Monday, 24 January, 2022
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Before any election, trust Rahul Gandhi’s frenemies to lend Modi’s BJP a helping hand

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A handful of Congress leaders seem to have perfected the art of gifting the sympathy factor to Narendra Modi.

That Prime Minister Narendra Modi likes to play the victim in almost every election rally is well-known. Even the BJP spokespersons and party’s strategists are now busy finding reasons to portray India’s “strongman” Prime Minister as one who is always on the receiving end of the opposition jibes. But, what is not so well-known is that there are a handful of Congress leaders who are helping Modi in this narrative – knowingly or unwittingly.

Most of these Congress leaders may themselves not remember the last time they won an election. But they appear to have perfected the art of gifting the sympathy factor to Modi through their controversial, sometime downright abusive, statements. Most of these statements are delivered in the middle of an election campaign. They are in the Congress party but they can best be called Rahul Gandhi’s frenemies.

It helps that most TV channels are more than eager to amplify these controversial statements, helping the BJP and Narendra Modi’s cause.

Also read: Real reason why Rahul Gandhi doesn’t want to declare CM candidates for state elections

Consider this: last year, the ruling BJP seemed to be on the back foot in the run-up to the Gujarat assembly election while the Congress, strengthened by the massive support of the Patidars and Dalits, was confident of reclaiming the state after a long time, till Mani Shankar Aiyar struck.

Bang in the middle of a high-voltage campaign, the senior Congress leader and Gandhi family favourite opened his mouth, called Modi “neech kism ka aadmi”, and gave Modi and the BJP the opening that they needed to breach the Congress campaign. While the Congress suspended the former minister, the damage was done and no explanation could help the party’s cause.

Aiyar is back in the party fold, and has somehow restrained himself during the ongoing election campaign for the five states. But, the other loudmouths in the Congress party refuse to learn.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, senior Congress leader and leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, claimed that Hindu candidates of his party had stopped calling him to campaign for them. The statement made last month was happily lapped up the BJP, which turned it into an allegedly Muslim-loving (and, therefore by extension, anti-Hindu) Congress versus Hindu-loving BJP battle.

Similarly, when former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh was heard in a viral clip telling his party workers that he isn’t going for campaigning since his speeches “make the Congress lose votes”, guess who used this statement extensively to remind voters in Madhya Pradesh about the misrule of the Congress: the BJP.

Digvijaya Singh, after all, was the last Congressman to rule the state and it didn’t hurt the BJP one bit to remind the voters that he was also close to Rahul Gandhi.

Also read: In Madhya Pradesh, Narendra Modi ko gussa kyon aata hai

A video, possibly shot on a mobile phone camera, resurfaced just a week ahead of the 28 November elections in Madhya Pradesh. It purportedly showed a Congress leader and the man who could, if the Congress manages to win the state, be the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh telling a group of Muslims that unless Muslims came out in large numbers to vote, the Congress might find it difficult to win. The evening news was, as expected, taken up by discussions over the video and ‘anti-Hindu Congress’.

If Kamal Nath, who ran a rare wonderful campaign that the Congress party hasn’t seen since 2014, falls short of the required numbers in Madhya Pradesh, this video would be seen as one of the major reasons for that.

But if there was an award that the BJP could give for the statement that helped its cause the most, my guess is, it would be bestowed upon Congress MP Raj Babbar.

The filmstar-turned-politician made not one but several controversial statements in the ongoing election campaign for the five state assemblies – each statement helping the BJP more than the previous one.

To begin with, he compared the falling Rupee to the age of Modi’s mother. To be fair to Babbar, what he had said was that earlier Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, used to pass snide remarks, comparing the falling Rupee to (then) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s age. But, now the rupee was nearing his (Modi’s) mother’s age.

Also read: The fall of the Rupee shows India has been ‘swimming naked’

Unfortunately for Babbar and the Congress party, the BJP went to town only with one part of the statement, with even the PM, at his dramatic best, asking the voters to punish the Congress, whose leaders were dragging his hapless mother into politics.

Days before this gaffe, Babbar came up with another gem – he compared Naxals to revolutionaries or ‘krantikari’, leaving the Congress red-faced and the BJP laughing all the way to the TV studios.

It isn’t as if the BJP leaders don’t make inflammatory statements. But then the Congress doesn’t seem to have most of the media on its side to help amplify those.

But, despite all these gifts by the Congress leaders, the BJP may still lose some of the states. The voter is often smarter than the politician and experts.

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  1. Is there any doubt about the absolute moronery of Congress leaders, knowing the level of intelligence of their President ? One can only pity a party who accepts Pappu as their supreme leader.

  2. As long as Congress leaders toe the Rahul line, and consider mocking and ridiculing Modi, even on a personal level, using silly and childish primary school class type acronyms and inane expressions as ‘Campaign strategy’, Congress can ONLY LOSE. It starts right at the top with Raga and his personal obsession with Modi. His hatred for Modi is too obvious and open. His followers naturally believe that is the way to go. How else can one explain Tharoor etc also climbing the bandwagon? Rahul’s favourite ( once) Divya Spandana began this by calling Modi “Chor”. She matched Mani Shankar Iyer’s “Chaiwallah” jibe to the hilt, with equally disastrous consequences. There is no coordination and guidance in Congress. Everyone merely follows Rahul’s example and comes to grief.

  3. For the general election, the Congress needs to hone its communication strategy, avoid holding out bunches of low hanging fruit for its opponents to pluck.

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