Never before a parliamentary election was fought exclusively on the issue of an individual. Narendra Modi, stubborn and passionately driven to build India of his vision, is that individual. His self-belief in his victory is either reckless or sheer bravado. Or, maybe he has an uncanny sense to read the pulse of the electorate. A lesser mortal would have quit this brutal race even before it began. Sample the odds he is faced with.
The entire Opposition, including the Congress and its allies, TMC, TDP, RJD, BJD, SP, BSP and CPI(M), are fiercely opposed to Modi, fearing an existential threat to their brand of politics and inheritance. His allies have reservations over some of his policies. His ministers and MPs resent that they have to make do with only their salary and work overtime in their constituencies to deserve nomination to contest elections again. His seniors fume that he has not only ignored them but has also denied tickets in most cases to their family members.
An overwhelming number of Muslims—approximately 14 percent of the electorate—have pathological hatred for him because they believe he would subjugate them under a Hindu Rashtra. Their political surrogates are furious that Modi has fielded Sadhvi Pragya, a terror accused, to contest against Digvijay Singh, her tormentor and a mascot of pseudo secularists in Bhopal. They do not care to know that she is not legally barred from contesting polls.
It is not only politicians who abhor Modi. Liberal intellectuals who control our social behaviour and thinking process hate him, for he has rendered them irrelevant. Journalists and political commentators who shape public opinion are frustrated over losing their entitlements. A section of artists and authors, feeling aggrieved over assault on freedom of expression, are actively campaigning against him. The separatists, Naxalites, secessionists and terrorists are desperate to see his back because he has struck hard at their finances and support they receive from Mao’s elite troopers living in cities.
Brokers, contractors and unscrupulous businessmen who used to crowd Delhi’s power corridors find doors shut on their free access to government offices. The real estate sharks who cheated home buyers and helped politicians and officials park their black money find him insufferable. Small and medium traders are unhappy paying taxes and operating with restricted supply of black money in the market. Bureaucrats hate serving under him because he has made them accountable and work hard. Farmers, pro-reservation groups, students and jobless youths are furious that he has not met their aspirations.
The northeastern states are hugely offended by his citizenship bill. Above all, he is yet to fully breach the barriers of caste and community loyalties that have remained a time-tested recipe for the likes of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati to win elections.So, where does Modi get votes from? Does he love living dangerously with people’s trust in his work and leadership or is he playing with a political death wish? Answer to this is what makes the May 23 results significant than any before. firstname.lastname@example.org