Is Modi’s Varanasi Unconquerable ?
The roadshow, coming hours after the much-publicized interview with Akshay Kumar, ensured that Narendra Modi rules the airwaves for couple of days. The filing of nomination papers by Modi was equally a grand affair. NDA allies Janata Dal (United)’s Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Prakash Singh Badal accompanied him on Friday in a major show of strength.
The two-day Varanasi blitzkrieg had clearly served the BJP’s purpose in this Lok Sabha election.
It has made sure that Modi’s invincibility becomes the talk of the town once again. The roadshow has established that there be hardly any doubt left about the return of the Modi-led NDA government after 23rd May. His roadshow demonstrated his upcoming victory in Varanasi.
Few weeks ago, the political pundits in their prediction downgraded BJP’s chance of coming back to power. Some even wanted to know BJP’s ‘Plan-B’ if the party failed to cross the 200-mark. There were talks about the NDA partners preparing alternate plans in the ‘most-likely’ scenario of BJP not getting enough numbers in the Lok Sabha.
Suddenly, all of this became past.
One massive roadshow was enough to evaporate the all the back door arrangements . The ‘Benaras Bash’, the ‘saffron tsunami’ took over the pages of newspaper, choreographed patiently by BJP’s campaign managers with military precision.
The mega show has successfully sent a message that BJP will not only repeat it’s 2014 performance, but it will possibly come back with more seats across India and a bigger victory margin for Narendra Modi in Varanasi proving that Modi’s Varanasi is unconquerable.
Like 2014, Narendra Modi’s campaign managers have ensured that the overwhelming sentiment among the voters should be – ‘there’s no alternative to Modi’. The 2014 Lok Sabha election was fought on the lines of the US presidential election, with personalities dominating the campaign more than issues or ideology. The 2019 election is all about Modi versus rest.
Many political observers would agree that personality-oriented campaigns are advantageous to the party that has a more towering leader as against those who struggle with image management of their leaders. Not just smaller parties, even a century-old Congress party pales into insignificance when its leader is compared with Modi.
It is of no coincidence that the Congress, on Thursday announced Ajay Rai’s name for Varanasi hours before Modi’s roadshow began. Speculations were rife that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress in-charge for eastern UP, would contest from Varanasi. Such a contest would have no doubt drawn maximum attention and publicity however the ground reality and Modi’s acceptance among the people of Varanasi forced Congress not to risk the political career of Madam Priyanka.
The Varanasi roadshow was designed to have a national implication. The show of strength was a signal to the BJP’s partners that Narendra Modi is a pan-India leader and under his leadership even allies can hope to improve their seat tally.
While some of the NDA’s allies tried to drive a hard bargain on the basis of their support base in the states. The roadshow has shown them the mirror. It is doubtful if any leader of any other political party can boast of such massive show of support and strength as demonstrated by Modi.
Needless to say, the BJP has to work hard to convert this show of strength on the streets of Varanasi into votes in the polling booths. Modi urged BJP to workers in Varanasi Friday to ensure the temple city turns out in record numbers to vote.