Rajat Sharma

Opposition failed to gauge Modi tsunami

AKB 2Normally people know days in advance whenever a severe cyclone takes place. But in the case of a tsunami, it is the opposite. A tsunami takes place when there is a high intensity earthquake on the deep ocean floor, and the water level on the sea shores rises gradually, which suddenly takes the shape of a huge tsunami that washes away everything in its wake, even before people can react and run to safety.

The Lok Sabha election, unlike the 2014 one, had the markings of a tsunami. There was a strong undercurrent among voters in favour of Modi, spread from Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, MP and Delhi in the north to Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Odisha in the east, and right up to Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka in the West and South.

The entire election campaign this time centered around Modi – his image and his performance. Modi was ruling the hearts of millions of voters. His landmark schemes like toilets, LPG cylinders and houses for the poor, loan for the lower middle class traders, had a tremendous effect. Even if we assume that 12 crore lower middle class and poor families got the synchronic benefits of all these schemes put together, it amounted to a huge voter base for Modi.

Added to this were the first time voters, who normally keep their connect with the outside world mostly through internet. A tech savvy PM like Modi knew the effect of PUBG and Avengers on these teenage voters, and he mentioned this too in his speeches.

Also, senior opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav and Mamata Banerjee hurling abuses at Modi had a big negative effect. The voters remained silent and taught these leaders a lesson for making fun of Modi building toilets and describing him as “Chowkidar Chor Hai”.

Opposition leaders failed to gauge the mind of Prime Minister Modi, just as Pakistan army failed to anticipate an air strike. Modi told me in his interview, how Pakistan army had amassed tanks and missiles on the border anticipating a surgical strike on land, and how our air force pilots crossed over from air “in the name of Bajrangbali” and strafed the terrorist hideout in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan. Similarly, opposition leaders too failed to read Modi’s engimatic mind and could not gauge which direction he would take during the poll campaign.

Leaders like Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati buried their 25-year-old enmity and joined hands to give Modi a fight. Similarly, Congress and JD(S) joined hands in Karnataka, and were deeply ensconced in the belief that mere alliance will give them the desired gains. It was Amit Shah who told me in an interview that eight crore poor people in UP got the benefits of Modi’s welfare schemes, and this amounted to a hike of seven per cent in voting percentage terms in favour of BJP. In Karnataka, the Congress and JD(S) were practically washed away, and they had to be content with only two seats.

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