In the wake of Kairana elections and a loss in Noorpur by a whisker, Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement which escaped the attention of most political observers: “One has to take two steps backwards for a giant leap,” he said.
Now the delusion of this “deep state” within India, read as Lutyens Media and their ‘left-liberal’ cohorts, was understandable. After all, last four years have been a nightmare for them. The cloak of respectability has been torn off their break-India agenda. Celebrations have been few and far between. They have every right to wet beaks in their otherwise parched political landscape. But the disappointment of BJP supporters too seems to have drowned the importance of this statement by the Home Minister.
An educated guess is that Rajnath Singh through his quip was hinting at a consolidation of Hindu voters in the light of Kairana reverse. He was echoing what Sujoy Ghosh so brilliantly elucidated in OpIndia. Around 15 percent who voted in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 state assembly elections, stayed away from Kairana bypoll while the margin of victory for the opposition’s Tabassum Begun was only 4.6 %. Impressively, no less than 77 percent of Hindus voted for BJP in Kairana. What happens when these missing 15% and the remaining Hindus do turn up in the 2019 General Elections? Another impressive analysis in Swarajya reasserts the impression.
Make no mistake, Hindus in Kairana would be smarting in anger. The same is the mood in Karnataka where despite 104 seats, BJP and the people of the state are watching the tragic comedy of Congress-JDS alliance. This groundswell of anger is bound to help BJP.
Rajnath Singh is known to be a man of few words. But when he says “two steps backwards,” it suggests a great strategy of Hindu consolidation being put in place by the BJP. That perhaps might also explain why Gorakhpur and Phulpur weren’t fiercely protected. The idea is for Hindus to be mindful that they could be overwhelmed in their own country in 2019. Not only BJP cadre and supporters, but even common Hindus must not lull themselves into a false sense of security. This heightened Hindu anxiety would only end up in consolidation for BJP.
It would be utterly foolish on opposition’s part to believe Modi-Shah have been cornered. Their last four years have shown, if anything, that they invest a lot of time in strategizing and ruthlessly executing their designs. They are utterly capable of winning affections of people by a dramatic measure: It could be Ram Janmabhoomi; Income or the long-pending Hindu issues of owning temples and Right To Education (RTE). Even a politically agnostic would know that Modi-Shah, in the home run to 2019 General Elections, would have an ace up their sleeves.
So while opposition has shown its card—alliance and understanding at all cost without an ideology or a Prime Ministerial candidate to project—nobody knows what aces BJP has up its sleeve. A party which went into 2014 General Elections with 4 states today has 19. In just four years such an expansion has come about because of BJP’s skin-in-the-game. The micromanagement of an election, from the local issues to booth management, nobody does better than BJP.
So when Rajnath Singh says “two steps backwards for a giant leap,” opposition must stop in their tracks and ponder. They have walked into a trap and are more discredited than ever. Their game is out in the open even as they are clueless on the next move of Modi-Shah duo. They would have nowhere to run but to their doom, come 2019 General Elections.