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The AAP – BJP: Is the BJP really doing right ?




The whole of 2013 belonged to Modi. In fact, the most important stage in the entire BJP revival hinged upon whether Modi and the BJP would be re-elected in the state of Gujarat, and once that happened, the next steps had to happen. The Congress was going down, and the BJP knew that it needed a leader who could galvanize public opinion and actually pick up all the anti-Congress votes that were available for the picking. So, Modi, with a lot of help from the RSS, became the face of the BJP for the 2014 elections. Dissenters such as the JD(U) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Lal Krishna Advani were swatted aside; nobody could be allowed to place any kind of objection to the projection of Modi as the Prime Minister.
However, a problem that Modi had to overcome was to ensure that a large number of people who did not know about him, got more information, and more publicity. The best way to do that is to get the media to come to you often, or to report about you often. And this is apparently what Modi did with great success during 2013, starting with making some controversial statements about puppies and similar – the amount of discussion that happened post these statements led to more and more people getting aware of what Modi was about. This was further increased by a fairly effective information team – these would reach out through regular media and social media, and ensuring that more and more people had heard about him. And as time progressed, Modi has kept it smart, focusing on development, and letting others talk about Hindutva (even this was done fairly softly since few people had doubts about what he has stood for in the past, especially related to his status as a Hindutva nationalist). Combine these with a large number of political rallies, and everything seems to be working together.
Come to the next round of state elections for which the results came out in December, 2013, and the BJP won victories unprecedented, even pulling off a victory in Chattisgarh where it was expected to lose to the Congress narrowly. So consider the shock when in a small state such as Delhi, the BJP, even though getting the largest number of seats and votes, was not able to prevent the AAP from coming close to it. There was an attempt by the BJP and the Congress to pin the AAP down by offering to let the AAP form the Government, and surprisingly, the AAP did take to power. Of course, the AAP is a party that believes in confrontation (and there are a number of supporters who believe that the system is so warped now that only confrontation like policies can shake the system to get it to reform to some degree; while others consider that now that the AAP was in power, it should have to deal with some amount of governance and responsibility and it was not really behaving in this manner). So, the party came to Government, was doing actions that did result in media attention, whether this be the water and electricity subsidy, the CAG audit of power companies, the Dharna against police responsibility and accountability, the cases against Ambani and Moily, and finally left the Government on the basis of opposition from the other parties on the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Ever since the Aam Aadmi Party came to power, there was sudden shift in terms of discussion, with all discussion geared towards the policies and actions of the AAP, and it was shockingly to suddenly see the BJP becoming a bit player in terms of discussions and debate. The BJP decided to attack the AAP as being a B team of the Congress, but somehow this is not a charge that has stuck to Arvind Kejriwal. In addition, he has been running a shrill campaign against corruption, and has added crony capitalism as an attack target, with Mukesh Ambani + Rahul Gandhi + Modi as epitomizing corruption in India. This constant attack seems to be rattling the BJP, since they keep on now targeting the AAP as a naxal or Maoist party, which is equivalent to Modi being called Hitler (most citizens don’t really care for such objectives). And these constant series of reverse attacks by BJP members on the AAP is continuing to keep highlighting the AAP and Kejriwal in the media, and this is going to keep on pushing him as becoming the primary opponent of a dominating Modi (replacing the Congress). This can be problematic for the BJP, since this will get more people to believe that the AAP can be a viable alternative, and draw attention from people who are not comfortable with the BJP and Modi.
It would have been far better for the BJP to continue projecting the development focus that Modi is doing; but at the same time, the more the BJP associates itself with people such as Yeddy in Karnataka, or recently, with the Chautalas in Haryana, they are going to become prime targets for the AAP. Whether this will be able to dent the push by BJP is unclear, but a lot of chance rides on whether Modi has reached his peak, or not. The elections after all, start approximately a month from now.




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