At Nadda coronation, PM cries lies and bias
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday lashed out at the Opposition, using the election of a new BJP chief to accuse those “rejected by the people” of “spreading lies” and exhort party workers to establish direct contact with the masses.
He pointed fingers at the media too, saying there was little possibility of getting help from them.
Working president J.P. Nadda was formally elected unopposed as the new party chief, succeeding Amit Shah, though many feel that the home minister, Modi’s most trusted lieutenant, would continue to exercise his control over the party despite the change of guard.
The grand coronation at the BJP headquarters appeared to be aimed at sending a message that the party was hardly concerned about the widespread protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.
Most senior leaders who spoke at Nadda’s felicitation, including Shah, did not refer to the CAA-NRC. Modi too did not make any direct reference but alluded to the controversial measures as he targeted the Opposition.
“Chunavi raajneeti me jinko janta ne nakar diya, jinki baat ab desh sweekar karne ko taiyaar nahi hai, unke liye ab bahut kam shashtra bache hai aur usme se ek hai bhram phailayo, jhooth phailayo (Parties who have been rejected by the people, people are not ready to accept their views. For them, very few weapons have been left and one of them is to spread misconceptions, lies…),” Modi said.
He then pointed fingers at the media for ignoring big congregations in support of the act, spoke about an unhelpful “medium”, and said a particular “echo system” was fanning the opposition.
“Let’s assume that there is very little possibility of getting help from the mediums, and neither do we have the habit of surviving on the help of mediums,” the Prime Minister said.
“Every day, 10-15 events are taking place (in support of the CAA). Our senior leaders are going and crowds of 50,000 to 1 lakh are gathering, but you don’t get to see (it reported) anywhere,” Modi said, without directly referring to the act. “This will continue and we will continue to move ahead.”
The point he was trying to make was clear: the media was ignoring pro-CAA rallies and focusing only on protests against the act.
Modi said the BJP would face a bigger challenge in the coming days and asked party workers to establish “direct contact” with the people.
He said people’s trust in the BJP remained intact despite efforts to spread lies by a “toli” (group) that he said had always been against the very “adaarshon” (ideals) the party had set out with since its inception.
Modi sought to underline that the party was determined to achieve its ideals (read ideology) and told the leaders and workers they should not rest till they had fulfilled them. “Without fulfilling the aims and ideals on which the party was formed, we will not rest,” he said.
He congratulated Nadda and recalled his old association with him but showered praise on Shah too, saying the outgoing chief had achieved great things for the party.
He recalled how Shah had led the party when it was in power and expanded the organisation in new areas. “Amitbhai’s tenure would be remembered forever,” he said.
Shah appeared to set a task for the new chief. “Many states are still left to be won and I am sure under Naddaji’s leadership we will be able to win over those states,” Shah said.
Defence minister and former party chief Rajnath Singh too seemed to set a big challenge for Nadda, saying that under his leadership the party would break the record of 303 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections and scale new heights.
Most opposition leaders felt that despite the change of guard in the party, Shah’s writ would continue to run. Internally, too, BJP leaders said it would be a big challenge for Nadda to come out of Shah’s shadow.
Nadda has been given charge of the party at a time the BJP appears strong at the Centre but losing grip over states at Assembly elections.
The immediate challenge for the BJP under Nadda is the polls in Delhi next month and then next year’s elections in Bengal and Assam.