MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

From Adani jibe, back to M-word: Modi returns to 'safe bet' polarisation plank as party sees losses

Ever since the polling began and reports of low turnouts came in, a nervous Modi has shifted his focus from talk of development and “400-plus seats” to brazen religious polarisation, which he apparently considers a safe bet

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 11.05.24, 05:28 AM
PM Modi

PM Modi File picture

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday returned to his tried-and-tested polarisation plank, appearing to jettison his allegation of a nexus between “Ambani-Adani” and Rahul Gandhi that had surprised even his own party.

Addressing rallies in Maharashtra and Telangana, Modi alleged the Congress “wants to make Hindus second-class citizens in our own country and is therefore talking of a vote jihad”; has “an anti-Hindu mindset”, is “calling the Ram temple anti-national” and “wants to give away OBC reservations to Muslims”.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Is worshipping Ram anti-national?” he asked a crowd in Hyderabad.

But Modi spoke not a word about Ambani-Adani paying off Rahul, an allegation he had made on Wednesday before taking a break from addressing rallies on Thursday.

Wednesday’s allegation had come amid an assessment within the BJP — after three rounds of polling — that the battle may be “much closer” than thought. Internal reports suggested the BJP might even lose a few seats in citadel Gujarat, the home state of Modi as well as Adani and Ambani.

Even the markets have betrayed fears of an uncertain outcome.

A BJP leader from Gujarat who has worked closely with Modi sidestepped the question whether the Prime Minister’s jibe at Ambani-Adani was borne out of frustration.

But he acknowledged: “Narendrabhai accusing Ambani and Adani of supplying black money to the Congress is very, very unusual and surprising.”

Asked about the reason, he said “it could indicate something very, very serious” but would not elaborate.

Rahul has himself rebutted Modi’s claim of having suddenly laid off criticising “Ambani-Adani” and dared him to send the “CBI-ED” to the two business houses.

At Friday’s rally in Nandurbar, Maharashtra, Modi accused the Congress of saying “Modi teri kabr khudegi (Modi, we’ll dig your grave)” and repeated the expression several times, as though to underline that the Congress spoke on behalf of people who buried their dead.

“Even while abusing me, they take full care of appeasement. Will you abuse me the way your vote bank likes it?” he said.

Ever since the polling began and reports of low turnouts came in, a nervous Modi has shifted his focus from talk of development and “400-plus seats” to brazen religious polarisation, which he apparently considers a safe bet.

On Friday, he alleged that “shehzada’s (Rahul) guide in America (Sam Pitroda)” had said that building the Ram temple in Ayodhya and worshipping Ram was “against the idea of India”.

“The Congress is conspiring to erase the Hindu faith from the country,” he said.

Some BJP leaders in Delhi conceded the party could lose seats in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar and, to an extent, in Jharkhand and Rajasthan. “But we’ll make up with significant gains in Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Odisha and Telangana,” a party leader said.

Another leader, though, would not rule out the overall tally slipping below the 2019 score of 303.

A key BJP strategist said Modi didn’t want to return to power “with a simple majority but to improve on the 2019 tally”; hence the high-strung line of campaigning.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT