Modi and the ‘failure’ in Karnataka


Image: Stańczyk by Jan Matejko

“Modi magic fails in Karnataka”

After the Congress swept the May 103 Assemby elections in Karnataka, this was one of the first bits of information to float around.

This line was pushed out by the Congress (who were busy salaaming Rahul Gandhi, the media (to whom balanced reporting is the first and only sin) and by the online and twitter anti-Modi club (who have nothing better to do)

You can’t really blame them. The Congress has to say that, the media will do anything to get more viewers and the anti-Modi club is merely fulfilling its imperative of blind Modi-bashing every five minutes to fulfill a self-proclaimed ‘liberal’ quota.

But how did we even get walking down this road?

I blame the BJP.

Bekagitta BJP?

There was never a single moment of doubt, from the past year at least, that the BJP was going to lose the mandate in Karnataka. The party has practically thrown itself out of power thanks to its mindless infighting, unnecessary collusion with flamboyantly corrupt businessmen, petty nepotism and internal corruption. Also – Three chief ministers in five years? Really?

Most people dig their own graves, but the BJP in Karnataka dug their own illegal mine and then covered the hole with uncollected garbage.

So what was the point of bringing Narendra Modi to Karnataka?

And he was undoubtedly bought. For a man as pragmatic as Modi, it is difficult to believe he suddenly grew a messiah complex and rushed to ‘save’ the BJP in Karnataka. After all, this was not the national election. It was a State Assembly election.

Besides, Modi made his own displeasure at this circus clear when he only agreed to poll in iron-tight no-doubt–about-it constituencies. And as expected, where he ‘campaigned’ the BJP did win.

How was a man – who has nothing to do with Karnataka, will not stay in Karnataka after the speeches and generally has no influence in or even around Karnataka – supposed to win you votes?

How was he supposed to win votes when the message the BJP gives in Karnataka is the polar opposite of everything that Modi is popular for?

The BJP in Karnataka is built on caste politics and practices populist schemes to try and buy the voter. For the past two years the Government of Karnataka has been frozen. Business investment has come to a halt and in general the state has become symbolic of a dysfunctional government.

Modi is popular only because he did away with all of the above in his own state.

The BJP, nudged along by its secretive controller the RSS, seems to operate under the silly delusion that Narendra Modi is only popular because he is in the BJP.

Why else would they treat him – arguably their lone star and best chance – like a show donkey, trotting him out on to the stage for the Karnataka voters when a loss thanks to local bungling was an absolute certainty?

Yeah, Karnataka voters are gullible, buy-able and caste-ist and they routinely vote to power the dishonest and the corrupt. But they are not stupid.

It is obvious to even the blindest fanatics out there that Narendra Modi was bought here to ‘impress’ them, much like how we take out the ‘good’ cups when the guests come.

But everybody knows that once the guest is gone, the leaking steel tumblers will be right back on the table.

If the BJP wants Narendra Modi to have a pan-Indian influence, they better put their money where their mouth is, stand up to the RSS, and make him a pan-Indian leader.

No one cares that he is the member of some committee in the BJP. I am sure that looks impressive on paper and that Modi will do a fine job for the internal workings of the Party. But no one cares because we are told that Modi is just one of your ‘many’ stars (yeah right)

This is why, in this particular instance, Rahul Gandhi can legitimately claim to have gotten one over Modi. As the declared leader of his party – he came, he campaigned, his party won.

(Yes, yes I know his party lost badly in other states like Uttar Prasdesh and Bihar. But even in those cases, he was undoubtedly their leader-which is why the blame in those cases comes to him. You can’t be selective about such things. )

The BJP needs to grow a spine and tell the RSS the truth that it seems to love to deny while sitting in its bubble of delusion –

Hindutva is good for about 10 lakh right-wingers in the fringes. But a temple in UP is literally meaningless to a mining victim in Bellary and a Bangalorean shuffling around a giant mound of uncleared garbage. The face of Hindutva in Karnataka is a hooligan beating up girls in pubs and pink chaddies being sent by the thousands to a deluded opportunist with a Thackeray complex.

Development was the key word. The BJP got that right…but…their thought process seemed to be –

“We need development and stuff. We have no such candidate in Karnataka? Quick! Grab the best BJP fellow out there with development credentials! He is from 1000 kilometers away and speaks Hindi? Who cares!”

The BJP must stop damaging Modi this way and acting on the whims of the Sangh parivar. It needs to let go of its arrogance of “anyway we will win” in regards to the 2014 elections.

If any lessons need to be learned in Karnataka it is this – you will lose if you do not show results on the ground where the voters are.

And don’t try to have both– a Modi confined to Gujarat where the RSS thinks he is ‘safe’ and a Modi who is useful to gather votes in places where the local organization has completely failed.

We do not all live in Gujarat.

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