Nehru as the first prime minister of India. Some stories were even created to suggest that there were sharp ideological differences between Nehru and Patel — when there was much evidence to establish that the two had the best of relations, not only all through the freedom movement but also after the first government was formed after independence.

Referring to Indira Gandhi, he went to the extent of apparently running her down by accusing her of “getting pressurised into returning all the Pakistani land India had captured in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, together with the 90,000 soldiers who had surrendered before the Indian army.”

Has Narendra Modi glorified himself more than Mrs Indira Gandhi, in whose tenure India won the 1971 war against Pakistan? (Source: India Today)

He further went on to proclaim at a rally in Barmer, “If Modi had then been at the helm of affairs, the scene would have been different.”

As for Rajiv Gandhi, Modi dismissed him as “corrupt number 1”.

You could smell the vitriol in this election's air.

Last updated: May 20, 2019 | 10:33
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