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2024 Lok Sabha elections: Pappu paas ho gaya, admit it, but beware of what he is going to do next

If we loosen our guard right now, we would risk going into a spiral of chaos and conflicts from where it would be too late to recover from.

In a meeting convened after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections concluded, the INDI Alliance members came up with their own exit poll – calling it Janta Ka Poll – and claimed that their alliance was going to win 295 seats. Not 290, not 300, not even a range, but exactly 295.

Many wondered what was the symbolism, if any. Later while replying tersely to questions by journalists, Rahul Gandhi referred to Sidhu Moosewala while reinforcing the number 295. 295 was title of one of the hit songs by Moosewala, a Punjabi rapper known for inflammatory lyrics and glorification of gun culture. He was killed in 2022 in an apparent inter-gang rivalry.

So that was it? Clearly there was some symbolism to it as INDI Alliance guys obviously hadn’t employed some polling agency to undertake a survey where this exact number of 295 emerged. But symbolism linked to a Punjabi rapper sounded rather random. While Rahul Gandhi may have thrown Moosewala’s name, there is another symbolism with 295 that I feel is more relevant.

295 was the total number of Lok Sabha seats Janata Party had won in 1977 Lok Sabha elections – an election where someone immensely popular and powerful like Indira Gandhi was defeated.

295 and “Janata” ka poll – two things that directly refer to the 1977 elections is too much of a coincidence. Even if it was not deliberate symbolism, it actually betrays what the alliance thought it was doing – it believed Modi to be as powerful and popular like Indira when she was at her peak, and they imagined themselves as the bunch of folks who were going to overthrow the ‘despot’.

It’s rather ironic that it was being led by the grandson of Indira, but then when has irony dawned upon Rahul Gandhi anyway.

In 2024, Modi was facing challenge as a two term Prime Minister – something Manmohan Singh had faced ten years ago. Drawing that parallel, I personally thought that Modi had nothing to worry, because none of those factors that led to defeat of Manmohan Singh was applicable to Narendra Modi. I obviously wasn’t too way off the mark and results are a victory of Modi government even if BJP alone failed to get the majority mark. But Modi 3.0 is going to be a reality unlike UPA-III.

However, it is clear that the opposition and its supportive ecosystem weren’t trying to defeat Modi the way Manmohan Singh was defeated – even though all of them conjured up non-existent big-ticket scams around Electoral Bonds and Adani and earlier Rafael – but they were trying to defeat Modi as Indira was defeated.

Just look at the reasons why Indira Gandhi was defeated in 1977 – unrest and chaos triggered by protests, especially student protests around unemployment, historically high (till date) inflation figures, charges of election malpractices (that led to disqualification of Indira from her parliamentary seat later) and subsequent imposition of Emergency.

Don’t they match point by point with charges that the opposition and its ecosystem threw at Modi? They were so desperate to match point by point that they came up with the term “Undeclared Emergency” because Modi didn’t impose any real Emergency like Indira.

They have failed to defeat Modi and their 295 dreams didn’t materialize. But they haven’t spectacularly failed. The opposition and the supportive ecosystem – which includes foreign press, domestic YouTube warriors, academics, activists, and all sorts of foreign outfits trying to affect narratives through modern tools like AI – have tasted blood as their strategy definitely worked in Uttar Pradesh. They are now going to up the ante. That’s why they are celebrating. It is in anticipation of ‘the next level’.

While their plans might have passed a little test, it’s our duty that the nation doesn’t fail.

Fortunately, what this lot is going to do in future is now very clear, and thus we can’t say that we didn’t see it coming as many are currently saying about Uttar Pradesh. This lot, led by Rahul Gandhi, is definitely going to synthetically re-create the challenges that Indira Gandhi faced as Modi enters his third term; because that is one thing about Rahul Gandhi that is guaranteed – he will keep doing the same thing again and again, hoping that it works once at least. And his supportive ecosystem isn’t tired of that trait of him either, after all they themselves have re-launched him over dozens of times, literally, ever since he joined active politics.

So what to expect from Rahul Gandhi and his ‘gang of brothers’ in coming months and years?

Essentially, more and more engineered chaos and conflict.

The first of these things are going to protests, all kinds of. Farmers with Moosewala and AK47 stickers on their tractors can come back for third season in all probability. That’s where Rahul Gandhi wasn’t too off the mark when he ‘explained’ 295.

The new introduction in this season of protests would be overt use of caste (because that has been a major factor in Uttar Pradesh upset). As such, even farmer protests were essentially caste protests only led by Jatt farmers, but now we’d have non-farmer protests with one or the other caste group coming out in streets to fight for their ‘rights’.

This is going to be the trickiest for the BJP to handle because more often than not, the party and its support system ends up offering ‘forked versions’ of caste narrative than an alternative version. ‘Subaltern Hindutva’ was somewhat an alternative narrative (not exactly around caste system, but around social dynamics) but it has remained primarily a pop-term only after gaining currency post the 2014 parliamentary victory. A well thought of plan to counter exploitation of this faultline is badly needed.

The demand for caste census obviously will grow and for that general census itself has to be completed that has been pending since 2021. Fear mongering around census will happen again linking it to NRC, and kaagaz nahi dikhaayenge nonsense will come back.

Then there will be North-South divide campaign. While the ecosystem is feigning all respect and admiration for Uttar Pradesh for halting BJP’s march currently, the supportive ecosystem of INDI Alliance will continue to mock, defame, and spread hatred about the ‘fast breeding’ ‘uneducated’ ‘unclean’ bhaiyyas. This will especially be triggered as we move close to delimitation of Parliamentary seats that is scheduled to happen in 2026 or thereafter.

Remember that delimitation too is contingent upon census. Therefore, undertaking the census is going to be a huge headache for Modi government; more than operational issues, the government will have to fight unmatched levels of propaganda and fear mongering. Attempts to keep out infiltrators from getting counted in the census would be headlines about Muslim persecution in the foreign press.

These is just an indicative list. Think of any faultline, or not even faultline but just a degree of difference among the citizens – whether based on region, language, caste, religion, class, or anything you can count – and a chaotic narrative around that will be introduced. Foreign press will suddenly discover how group A in this part of India has been oppressing group B, and how the world must not avert their eyes. All eyes on India, you see.

It’s not time to laugh at Pappu paas ho gaya or Pappu can’t dance saala. Pappu paas bhi ho gaya hai and he is dancing to the tunes of neo-colonial powers. It’s time to resolve that this evil plan of this lot is not going to get support by us even unknowingly. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s just about Modi. Obviously on the surface, it’s about defeating him, but dig deep beyond the surface and you see what is cooking.

The current state of affairs of our nation could be far from perfect, but if we loosen our guard right now, we would risk going into a spiral of chaos and conflicts from where it would be too late to recover from.

(Update: an earlier version of the article erroneously referred to Rahul Gandhi as the granddaughter of Indira Gandhi. The error is regretted and fixed now, with assumption that Rahul Gandhi identifies himself with the gender assigned at birth.)

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Rahul Roushan
Rahul Roushan
A well known expert on nothing. Opinions totally personal. RTs, sometimes even my own tweets, not endorsement. #Sarcasm. As unbiased as any popular journalist.

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