Neither ‘Ram bharosey’ nor ‘Modi bharosey’ will work for BJP in the upcoming elections

The saffron brigade seems to have sensed the changing mood and is going back to the old Ram card to salvage their slipping graph. The ruling party is now on ‘Ram Bharosey’ rather than ‘Modi Bharosey’

PTI photo
PTI photo
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Zafar Agha

The tide is clearly turning. Narendra Modi is no longer the Messiah that he was in 2014. BJP is no more the fix-all party that it was viewed as four years ago. The nation has seen through both now. How long can a government fool people with gimmicks! After all, the economy is in a mess. It’s so bad that the Modi government is asking the RBI to surrender or transfer its reserves to run the show. Governance has turned into a joke with wars inside key institutions like the CBI. Fed up with the Modi government’s non-performance, people’s anger is spilling over to the streets every now and then.

Winning elections, both the 2018 assembly elections and the 2019 parliamentary polls is an uphill task for the BJP now. Things began to change for the BJP right from the Gujarat assembly elections, which it barely managed to win with a narrow margin. The Modi magic also failed to work in Karnataka where the BJP lost four out of five bypolls last week. BJP’s well-known money bags, Reddy brothers, lost their fiefdom in Bellary after more than a decade, conceding to a humiliating electoral defeat in the bypoll.

What can the BJP do? How can it manage another victory in 2019? The question must be nagging the Modi-Shah-Bhagwat trio, who want to remain in power at the Centre for five more years. The entire saffron brigade seems to have sensed the mood and hence is going back to the old Ram card to salvage their slipping graph. The ruling party is now on Ram Bharosey rather than Modi Bharosey. Will Bhagwan Ram deliver them the 2019 victory?

The BJP in 1992 was an opposition party with no anti-incumbency baggage. Modi-led BJP today, is the ruling establishment, heavily tainted with non-performance on all fronts. With no 2014 promises fulfilled yet, Modi will find it difficult to project himself as a Hindu Hriday Samrat again

It seems rather difficult. After all, 2019 is not the early 1990s when the Ram temple issue propelled BJP to the national scene. Those were different times. The country was in an angry mood. VP Singh’s Mandal politics had already divided the Hindu society along caste lines.

There was an upsurge of caste politics. Amidst the caste divide, the Babri Masjid Action Committee was formed to oppose the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Muslims, under the Babri Masjid Action Committee’s banner, took to the streets in a big way. The Sangh Parivar got an opportunity on a platter. The VHP jumped into the scene raising the Ram banner. It soon turned into a sort of Ram versus Allah battle, provoking a Hindu backlash, cultivated and curated by the entire Sangh Parivar, including the BJP. LK Advani’s Rath Yatra in 1991-92 managed to tap into Hindu anger against the Muslims culminating into the Babri mosque demolition on December 6, 1992. The BJP reaped political dividends establishing itself as a far-right Hindu party.

In the mandir-masjid controversy there was a Muslim adversary, the other, to provoke a Hindu backlash. But there is no Babri mosque now; nor is there a Babri Masjid Action Committee with its Muslim rallies to provoke Hindus. If there is someone who now stands in the way of a Ram temple, it is the Supreme Court, which the seers and the Sangh are targeting. But the Supreme Court is not a ‘Muslim’ rival which can be dubbed as anti-Hindu per se. Muslims are, in fact, perceived as a demoralised, defeated lot, resigned to their fate and who can be targeted by any mob, anywhere and at any time now. So, building a Hindu backlash in 2019 is not going to be an easy task for the Parivar.

Well, another serious impediment to building the Ram temple into a hot electoral issue is the BJP itself. The BJP in 1992 was an opposition party with no anti-incumbency baggage. Modi-led BJP today, is the ruling establishment, heavily tainted with non-performance on all fronts. With no 2014 promises fulfilled yet, Modi will find it difficult to project himself as a Hindu Hriday Samrat again.

Topping all of these obstacles in the way of building a Ram wave again is Narendra Modi’s own autocratic style of functioning. This is pushing almost the entire opposition into an embrace leading to consolidation of the entire 69% of anti-Modi voters of 2014. Joint opposition party rallies with the mood of the nation turning against Modi will have more appeal than an artificially generated Ram wave this time round.

Well, Ram temple issue with virtually no Muslim opposition around and the Modi government suffering from anti-incumbency is unlikely to deliver another victory to the BJP in 2019.

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