By Sushil Kutty
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was slated to distribute appointment letters via video conferencing to 71,000 newly-inducted recruits on Tuesday, May 16. Less than a year short of the 2024 general elections, Modi is acutely aware he might not be the 2024 favourite. Modi’s numero uno position is up for grabs and the rivals have stars in their eyes. The Karnataka election result broke the BJP’s back prompting India’s political heartthrob to get out of his reverie. Saving Pvt. Modi is now the numero uno duty and assignment of every Modi-bhakt and BJP’s media-partner.
Modi’s ‘Rozgar Mela’ was being watched closely. Would 35% of the jobs go to the Muslim minority, the Pasmanda Muslims? Chances are ‘yes’. This is because the beneficiaries were picked months ahead of Tuesday’s “recruitment”, and the Karnataka assembly elections. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pasmanda appeasement had been going on for months. One estimate puts the Muslim population of India at 14-15%, but the Modi government has been giving the Pasmanda Muslim community a 35% share of its various ‘labarthi’ schemes.
The anti-Hindu slant in Modi’s worldview is not recent. Ask a psychoanalyst and she’ll point to the self-loathing that afflicts most Hindus. Modi is a victim of the contagion. In the process, BJP/Modi also made a mockery of Hindu sentiments – 2024 will see a shocking drop in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity among Hindus. The refrain is that the Hindu of India have woken up to Modi-ji’s duplicity and there’s no forgiveness to spare.
Of course, Modi lives with the misconception that nothing he does can dislodge him from the heads and hearts of his Hindutva vote-bank. Modi’s surrogates and proxies are busy spreading the canard that Modi continues to reign supreme when in reality, the BJP is quite aware Narendra Modi has lost status and standing in the eyes of the BJP’s captive vote-bank.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last stand for the BJP in the Karnataka election is etched in the minds of BJP supporters and BJP workers; especially the pictures of Modi in his orange SUV resplendent in a sea of saffron petals raining from the sky. That he couldn’t reverse the final outcome of the elections is also not lost on anyone. BJP’s Karnataka vote-bank blames Modi for the demolition of 26000 temples in the state under BJP rule and ‘Bajrang Bali’ lying broken in a garbage dump.
The impromptu BJP reaction to the party’s Karnataka defeat was to shift blame away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Simultaneously, there was a concerted attempt to deprive credit for the Congress victory to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, particularly to the Gandhi scion’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. Subsequently, something like a cottage industry sprung up in mainstream media, and in social media, to go all out and salvage Modi’s election-winning reputation from the dregs of the election defeat. Talk of ‘Modi-fatigue’ among the BJP vote-bank has been jostling with “BJP’s vote-share remains intact”.
The danger is that when admitting to “Modi fatigue”, the party ran the risk of confessing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was no longer in the reckoning. That people in general have got tired of his face and his words. Naturally, BJP spokespersons have the difficult chore to once again clothe Modi in winning colours. But the simultaneous display of erosion of faith in the Prime Minister is difficult to overcome.
Whether it is Sambit Patra or Shehzad Poonawala, the one refrain of BJP spokespersons is “forget Karnataka, there are other states”. And Patra and Poonawala appear to have exorcised ‘Pasmanda’ from their lexicon. If any one group of people has taken somebody as powerful as Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a ride, it is the Pasmanda Muslim community.
And it is humiliating. . Contrary to the BJP’s simplistic argument and expectation, Karnataka’s Muslims – lock, stock and barrel – voted the Congress and the BJP can bet a fresh pair of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s socks that when Telangana goes to polls there will be a repeat of Karnataka’s Pasmanda showing in KCR’s state.
The tight Pasmanda slap spells big trouble for the BJP now that the saffron party is also bleeding Hindutva votes. The Hindutva voters backing Modi from 2014 on are asking if Modi has learned his lesson or will he continue to inhabit the fool’s paradise? Prime Minister Narendra Modi has less than 10 months to get back in the reckoning. Modi & Co., including mainstream media partners and social media stooges, are back to discussing issues that are dear to the Hindutva vote-bank of the BJP including UCC, the 1991 Worship Act, “Gyanvapi and Mathura”.
A keen eye is meanwhile being kept on the ‘Rozgar Mela’ and which community gets more jobs and which fewer in comparison. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a tough road ahead. Reports are he is going overseas and will be in Papua New Guinea also. Modi’s one weakness has been his raucous overseas appearances. The nation can look forward to perhaps some of the last welcomes he gets at overseas Indian jamborees before 2024 throws a hammer. (IPA Service)