Modi ceases the dynasty plank by plank, storms into enemy strongholds
By Pratul Sharma - NEW DELHI
Published: 03rd Nov 2013 07:42:53 AM
If the Aam Admi and welfare schemes were the very ingredients that Congress-led UPA fell back upon to work up a winning recipe, they are in for a tough fight.
Their adversary, Narendra Modi, is working towards a plan of systematically targeting the planks and electorate that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is busy building and wooing.
Modi after ambushing Gandhi in tribal-dominated Udaipur in Rajasthan, now intends to take his fight to yet another area where Congress has been hoping for a gain-the naxal-affected Bastar area. Modi would visit the traditional Congress bastion in Chhattisgarh next week to address three rallies in a day. Bastar saw state Congress’ entire top leadership wiped out in a daring attack by the Maoists on May 25. “Modi will address rallies in Jagdalpur, Kanker and Rajnandgaon on November 7. These areas will go to poll on November 11. His visit will surely motivate people about us,” a senior state leader told The Sunday Standard.
Like Udaipur, where Rahul Gandhi had addressed a rally to woo tribals, he had gone to Bastar on September 27 to sell dreams and promise of Congress’ welfarist schemes like MNREGA and the Food Security Scheme. Modi gave some idea of his next ‘big idea’ at a Sardar Patel museum inauguration function he attended along with PM Manmohan Singh, last week, in Ahmedabad. He appealed to “misguided youth” influenced by Maoist philosophy to give up arms and return to the mainstream. During his campaign in Bastar, Modi is expected to reach out to the tribals while highlighting the food scheme started by his party’s CM in the state Raman Singh. Modi had said in the past that Raman Singh’s scheme preceded UPA’s Food Security Act.
Going by Modi’s style, sources say he keeps the content of his speech open ended to be decided at the last minute to include other issues of the day. But his views on addressing the naxal problem is what everyone would be looking forward to hearing. Would it be zero tolerance as he had said in the past or a more inclusive approach to wean them away from violence?
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has been ramming into his rivals’ bastions-political and ideological to lay his claim on the Delhi crown. If his foray into the Nitish Kumar territory gave a fillip to his party-men’s morale, he pitted Sardar Patel as a bigger icon than leaders of the Congress pantheon like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Sources said Modi carefully chooses his targets, as in Bihar he specifically appealed to Yadavs and Muslims who have been particularly cold to him and his party. The “clash of personalities” strategy started on August 15 when Narendra Modi went against the political conventions to attack the Prime Minister at a national event. The scathing attack had the desired effect. Modi was all over the TV channels and took centre stage.
The Gujarat CM had recently come under stringent attack for making factual errors while taking on his rivals. But he appears to be finding a way out of this mess. A party leader narrated an incident that took place during the function in Ahmedabad on October 29 where the Sardar Patel Museum was inaugurated by PM Manmohan Singh. Modi remarked Patel would have made a better PM and he was the first one to talk about women reservation in 1919. This was in apparent attempt to take on Congress.
“Senior Congressmen and minister Dinsha Patel who spoke after Modi corrected him saying Patel had raised the issue not in 1919 but in 1926. There were soon slogans among the audience against Modi. Before the issue turned into a publicity disaster, Modi used the tablet computer of an aide to show the Prime Minister the scanned document dated 1919 that talked about Patel’s speech,” a senior BJP leader said. Modi has even been branding his rallies to put across his point and create a recall value. Bihar rally was called Hunkar, his repeat visit to mourn the dead has been called Aasthi Kalas Yatra. His rallies in Uttar Pradesh are called Vijay Shankhnad rallies, and his Bangalore rally on November 17 is being termed Bharatha Gellisi (India’s victory).