As 2014 approaches, watch out for renewed hostilities against Modi


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20 Dec 2012

 
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Modi wins Gujarat: What will Congress do next?

Now that Narendra Modi has won for the third time in Gujarat, there is considerable momentum for him to take on a national role. There must be introspection in the Congress about the defeat in Gujarat despite all of their dirty tricks there. I suspect that they will take heart (and lessons) from how President Obama, another unpopular incumbent like themselves, managed just a month ago to carve out a victory against Governor Romney in the US. And they will apply the lessons learned therefrom.

»  This is what seems to have turned the tide for Obama:
»  An unremittingly hostile negative campaigning worked
»  A media that picked on and magnified any minor gaffe built a negative image
»  Identity, vote-bank and special interest group-based appeals worked
»  A bruising primary season took a major toll on Romney, financially and image-wise
» A better get-out-the-vote mechanism helped
» A poor choice of Vice-presidential running mate might have helped

The last, of course, doesn’t apply in India, but the others may. Thus, if we assume that Narendra Modi is the presumptive BJP candidate for Prime Minister in the 2014 elections, here are the contours of possible Congress poll tactics:

There will an unremittingly hostile negative campaign against Modi. This will be waged in the paid media (as it has been for ten years already), in the courts, using the CBI, the governor, the income tax authorities, friendly foreign media, and any and all other means possible.

The paid media will obligingly sing the tune that emanates from Congress HQ. In addition, they will manufacture quotes, spit-and-scoot and use all other known smear tactics

Obama’s black-Latino-Asian-gay-young-pot-smoker alliance is nowhere near as complete or thought-through as the Congress’s past vote banks (eg. KHAM kshatriya, harijan, adivasi, muslim, in Gujarat), not to speak of the wonderful new victim-banks they think up daily, and so this is a Congress mainstay.

The Congress and the media will push forward everyone in the BJP who can be flattered into believing they have a chance to lead the party to power in the next election; cause bhedam in their ranks; nurture various mavericks (such as the Kejrival Mango Man party as they did with Kesubhai Patel’s party in Gujarat) to split the anti-incumbency and anti-corruption votes.

This is my current estimate of what the Congress is planning. The negative media campaign is old hat, and it is not exactly paying dividends any more as most have tuned out the tiresome rhetoric, except for the true believers and the terminally naïve. Therefore expect them to come out with clever new tactics – for instance pressing into service and planting pieces in friendly media such as [famous American paper] and [leftist British paper], not to mention [imperialist British magazine]. Fortunately, perhaps alone among the impressionable BJP ranks, Modi does not give a damn about what some firangi paper says about him, but some voters may.

Pandering to vote-banks is something the Congress are past masters at. But let us look at the logic behind it and how it played out in Obama’s case. A widely-quoted exit poll by CBS News suggests that 60 per cent of American voters rated Romney better on leadership and economic acumen, but that when they were asked “Which candidate cares for you?” they voted 80 per cent in Obama’s favor. In other words, if they thought they could get some goodies from him, they voted for Obama.

Similarly, a young Indian-American on Twitter informed me that he preferred Obama as he had “made the task of getting a green card” easier. Interestingly, under Obama, protectionist unions have had a field day, and, for instance, the numbers of H-1Bs has been reduced quite a bit.

The fact is that Obama assiduously wooed blacks (93 per cent voted for him), Latinos (71 per cent), women (55 per cent), those who think Government needs to do more (91 per cent) and on. Women were told that Obama stood for their reproductive rights. This, in addition to some blunders by Republican candidates (such as “legitimate rape”) unnecessarily annoyed voters. The vote-banks – surprisingly, Jews, who should have been influenced by Obama’s hostility to Israel, also chose (70 per cent) Obama – stayed loyal.

In India, vote-bank appeasement on a particularly large scale happened in 2009, will happen with renewed vigor in 2012, and can be expected to bring in scores of happy voters, bought at the taxpayer’s expense:

»  Gave Rs 30,000 crore to government employees through the 6th Pay Commission in 2009
»  Gave Rs 75,000 crores (which would have enriched rural cadres) through a farm-loan waiver in 2009
»  Gave Rs 100,000 crores, and counting, (mostly to cadres and friends) through the leaky NREGA

The mother of all giveaways, a Rs 320,000 crore ‘direct-transfer’ plan to people ‘below the poverty line’ per year, is apparently to go into effect in January 2013, as announced on November 26. Of course, existing subsidies will not be withdrawn as they are too lucrative for cronies. This will be in addition to the current subsidies for electricity, fuel etc.

In addition, the BJP is scoring self-goals with its tendency to be shamed into submission, as well as its lack of discipline, and these will be exploited to the hilt, just like the Republicans’ tendency to shoot off their mouths. This will be a part of the Congress’ standard bag of tricks.

The Gadkari controversy and the BS Yeddyurappa incident showed the BJP at its confused best. With Gadkari they should have either brazened it out, or fired him, instead of letting it be a festering sore in the party’s image. Similarly, with BS Yeddyurappa, since he is a proven vote-getter and organiser and the Congress had to go to great lengths to pry him out of office, they should have welcomed him back with open arms and rehabilitated him pronto. Instead, they allowed BSY to stray, with possibly disastrous results for them in Karnataka.

When there is one strong candidate – Modi – all other pretenders to the throne should fall in line, so as to avoid extended internecine battles (this did Romney enormous damage). There is a simple question they should be asked: exactly why do you think you will do better than Modi?

Now that the Arvind Kejrival party has been finally unveiled – and it is clear it has no chance of doing anything other than being a spoiler, thus indirectly helping the Congress – we can rest assured that this party will also be supported indirectly by the Congress. This will be in similar to their support for paid media and for pet think tanks and ‘public intellectuals’.

All these tactics would boil down to one strategy – retain power at all costs. If all else fails, of course there are the trusty Electronic Voting Machines, which did such yeoman service in 2009. With a friendly Chief Election Commissioner in place, the electronic voting machines can be fooled with to miraculously rescue their candidates.

We have it from the horse’s mouth: a news item on December 19 said that Congress leader and former Union Minister Naran Rathwa is claiming that Modi wins because of EVM fixing. This is an admission by the Congress that EVMs are tamperable, which they have stoutly denied in the past. If they are tamperable, believe me, the Congress would have tampered with them.

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  • Jyoti Jape

    Very true. Anticipating this, BJP must devise counter-strategy to nullify the hate campaign by main stream media (paid by Congress).

  • Nikhil Rao

    “Obama’s black-Latino-Asian-gay-young-pot-smoker alliance is nowhere near as complete or thought-through as the Congress’s past vote banks.”

    Just lost a ton of respect for this website. is Kanchan Gupta reading and standing behind this drivel?

    • si91

      Rajeev’s point is that Obama relies on black and Latino votebanks just like India’s Congress Party relies on KHAM, which is true. The Democrats also share the Congress Party’s policy of buying votes with handouts and freebies to create a culture of entitlement and dependency.

  • Sandeep

    That is such a load of tripe. The author has had a bias against Obama ever since he ran for his first Presidential elections. He calls Obama the Manchurian Candidate, suspicious of his motives despite no evidence to support it. Just check the author’s website, http://www.rajeev2004.blogspot.com, to see the kind of nonsense being spouted by him. I used to visit his site on and off for the laughs.
    Kanchan Gupta, I used to have respect for your writings, but I don’t fully respect your selection of columnists on this website.

  • sunil

    Congrats Modi on his re-election. But fact of the matter is it does not matter on national level. In spite of the best case scenarios BJP(alone) is not going to cross 140 seats in Loksabha. [I'm giving very very generous/improbable 30 in UP]

    HP + Punjab 8
    Bihar + Jharkhand 16
    UP + Uttarakhand 30
    Maharashtra 20
    Gujarat 16
    Rajasthan 15
    MP 15
    Chattisgarh 5
    Orissa + Karnataka + Others 15

    With out BJP alone not scoring 200+, NaMo will never be PM

  • M Patel

    For 11 years, Global establishment has tried, it’s best, to defeat Modi. In this quest, It also tried to demonise and damage GDP growth of Gujarat. Like a Rebel Jedi, Modi is fighting a lonely battle against powerful Global Alliance. May the force(i.e. people power) be with him.

  • Suvie

    I do not understand the bias of this author against Obama. There is NO comparison between the Right(Republicans) in the US and the Right (BJP)in India The republicans are so hate driven against Obama (a colored president) that they started the Tea-party movement against him, they went out full force to make him a one time president! Such hate, such lies against that man, I have only seen against NaMo. Prey, what is the comparison between Republicans and BJP?

    Look at the agenda of the Republicans:
    1. Pro rich, anti poor (don’t even want a few % point tax increase for the people making $250,000 a year)
    2. Favor NO gun control because they r funded by the gun industry
    3. Against natural sources of energy ‘coz funded by oil industry
    4. So anti-black policies like their terribly biased drug laws
    5. Crazy policies about abortions and women!

    Republicans are nut jobs, the author and niticentral are doing a great disservice to BJP by comparing the genuine nationalism of the BJP to the nutcases that are Republicans! The only similarity is that the media in USA and here favor the liberals except the so called liberals here are a bunch of traitors working agains India.

    • si91

      The idea that the Tea Party movement began as a campaign against Obama’s race is the oldest trick in the Leftist book: race baiting. In this respect, the American Left is similar to the Indian Left, which slanders Hindu nationalism as a campaign by “upper castes Brahmins” to “reassert” their “traditional hegemony” over India, while completely ignoring the need for a Hindu cultural and political revival after centuries of Islamic and European oppression. The Tea Party movement is a response to the runaway spending, tax increases, and inflation that have occurred under the Obama administration, and it does not necessarily imply support for Republicans. Tea-Partiers have criticized Republican fiscal irresponsibility as well, and the moevement finds support among black conservatives like Allen West. Even if you disagree with this ideology, there’s nothing racist about demanding fiscal responsibility. This accusation is especially ironic coming from the American Left, given that it calls for race-based affirmative action, much like the Indian National Congress calls for caste-based reservations all while noisily claiming to believe in caste-less India.

      1) Those American leftists who insist that “soaking the rich” is the solution to the U.S.’ financial problems don’t seem to realize that the rich aren’t just going to passively sit by and allow their wealth to be taken from them. They’re going to cut pay and benefits to workers, fire them, outsource jobs, etc. to make up for the losses.

      2) Republicans favor some gun control, like background checks for instance, it’s just that they are not as fanatically insistent on curbing individual liberty as Democrats are. Romney himself favored an assault rifle ban. The logic behind gun control advocates is that those murderers and lunatics who disobey laws prohibiting breaking and entering, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and of course, mass murder, are somehow going to obey more gun control laws.

      3) The Republican’s problem with “green” energy is that it doesn’t yet generate enough energy to be efficient or profitable when compared to oil. That doesn’t mean they are entirely against it. Romney, for instance, supported wind farms when he was governor. That “green” energy initiatives supported by the Obama administration, like Konarka and Solyndra, have gone bankrupt doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in this regard.

      4) What exactly is anti-black about supporting the ban on drugs? Isn’t it a good thing to want America’s black community to be drug free? At any rate, what is ironic about the assumption that Republicans are anti-black is that it is the Democratic Party that has traditionally been racist and proud of it, while the Republican Party was traditionally supportive of black rights. The Republican Party was born after the Whig Party split on slavery lines, with pro-slavery Whigs joining the pro-slavery Democrats, and anti-slavery Whigs forming the Republicans. It was a Democrat dominated South that seceded from the Union during the Civil War, and it was the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who fought to reunify the country. Lincoln was assassinated by the Democrat John Wilkes Booth, and replaced by his Vice President, one of the worst Presidents in U.S. history: War Democrat Andrew Johnson, who was only on the Republican ticket because he was an anti-secessionist Democrat. During his tenure, his every move to restrict black rights was opposed by the “Radical” Republican faction in Congress, who pushed for the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, banning slavery, giving blacks citizenship, and voting rights. It was the Democrat dominated South in the post war era that gave birth to the Ku Klux Klan, which was led by Democrat leaders to terrorize black citizens and their white Republican allies. It was the Republican administration under President Grant, who succeeded Johnson, that used military force to crack down upon the Klan. It was the Democrat dominated South that passed the Black Codes, and later the Jim Crow laws, to render black people second class citizens, while it was Republican politicians who staunchly opposed these measures. Now that racism is no longer legal or fashionable in the U.S., the Democratic party lures black voters using race-baiting and government freebies, the same way that the Congress Party lures impoverished voters in India using caste-baiting and handouts.

      4) Though there are some abortion fanatics in the Republican camp, the basic principle is about being an advocate for the unborn fetus, whose concerns are often sidelined in the abortion debate. Liberals in the U.S. are a lot like liberals in India in terms of “treachery.”

  • Suvie

    I would like to say a few more things:
    As I said before comparing Namo to Mitt Romney is a gr8 disservice to Namo. Look at the contratsts:

    NaMo vs Mitt Romney
    1. The former is a commoner who rose to the top by his sheer hard work and the latter is a prince born with similar spoon!

    2. NaMo has a solid achievement in Gujart, which is specifically gr8 when compared to regular govt.’s in India. Mitt Romney throughout his campaign never spoke of his achievements as a governor (‘coz there was nonw) rather he boasted of his record as a business man (where he fired ppl)!

    3. Namo is in touch with the pulse of Gujrat and a common India while as Mitt Romney came across as wooden and fake, just see his speeches. In fact, apart from the fact that he has a much higher IQ than Rahul Gandhi both Mitt and RG have more in common…out of touch fake empathy showing guys.

    4. Namo through his 11 yrs as CM has been consistent in his thoughts, his values and principles and what he wants to achieve and what he stands for in contrast Mitt Romney came across as a liar and an absolute flip flopper. Compare his pitch in the primaries to the pitch as a presidential candidate, in the end nobody knew what he stood for not even Mitt Romney.

    In fact, in my opinion, Namo share more common ground with Obama who also is a self made man and comes across as very sincere and genuine. Just as Namo was so viciously lied about by the INdian liberals so was Obama lied, mocked and attacked by the Republican party and their press (Fox News). They simply hate Obama just as intensely as the INdian liberals hate Narendra Modi.

    As I said the difference is that Obama has a sympathetic main stream press while NaMo has none!

    So, please Niticentral stop this propaganda of Republicans vs BJP. It is beyond silly and is a gr8 disservice to the man we all Love and Admire, Narendra Modi!

    • si91

      1) So is it Romney’s fault he was born into a rich family? And what exactly is wrong with being born rich, anyway?

      2) Romney did have some significant achievements during his tenure as governor, like turning a budget deficit into a budget surplus by cutting spending, cracking down on drunk driving and increased crime rates, supporting stem cell research, and increasing veteran’s benefits, among other things. As far as his firing people is concerned, isn’t it good for a company to fire under performing workers? Keeping them employed would mean rewarding incompetence and passing on the cost of doing so to the consumer. Of course, Romney was not perfect either, but to assume he had no accomplishments merely because he didn’t focus on them during his speeches is to essentially equate him to Rahul Gandhi, which is the ultimate insult.

      3) So Romney “came across” as wooden and fake, while Obama “came across” as sincere and genuine? Come on, that’s about as objective a judgement as those offered by India’s “secular” reporters, who constantly whine about how “arrogant” and “fascist” Narendra Modi is, while singing paeans to the Gandhi Dynasty.

      4) Right, because Obama told the unvarnished truth all the time.

      http://blondephotos.org/BlondeGator/?p=2332
      http://www.audacityofhypocrisy.com/fashion-shows/
      http://obamalies.net/list-of-lies
      http://www.politifact.com/personalities/barack-obama/statements/byruling/false/

      Whether its his lying about not having any connection to Islam (despite having been registered as a Muslim student in Indonesia, and taken Quranic studies classes to boot), or dismissing the Fort Hood massacre as a mere case of “workplace violence” Obama is not exactly a boy scout in this regard. That said, neither is Mitt Romney. Politicians lie almost by definition, and although that’s no reason to tolerate it, it’s absurd to make Obama look like some kind of squeaky clean individual when he’s just as run of the mill as his colleagues.

      Obama is a self made man? He was raised by his grandparents in Hawaii, who were so financially well off they were able to afford to send him to an expensive private preparatory school. This isn’t a bad thing, and its hardly Obama’s fault, but it’s ridiculous to overlook this and then blame Romney for being born wealthy.

  • Amrish

    The author of the article is highly underestimating Rahul Gandhi :) He will overcome all the obstacles mentioned in this article.

  • Bhismah

    Just 1 point dear don’t forget the power of social media…If require people will mobilize because of it…Fingers Crossed Modi for 2014..

  • Bhismah

    We should Not forget there is a divine power Behind more they throw Mud on him..More he grows..

  • din

    all possibilities should be taken in to account and counter strategies made.

  • Murugesh Patil

    I respect Rajeev Srinivasan except in couple of points.
    He is supporting Bible thumping, Christian Taleban Republicans who have pathological hatred for everthing Hindu and Indian except the dollars from rich Indian Doctors and Indian origin businessmen who have sold their souls for few photo ops.
    He supports third rate politicians from Shashi Taroor to others in Kerala just because they are Malayalees. Also he seems to deny contribution to ancient India or Hinduism by groups other than Tamilians. Other than that
    he is very nationalistic.
    Nationalists please rejoice. Congress/UPA is headed for historic defeat in 2014 (Most likely in 2013). Here are three reasons.
    1) Every opinion poll conducted by India Today since last 18 months Narendra Modi is the top candidate for PM. The second candidate is Atal Behari Vajpayee even though he has retired. Modi + Vajpayee have 39 percent popularity and that compares to less than 20 for Italian Mafia Lady phonia, Amul Baby Rahul and Moun Mohan Singh. 39 percent in multi cornered contest is sufficient from simple majority to 2/3 rd majority. In Opinion poll conducted 18 months back NDA was slightly behind UPA and in 12 months back NDA surged ahead of UPA and the survey this July NDA excluding AIADMK, Biju Janatha Dal, TRS have hit around 215 to 220 compared to 140 – 150 for UPA. Since then Trinamool which contributed around 25 -30 out of that 150 has bolted out leaving UPA around 110-120 with Italian congress in double digits for first time in Indian History. Also the opinion poll gave congress advantage in only one state. My home state of Karnataka. I can give it in writing that if Narendra Modi is BJP Prime ministrial candidate then nationalistic Kannadigas will sink congress to a count in fingers in one hand( 5 at best and 1 or 2 at worst in few Jihadi seats in Gulbarga or Bangalore Central).
    Congress or UPA does not stand a chance in 2014 against Modi. Congress best strategy is to get around 130 – 150 seats and support another Devegowda like Maulayam or Nitish. Here are 10 reasons why.
    1) Congress out of power for 40 years. West Bengal. Number of seats 42. With divorce of Mamta Banarjee Congress would be lucky if they reach 3 seats in West Bengal.
    2) Congress out of power in UP and Bihar. More than 25 years. Number of seats in both states 120. 2009 was an extra ordinary year and congress got 22 seats in UP. Upper Caste voters in UP were not happy with Advani for reneging on Ayodhya temple and praising Jinnah. Muslims voted in more numbers for congress and it got some OBC votes which it generally does not get. I can take a bet with anybody in 2013/2014 out of these 120 seats congress touching 10 seats. The seats under threat include Amethi (where clown prince was pelted with stones by angry citizen very recently). Italian lady trying to withdraw in favour of Priyanka in Rai Bareily fearing defeat.
    3) Congress out of power in Tamilnadu – Nearly 50 years. Seats 39. With 2G DMK and hopefull PM candidate Chidambaram not sure about his own seat. I doubt congress will get more than handfull of seats in this state. Jayalalitha will go with Modi if not prepoll atleast post poll.
    4) Congress out of power in Orissa – 15 years. If BJP and BJD combine Italian congress would be lucky to escape with couple of seats. Otherwise around 5-7 seats.
    5) Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarath BJP will win around 70 – 75 percent seats. That leaves around 35 seats for congess and 70-75 for BJP
    6) Haryana, Punjab Jammu Assam you can expect 50 – 50 split between BJP and congress Give or take few seats here and there
    7) That leaves Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh. If BJP, Shivsena, MNS and republican party combine Congress + NCP would be lucky to get 14-15 out of 45. Even best case scenario is Congress + NCP is 23 seats or 50 percent.
    8) With Jagan revolt and Telangana war cry congress would be lucky if they touch dozen.
    9) I have written about my home state Karnataka. Best case scenario for congress is around dozen and worst case scenario retirement for Moilys, Kharges, Dharam Singhs in Modi wave.
    10) That leaves Rajeev’s favorite state Kerala. That is the only state where congress has realistic chance of touching double digits. The Bible thumping Malayalee Christians and Malabar Mapillas will ensure Congress will get most of the seats from Kerala.
    For all English language Media limousine liberals who cry India is not Gujarat explain Congress/UPA situation with my writeup and telling them
    India is not Kerala (dominated by Minorities) and Congress (Missionary Jihadi) heading for worst defeat in next Loksabha when Hindus start voting for development and Hindutva.

    • si91

      Yes, American Bible thumpers have always loathed everything Hindu, and spent billions promoting proselytism in India. That said, not all Bible thumpers are Republicans. The Democrats also appeal to the evangelical vote when it suits them; they are just not quite as vocal on the issue as Republicans are.

  • BAPTY.S

    Inspite of anybody saying anything be it media tv channels, political pandits, psephologists, so called political intellectuals, dd news, rajya sabaa news channels, & ofcourse CONGRESS, JDU, S.P BSP, THE LEFT ETC ETC, AS TIME PASSES ACCEPTABILITY OF SHRI MODIJI BY THE AAM ADMI OF INDIA WILL INCREASE ALL OVER.

    I WONT BE SURPRISED WITH SHRI MODIJI AS P.M CANDIDATE BJPW WILL ROMP HOME WITH 300 SEATS. WHY? INDIANS ARE FED UP WITH CONGRESS, CORRUPTION, SCAMS, LOOT ,THEY SEE IN SHRI MODIJI ONE LEADER WHO CAN BE TRUSTED, INCORRUPTIBLE & WHO IS SOLELY FOR ALL ROUND PROGRES.,& MOST IMPORTANTLY INCLUSIVE PROGRESS OF ALL RELIGIONS, CASTE CREED TRIBALS, ADIVASIS ETC ETC.
    ALL THIS IS VERY WELL SEEN IN GUJARAT FOR LAST 12 YRS. SO NO MORE FOOLING BY CONGRESS WITH VOTE BANK, OR AADHAR MONEY OR NREGA ETC.NOR BY PARTIES LIKE S.[,BSP. JDU PLAYING MUSLIM CARD.

    UNDER MODIJI ITS ONE INDIA OF 130 CR PEOPLE, GROWING TOGETHER, DEVELOPING TO GETHE, SABKO SAATH, SAUNO VIKAS. BHARAT MATA KI JAI/




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