Pumped up by the six-seat sweep in the by-elections in Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi projected the BJP victory as a message from the people to the Manmohan Singh government in the Centre as well as the Congress on what to expect in 2014 General Elections.
The results could not have come at a better time for Modi. It rolled out just two days before the BJP national executive meeting in Goa where his name could be proposed as the party’s campaign committee head and just while he was in Delhi at the national security meet where he could hog the limelight overshadowing one of his bête noirs, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The Modi-Kumar contrast could not be starker. In the same series of by-elections, Kumar’s party — the JD-U — lost Bihar’s Maharajganj LS seat to his political rival Lalu Prasad’s party RJD. A renegade JD-U leader, Shivnath Jha, who had joined the RJD after a public spat with Kumar, wrenched the seat from JD-U, by a margin of 1.37 lakh votes.
While the two CMs ignored each other inside the meeting on Wednesday, outside Modi made full use of his strategic position. He packaged the Gujarat by-poll victory as an expression of the people’s anger, an “ultimatum’’ to the Centre and the Congress.
While generously praising the BJP Gujarat chief for the win, Modi lit into the UPA government accusing it of being more bothered about its “political security than the country’s internal security’’.