NaMo invades Delhi to conquer India
By Pratul Sharma and Tarun Nangia
Published: 29th Sep 2013 07:54:29 AM
The saffron Czar throws down the gauntlet challenging the Congress in Sheila Dikshit’s Delhi, addressing one of the biggest, grandest, most expensive hi-tech rallies the BJP has ever held in the capital. Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial face, Gujarat’s four-time chief minister and ace polarizer both inside and outside the Sangh Parivar brings his show to town; a city where the BJP has no face to put forward to the electorate and its popular Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, whose charisma remains unalloyed, vies for a fourth term. In the absence of a Chief Ministerial candidate, the BJP is exploiting Modi Magic to try facilitate its victory. The saffron party hopes that its rallying cry, ‘Badlenge Dilli, Badlenge Bharat’ (Change Delhi, Change India) would be the note on which Modi would sail to power in 2014—and more immediately, the BJP would capture the Delhi Assembly.
It is Redux 1982: Rajiv Gandhi became the face of the Congress party in Delhi after successfully changing the face of sleepy Delhi with the Asian Games and winning the Metropolitan Council elections with a 47.5 percentage of votes polled. If Modi’s spectacular rally—with its multi tiered stages, Big Brother holograms, gigantic LED screens projecting his familiar aggressive visage with its piercing eyes shining with ideological fervour behind thick glasses and state of the art loudspeakers to carry his message to the ruling party and family that dominates Indraprastha—is able to turn the BJP’s fortunes around in Delhi, the Ground Zero of Indian politics, he hopes it may take him just a bit closer to the heavily protected 7 Race Course Road complex in leafy Lutyen’s Delhi. To this end the party has pulled no stops and has opened its purse strings and unleashed cadres to make Delhi Modi’s city for one sunny Sunday. From the time he alights around 11.30 from his government chartered plane at Palam airport after the 1 hour 25 minute flight from Ahmedabad, board a chopper to the helipad at Rohini Sector 32 and then drive to the 20,000 sq feet venue at Japanese Park, Rohini, a huge cordon of 108 securitymen will guard one of the most protected men in India. It would have all the trappings of a Roman triumph: his ride to the venue would be along a line of Delhi police commandos, officers and policemen posted along the route on both sides of the road. Thirty six NSG commandos will form a cordon around the leader who would be driving his steel grey Scorpio with its Gujarat number plates.
Unlike BJP’s Bhopal rally on September 25 held in support of poll bound Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan where the entire party pantheon was present, in Delhi Modi would be the lone star speaker, apart from the hosts—state president Vijay Goel, leader of opposition in the Assembly VK Malhotra, and former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who is election in-charge of the state. Predictably, senior BJP leaders downplayed the absence of senior leaders like L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, from the venue. “All leaders need not be present. At the rally held in Trichy or Rewari, Modi was the main speaker,” said a leader.