PM Modi is a popular man. He always draws huge crowds, no matter where he goes. That’s a given. The only difference is the enthusiasm.
If you have heard the roar of the crowd in Ghaziabad yesterday, you know what I am talking about.
After five years in power, the roar had subsided somewhat. After all, there is no such thing as a permanent high. And no matter what work is done in five years, you can’t match the thrill of the challenger, the challenger from Gujarat who would open up unlimited possibilities for India.
Then came a few electoral setbacks for PM Modi. The results of the three Hindi heartland states showed rather little classical anti-incumbency, more like boredom. Rahul went on a rampage assuming he was already Prime Minister. The Mahagathbandhans began to take shape.
I would say there was an inflexion point sometime in January when the reality of the General Election began to set in. People began to realize that Modi sarkar was coming to an end. Really. Over the last five years, PM Modi had become a member of every family, whether loved or hated. People were very emotional about him and every little thing was connected to him personally. And like any family living under the same roof, they step on each other’s toes.
Like we say in Hindi, two vessels in the same kitchen are bound to knock over each and make a sound once in a while.
But then people realized the election was actually coming. Whatever the little bickering, they didn’t really want PM Modi out of their family. And PM Modi, for his part, took some measures to be extra nice: reservation for economically weaker sections, gifts to marginal farmers and income tax waiver up to Rs 5 lakh.
Meanwhile, the most unpopular people in the country were preparing for a comeback. They got so confident that they even involved Priyanka Gandhi. And now it seems Robert Vadra is itching for his share of the pie.
Those two weeks or so which covered the Budget Session and the entry of Priyanka might have been the turning point of 2019.
If the December mood had persisted, BJP could have gone reeling downhill. Sometime around mid-January, they began to turn the tide and arrest the decline.
And now, that roar is back.
After the Balakot Air Strike, the roar has returned to Modi’s rallies. The spontaneous enthusiasm is back.
A word about those asking for “proof” ( I plan to write a separate post, perhaps tomorrow explaining what I think are the issues with giving direct “proof”) of strikes.
As it is, Pakistan *still* won’t let anyone visit the spot of the Balakot Air Strike, almost two weeks after the Indian operation took place. Do you still need proof of what happened?
But first, those demanding proof should answer for their comments the last time they insulted our Army and PM Modi after the surgical strike of 2016.
They called PM Modi a “khoon ka dalal”, remember?
Have they apologized? Top Congress leaders said the strikes were fake, supported Pakistan’s version. Have they apologized? Has Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi condemned them?
So we know one thing for sure: that many Congress leaders made an attempt to undermine India’s credibility the last time our military carried out strikes on terrorists across the Line of Control.
So who should be giving “proof”? Shouldn’t it be the people who lost their credibility the last time around? Isn’t the onus on them to prove that they are not doing the wrong thing again due to political jealousy? And in the process undermining India and in some sense helping Pakistan?
Thirty days before the election, the opposition has almost vanished from the scene, except for a few statements here and there which are then played by Pakistani media!
PM Modi has always towered over Rahul Gandhi, but rarely before has the difference in stature seemed to be so much. You can see this in Google Trends as well.
For about 5 days between Jan 10 and Jan 14, Rahul trended above Modi. He spent the rest of January playing catch up, as usual, but at least in the vicinity. Now, he’s nowhere.
You can already feel it: a faction of “intellectuals” is getting ready for a second term of Modi rule, irritated and whining. They are preparing excuses already: top among them being that Modi won due to “war hysteria”.
No dear, Modi was always winning. BJP was always going to get many more seats than Congress. The “intellectuals” were only hoping that Congress would put up a half decent performance and then cobble together the numbers required to form a majority with the help of dozens of “maha milawat” parties.
Those who complained that Modi got power with “just 31%” of the vote were hoping that Congress would limp to 22-24% and somehow regain the PM seat. That may no longer happen now.
And PM Modi is in no way responsible for the wicked, partisan manner in which the opposition reacted after the air strike. The opposition could have chosen not to become Imran Khan fans. Did PM Modi tell the opposition and its entire ecosystem to shower flowers on Pakistan’s PM? No, they did it on their own. And now if people of India choose to punish the opposition for it in the election, it’s all their own doing.