From the start of the current poll campaign the moves made by the BJP have puzzled this writer. The Congress misrule offered BJP a comfortable victory on the platter. Thanks to the Commonwealth Games scam, the 2G scam, the Coalgate scam and indeed a spate of corruption cases there was the strongest anti-incumbency wave ever witnessed in this country. All that the BJP required to do was to conduct a simple campaign focusing on Congress misrule and corruption to record comfortable victory.
Instead the BJP zeroed in on Mr. Narendra Modi as the messiah of a new development agenda as its sole focus. It promised an absolute party majority thanks to his charisma. The promise of a single party government made sense since people yearned for stability. But then the BJP started latching on to minor allies carrying political baggage incompatible with the party’s known policies to prove that if Mr. Modi failed to get an absolute majority he was not political untouchable. This greatly diluted the absolute majority claim of the BJP which was now perceived by voters as a party uncertain of its electoral fortunes. Could not the party have persisted with its original claim and waited for election results before seeking allies?
The BJP went on an overdrive seeking all and sundry allies regardless of political incompatibility. Does the party endorse the views of Bihar leaders Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan and Mr. Upendra Kushwaha on the reservation policy or on attitude towards the minority community? Does the BJP endorse the policies towards Sri Lanka with its newfound Tamil Nadu partners such as Mr. Vijayakanth, Mr. Ramadoss or Mr. Vaiko? If so, then God help India’s foreign policy in case of a BJP victory! All the above mentioned BJP allies and many others like them offer the prospects of very few seats in parliament.
To cap it all the BJP lashed out at regional parties that could offer necessary support in case of a hung parliament. It initiated virulent exchanges with their leaders. Mr. Modi inexplicably questioned Miss Mamata Banerjee’s personal integrity by leveling an unsubstantiated charge of alleged corruption amounting to Rs. one crore! Expectedly this provoked equally strong rejoinders from Miss Banerjee’s party that render prospects of any post poll cooperation very remote.
Next, Mr. Modi lashed out at alleged communalism of the National Conference (NC) in Kashmir by quoting wrong facts related to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from that state. The leaders of the NC and PDP parties in the Valley are the strongest bulwark against separatist pro-jihad elements in the state. Both Mr. Farookh Abdullah and Mr. Omar Abdullah not surprisingly responded with strong rebuttals that preclude future cooperation with the BJP. The BJP had earlier already ruined the rapport that had existed between Mr. Modi and Miss Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu.
What, then, is the BJP trying to achieve? After destroying the credibility of its original claim of obtaining an absolute majority, the party now seems to be destroying all prospects of cobbling together a winning coalition in case of a hung parliament after the polls. The BJP logic is beyond the understanding of this writer’s simple mind. Perhaps wiser readers can unravel the mystery? Does the slogan passed word by mouth in the streets of Lucknow, Mr. Rajnath Singh’s constituency, as reported in the media offer a clue? People whisper: “Agar Modi ko jitaana hai, Rajnath ko haraana hai!” (If you want Modi to win, you must defeat Rajnath!)