A turbo-charged final phase of campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh polls concluded on Monday in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Varanasi constituency. And considering the uncivilized, foul standard of campaigning executed by every party, it couldn’t have come any sooner. Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed political leaders disgorging dishonorable comments at each other. Never have they been so intolerant. Thank God the rallies and the spiteful speeches are behind us now.
Over the past few days, in their final push to woo the voters, desperate political leaders became quite innovative in their line of attack. They started coining cheap, contemptible terms to describe the opposition.
While addressing a rally in Meerut recently, Modi asked the people to rid UP of ‘SCAM’ – S for Samajwadi party, C for Congress, A for Akhilesh Yadav and M for Mayawati.
In hindsight, Modi might have regretted using the acronym. He would have realized it was a cheap shot. It is a privilege to address thousands of people in a rally. As the leader of the nation, it is his duty to utilize every moment of that opportunity to listen to the woes of the people, reassure them of his commitment towards their welfare, and declare plans to fight poverty, illiteracy, and corruption.
It is a moment to share future development plans, not trade ugly barbs. It is safe to assume that the good people of Uttar Pradesh would appreciate a positive approach more than what they have been forced to endure in the past month.
Congress’ utter dislike of Modi reflected in their reaction. The party has no real presence in UP, playing second fiddle to Samajwadi Party.
Their version of SCAM -‘Satta bhogi, kapti dhongi Amit Shah Modi’.
Similar taunts were directed at BJP, calling it “bhagoda jugadu party”, “bhai bhateejawad party”, “bhaichara jalao party”, “bhrashtachar jagao party” and “bhramjaal jagao party”.
As far as Congress is concerned, their response may be somewhat understandable. After all, the party is experiencing its lowest phase in politics and the fear of extinction is driving their conduct. They will not go down without a dirty fight.
Prime Minister Modi had one for Mayawati, too. He said BSP is not Bahujan Samaj Party, but ‘Behenji Sampatti Party’.
The five-time chief minister shot back, saying Narendra Damodardas Modi means Mr. Negative Dalit Man. Mayawati is feisty that way. She even became personal in her attack. She shrewdly pointed out how Modi married and then left his wife. But it’s not new, rather it’s expected. She has been known to indulge in quite harsh tactics in poor taste.
Akhilesh Yadav is saying Modi should do ‘kaam ki baat’, not ‘mann ki baat’.
Everyone is playing this game.
The results will be out in a few days. Of the three prospective parties – BJP, SP, and BSP – Akhilesh Yadav’s SP has the most to lose. Or rather, Akhilesh himself has the most to lose. In fact, if SP fails to retain power, the 45-year-old’s political journey will receive a major blow, forcing him to begin all over again.
Most party members will hold Akhilesh responsible for the setback. He staged a coup against his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav. He revolted against the system, against the founder patriarch. He insulted his own uncle, Shivpal Yadav. All of it reflected poorly on SP. People felt alienated and lost faith in a divided party. He will also be blamed for the seat-sharing deal with the Congress. He will be crucified by his own family.
Akhilesh Yadav has been better than most chief ministers who ruled UP in the past. He is forward-thinking and development-oriented. It won’t be too bad for the state to have him back as CM, but it’s hard to imagine that the open fight in the Yadav clan will not impact poorly on the final outcome.
A galaxy of BJP veterans and Union ministers also made a beeline to Varanasi towards the fag end of electioneering. That is the importance BJP is giving to this one. If BJP manages to win the elections, Modi’s popularity within the party and country will crash beyond sky-high. He will become the most powerful leader any party has ever produced in India. And Amit Shah will become BJP’s greatest-ever president.
Modi’s win will also be an unbearable tragedy for Rahul Gandhi. It is bound to hurt his crowning as party president.