For Narendrabhai, it is a ‘now or never’ moment

<i>‘Paancho anguli ghee ma…dono haath ma laddoo…’</i> says PM Narendra Modi as he exhorts voters to ensure that they do not let him down

Picture courtesy: Twitter
Picture courtesy: Twitter

Yashonil Gupta & Aman Sharma

He is the Dikda (son) of Gujarat, a priest representing voters, a hard working ‘Sevak’ of the people. He has gone to Government schools, not English medium schools. He was educated through the medium of Gujarati. He personally recalls names of hundreds of voters in every Gujarat constituency. Gujaratis have the privilege of calling the Prime Minister by his first name, “Narendrabhai” and these, he declares in one meeting after another, are reasons why Gujaratis should vote for the BJP.

At Rajkot he reminds people that he was elected MLA from there first, remained the chief minister for 12 years and has now been the Prime Minister of the country for three and a half years. “Paancho anguli ghee ma…dono haath ma laddoo…” says PM Narendra Modi as he exhorts voters to ensure that they do not let him down.

Should they let go of an opportunity to have a Prime Minister whom they can call by his first name, he asks, inadvertently making the assembly election a referendum on him. A defeat in Gujarat, he realises, will make it difficult for him to win a second term as Prime Minister even if the BJP wins.

He also touches on international issues, the World Bank, Kashmir, Asiatic Lion at Gir forest and the Narmada project. Like Sardar Patel, he reminds the audience, he has tried to unite people. In a gathering of Kolis he however reminds them that they have now an easy access to the Rashtrapati Bhavan because President Kovind is a Koli.

But there is also the now-familiar vitriol that he reserves for Congress and Congress leaders. The assembly election, he never tires telling people, should be a vote against those who ‘hate Gujarat state, Gujarati people” and have always “defamed Gujarat”.

While pitching the election as ‘ Vikas vs Dynasty’, the Prime Minister mocks at Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and another Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi. He describes the impending election of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President as the beginning of Aurangzeb Raj and alleges that Gujarati magazine Chitralekha had carried a photograph of Mrs Indira Gandhi placing a handkerchief on her nose while RSS workers carried dead bodies following a natural calamity and epidemic.

The cover of the magazine’s edition quickly surfaced on social media to call the Prime Minister’s bluff. Everyone in the picture advisedly had masks on. But Narendra Modi by then had moved on to his next rally. Media reports say he is addressing 50 of them in Gujarat.

At least some people in his audience do not appear to be impressed while at least one grudgingly concedes, “Only Modi and miracle can achieve 151+ seats for the BJP in Gujarat assembly.”

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Published: 10 Dec 2017, 8:58 AM