File photo| Narendra Modi during an election campaign in Uttar Pradesh | PTI
File photo| Narendra Modi during an election campaign in Uttar Pradesh | PTI
Text Size:
  • 228

As the election campaign moves into the last phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invoked issues both from the past, as well as from parts of India where elections are over to fight elections in other parts.

Modi’s new tagline over the last week has been: “Hua toh hua (What has happened, has happened).” It’s a phrase dripping with sarcasm, and he is using it to tear into the opposition.

He stops at nothing. He is determined to win. The long, seven-phase campaign has helped him on both counts. Let me explain how.

Also read: Is Modi correct in saying media is biased against him in his pre-election interviews?

In Bathinda, Punjab, Modi invoked Congressman Sam Pitroda’s ridiculous remark regarding the 1984 Sikh riots – which took place in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination and in which more than 3,000 people were killed – and asked if this was the kind of party Punjab wanted to elect.

In Kushinagar and Deoria in eastern Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls on 19 May, Modi brought up the gangrape of a 19-year-old woman in Alwar, Rajasthan – the state had already gone to the polls on 29 April and 6 May and is now ruled by the Congress.

Taunting Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) leader Mayawati with the infamous “guest house incident” of 1995, when Samajwadi Party workers had hurled sexual abuses at the Dalit leader, Modi asked why she was continuing to support the Congress government in Rajasthan.

Hua to hua?” Modi asked. Is Punjab going to forgive the Congress for 1984? Should Mayawati be shedding “crocodile tears” for the Alwar gang-rape survivor, when she was herself abused by her current alliance partner, the Samajwadi Party?

In an election marked by several low blows, this one fell beneath the pale. Who reminds a woman of the trauma she has suffered and buried deep in an effort to forget, all for a few votes?

Also read: Modi-Shah’s poison has met its match in Mamata Banerjee’s poison

Prime Minister Modi isn’t giving up. He leaves no stone unturned, excavates every wound, opens up every laceration. His ambition for power is unmatched.

Certainly, Modi knows that both Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are two states where the so-called “wind” or visible undercurrent in his favour may slow down. The argument that Punjab’s Congress chief minister Amarinder Singh could eat up the BJP-Akali Dal alliance for breakfast, while the unbeatable caste combination of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh could halt Modi’s juggernaut is valid, and Modi knows that.

That is why he is throwing everything he has into this last phase. Some of the mud may not stick – like the charge that Rajiv Gandhi used the INS Virat warship to holiday with his Italian in-laws, several retired naval officers have denied the accusation – but some of it, may. Certainly, there’s no harm trying.

What is also clear this week is Modi’s anger against what he called the “Khan Market gang” in an interview with the Indian Express. By this he means the entitled, self-serving, dynastic, largely English-speaking lot that feels most at home in the watering holes of an upscale market in the heart of Delhi (incidentally, named after Dr Khan, the elder brother of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the ‘Frontier Gandhi’); people whose watches are set to London, New York and Paris, rather than Bhopal, Begusarai and Bathinda.

Unfortunately for him, Amarinder Singh comfortably belongs to both worlds – and despite his amiable Pakistani companion, he has never hesitated to call out the skullduggery of Pakistan’s ISI and army. Amarinder will throw everything he has into Bathinda and the rest of Punjab’s 12 Lok Sabha seats in an effort to arrest Modi’s caravan.

Also read: If Modi fails to come back to power, it’ll be because of himself, not the opposition

In this last phase, Punjab, eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal hold the key. Whichever alliance wins these remaining 59 seats could sit on the throne of Delhi. Modi knows this and so do Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee.

Mayawati struck back against Modi’s invocation of her trauma (“hua toh hua?”, he had taunted her) Monday, saying UP’s women didn’t want their husbands to go near Prime Minister Modi as the women feared “that like Modi they might also abandon their wives”.

The bizarre comment indicated that Modi’s barb had hit home. Mayawati is not the type of person to be unsettled by ordinary men, but in a campaign defined by unseemly comments, this one certainly has. Just like Mamata Banerjee who refused to let BJP president Amit Shah’s chopper land Monday, for no ostensible reason – Shah is now doing a roadshow.

At least for the moment, Modi has succeeded in throwing off two key rivals. Less than a week remains for both women to get back up and fight him. But as the Mahabharata always reminds us, all is fair in love, war and politics.

Get the PrintEssential to make sense of the day's key developments

  • 228
12 Comments Share Your Views


  1. This would have been one of the better campaigns in the electoral history of Free India, IF, there had not been the kind of cheap, below the belt, PERSONAL level attack on the PM by Rahul, Mamata, Naidu Kejriwal, Sidhu, Mani Shnankar Iyer, and their likes. It is unquestionably THEY who started the calumnious, abusive, mocking, demeaning, ridiculing and vituperative attack on the PM which, at some stage had to meet its match. And, it has, now. If they had tried instead to match the oratory for which Mr Modi is famed with actual facts, reasonable logic and viable, workable solutions for the very deficiencies they were pointing out in his regime, and credible, if not Cicero type speeches, without the’ show’of anger, clearly hollow as to substance, the election would have elicited better response from the voters. Unfortunately, as we near its end, it has descended into nothing but a “Tu TU, Main Main”, kind of exchange.

  2. Modi has rattled Mayawati and Mamata . The language used against Modi by the honorable opposition such as neech (low-born), gande naali ka keeda (insect from the gutter) and saying things such as ‘we don’t know who his father was’, is quite disgusting. And a fact check of Indian Express and The Hindu shows that Rajiv Gandhi was indeed tinged by the Bofors kickbacks. Rajiv Gandhi did park the INS Viraat for his holiday in lajshdweep as attested by many naval officers actually posted on the aircraft carrier. And by meticulous reporting in the Indian Express and India Today by Ms. Anita Pratap about Rajiv’s abuse of naval resources. These are bland but indigestible facts. They are not comparable to the abuse that Modi is subjected to. But Jyoti Malhotra’s biases are too blatant to see all this

  3. I find it surprising that there is no mention on the abusive and low level names hurled by several politicians with utter disregard to the Prime Ministers post. Whether the INS Viraat allegation sticks is not the point but the fact of the matter is that this generation now knows about it. Whatever might be the justification given it is still unacceptable. Sufficient ammunition is being given and will continue to be fed until the elections results and there is no doubt in my mind that the BJP will be voted back to power. I do not see any viable and competent to lead at the moment

  4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fighting the lelections to retain his position.If his party winds the election and Mr.Modi becomes the Prime Minister again then he will obviously be the Prime Minister of the country, even of those who may not have voted for him. Isn’t therefore necessary that Mr.Modi stops being abusive and realises his limits otherwise it would be difficult for everybody to accept him as the Prime Minister even if his party wins the election.

    • Apparently you think propriety and “limits” are only one sided – the Dynasts and Kichdi gang have no obligations towards “limits” ? People of India know Modi is not a weakling – if he is attacked he will not hesitate to launch “surgical strikes” against his opponents – be they Pakistan or India. Without even a single shred of evidence we have a Pappu and the entire opposition trying to claim Modi is corrupt – do they expect he will bear it silently ?

  5. More we recall the famous aphorism of Mark Twain ” Catch an adjective and kill them”, more Indian political commentators willingly make merry using adjectives with impunity. The subjective approach of the journalist uses the word ” unbeatable” before the Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh. She refers to describe the history of Khan Market instead of describing that IIC, IHC and Khan Market gangs are the terms used to describe those persons who wish to decide the fate of India and the role has been denied to them during the Modi’s regime. The lowest polling percentage in Delhi in the recent Lok Sabha elections is from the Lodi Road and the areas in its vicinity. The plus point with Modi (BJP/RSS are irrelevant now) is not complacent.

  6. Wow…. Not even a single word about what the Modi has faced from these so called Sikular brigade since 2002…. There is no doubt that Modi sets the agenda of opposition also….. Then everyone goes according to his trap……

  7. In Bengal, my heart tells me Didi will remain close to 34. In UP, heart and head both tell me, a tsunami is brewing. The last two phases especially will bring dreadful news. Credible assessments give the incumbent between 15 and 25.

    • Ashok Ji, please give insights (from your heart and if possible head too) for the rest of Indian states also.
      We can’t wait for may 23, as we are fortunate enough to have fortune tellers amongst us.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here