Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Elections 2019: BJP has a plan B in place which can be deployed in 20 mins

‘Even if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gets 160 seats out of 545, we’re coming back to power. And Narendra Modi will be Prime Minister again’. This was not a Modi bhakt speaking but the resigned observation of an aide of a top minister in the Modi cabinet.

The aide conceded that in the first phase in Uttar Pradesh for instance where in 2014, BJP had got all eight seats, this time they might get two – Gautambudhnagar (or NOIDA) and Ghaziabad. ‘We are losing three, four seats from every state’ he said. But ‘it will take no more than 20 minutes after the results are out for Modi to form the government’.

‘The plan is already in place’ he said succinctly.

Modi’s speeches in Andhra Pradesh have made no mention of YSR Congress. His enemy is the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). He tore into Chandrababu Naidu, sparing no abuse. 

A few days later, he went to Odisha. When he spoke at Kalahandi, he launched a frontal attack on the Congress. In Sundargarh too, he targeted the Congress.Sure, he spoke about the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the ruling regime legend in Odisha, the longevity of which no one can convincingly explain. But the reference was in relation to the slowness with which the state government took decisions. In Sundargarh, he expounded about the ‘neeyat’ of the BJD that kept from the people of Odisha, all the goodies – housing, cash, welfare schemes, insurance schemes -the central government had in mind for them.

This is very odd. It was the BJD which beat back the all-India Modi wave in 2014 – the party won 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats and 112 out of 147 assembly seats. It stands to reason that BJD should be the BJP’s primary enemy: but the way Modi spoke, it was not – it was the Congress.

Look at the data: in 2014, the Congress got around 21 per cent of the total vote. But the BJD got 44.7 per cent. And the BJP got just 8 per cent. In the 2014 assembly election, the Congress got 25.71 per cent of the vote. But the BJP got 17 per cent and the BJD, 43.35.

So clearly what the BJP is trying to do is not weaken the BJD – but get into the head of the Congress voter to tear him away from that party and turn him into a BJP voter.

In a sense, the BJP is doing the heavy lifting for the BJD by destroying the opposition and taking the Congress’s place as BJD’s primary opposition.

That process will take a long time. But till then why not make a friend of an enemy’s enemy? In other words, why not befriend BJD?

Dharmendra Pradhan, the seniormost leader of the BJP in Odisha has had no qualms about charging Naveen Patnaik with corruption. But Modi has never said the leader is corrupt – only slow.

So is that the plan? That BJD and YSR Congress are Plan B? It certainly looks like it.

While on the subject, consider Amit Shah’s speeches in Telangana. They were all about Rahul baba. But the real enemy for the BJP in Telangana is not Rahul Baba. It is the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) which brought the BJP seat tally from 5 to 1 in the just concluded assembly elections. However, if Shah roared against the Congress, he just mewed against the TRS. What does that tell us?

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