By Sushil Kutty
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been campaigning against the Opposition’s INDI-Alliance for as long as the alliance has been in existence, i.e., since July of this year. That should answer the question, is the ruling BJP worried about what the INDI-Alliance could do to it in the 2024 general elections? Also, the Prime Minister has been laying extra stress on rooting out corruption and eradicating dynasty and appeasement from the fabric of India since the day of the announcement of ‘INDIA’.
Embroiling the INDI-Alliance in corruption charges is the prime focus of the Modi government. And the BJP has an ally – the media, which is focused on helping BJP haul a huge majority come 2024. On the evening of November 9, for example, television news channels spent the entire primetime discussing the INDI-Alliance and how in the short while of its existence, the alliance has been swept by allegations of corruption and hit by dissensions with the constituents fighting among themselves and defeating the very purpose for which the alliance came into being – forge unity so as to overthrow the Narendra Modi-led regime.
Not surprisingly, every single ‘Godi Media’ channel had this same topic for primetime debate. From the ‘Republic’ to the ‘Time’, whether Hindi or ‘Angrezi’, almost as if they were fed the diktat “go after INDI-Alliance, all of you together at the same time”. It is true, that minus the captive media to help, the BJP-led NDA government may not make it three times in a row.
Truth is, the BJP has been laying the foundation for a 2024 general elections victory right since 2019, the last time it won. And today, the issue of corruption has taken centre-stage for the saffron party’s ‘Modi-Modi, Har Ghar Modi’ crusaders. Whether it’s the AAP corruption or the Congress corruption; the Trinamool graft or the RJD graft, none of the opposition parties in the length and breadth of India has been spared.
And as long as the Opposition was split wide open, there wasn’t panic. But when the Opposition got together and named its alliance with the acronym ‘INDIA’, the Bharatiya Janata Party spiralled into panic-mode. One after the other, INDI-Alliance leaders started getting charged with corruption and there has been no let-up. That politicians, irrespective of which party, are prone to graft made it easy.
On the evening of November 9, primetime TV anchors of the captive media, favouring the BJP, targeted INDI-Alliance constituents and it was hard defending the AAP and the Congress. As also for the Trinamool Congress, whose leader, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, has been doing the rounds of central investigating agencies in Delhi. With the five states assembly elections underway, Delhi’s captive electronic media are on mission-mode, going after the INDI-Alliance with all the weaponry at their command.
The fact is, an INDI-Alliance victory will be traumatic for much of Delhi’s electronic media though the media are known for their somersaults. But as of today, NCR-based television channels are all solidly in the rightwing camp. Add to that, the Prime Minister poisoning the minds of the electorate against the INDI-Alliance and things cannot get worse for the opposition parties making up the alliance.
That being said, the INDI-Alliance has no other go but to stick together and present a solid phalanx. It is a difficult task, but so far there has been no major break or threat of a major break. The feeling one gets is that once past the five states’ assembly elections, INDI-Alliance will go for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s jugular in the general elections, together as a single lethal fighting unit with the resolve of the Israel Defence Forces and the ruthlessness of the Hamas.
For, finally, at the end of the day, it will be the electorate which will cast the vote that will decide whether Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is the winner or loser. If on December 3, the Congress retains Chhattisgarh, it wouldn’t matter to the Congress whether Bhupesh Baghel’s corruption is proved or not. It is winning the Assembly that matters. Whichever party/alliance takes the Chhattisgarh Assembly gets to eat the cake and keep it, too.
Ditto AAP and its incarcerated leaders. If Modi loses the 2024 general elections, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh will be out of the Tihar in a jiffy. The BJP-led NDA, therefore, has to win the 2024 Lok Sabha polls for the corruption charges against INDI-Alliance leaders to hold. If the INDI-Alliance wins the general elections, the corruption charges will fold and it will all be a waste of TV-time for the media that have been lining up to serve BJP’s diktats. It is too late for the media to grow a spine with many of the top anchors out on a limb, their future fortunes linked to a BJP victory as much as the BJP is depending on them for a 2024 Modi victory. The BJP-Captive Media nexus is out in the open. (IPA Service)