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Modi Sets Agenda For Battle Of 2019

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By Sidharth Mishra

Prime Minister NarendraModi in his address in Parliament on the motion of thanks to the President's address last week was at his visceral best. He made most of the opportunity which came his way to lash out at the Congress party. This is not the first time that Modi has chosen to hit out at the Congress but there was certain amount difference in the genre of attack.

Modi on the earlier occasions took on the the nation's oldest political party as the spearhead of the Opposition. This time around he was attacking the Congress, which in the role of the Opposition now was out making mincemeat of claims of development of the NDA-II government.Congress plan for past six-months beginning with the run-up to the Gujarat assembly elections has been plain and simple. They have chosen the grammar and style-sheet of the BharatiyaJanata Party itself, which has been proving to be disconcerting for both the Prime Minister and also BJP president Amit Shah.

During the course of the speech, the Prime Minister made a case for himself as being victim of “hit and run politics”. He said, “These days parties make imaginary charges against me and run away… I have been listening to your lies quietly for the sake of the country.” This is something about which the Congress has been talking about lately specially after the court order in the 2G spectrum case, which exonerated the UPA government of causing any losses, as had been spelt out by then Comptroller and Auditor General VinodRai. This order was used by the NDA in the 2014 LokSabha campaign to wrest power from the UPA. 

Coming back to the Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament, if one recalls correctly, never before has there been a more determined attempt by the Opposition to disrupt a Prime Minister's reply to the motion of thanks. The Prime Minister had realised the Oppsition’s attempt to corner him quite early and thus the first line of defence came by Modi's most trusted lieutenant Amit Shah, who a few days back made his debut speech in RajyaSabha.

While in 2014, the BJP had carefully crafted the image of the Prime Minister as having worked as a 'chaiwala' (tea boy), in 2018 Amit Shah went hammer and tongs in the RajyaSabha denouncing the Congress for the 'pakodawala' jibe against the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister's reference to a roadside snack-maker as being gainfully employed during an interview to a television channel raised the controversy and invited criticism for Modinomics having brought the nation to the stage of 'Pakodawala' economics through 'ill-conceived' policies like the demonetisation of the currency notes and hasty and unplanned implementation of the GST regime.

Given the enormity of attack, Modionce again chose the often used tactics in the LokSabha, where both Congress president Rahul Gandhi and and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are members. During his address amid slogan-shouting, Modi hit back at the Congress raising the issue of dynasty, the Emergency and corruption.

These were charges against the Congress which got Modi the high seat in the South Block on the Raisina Hills but why does he need to go back to them again and again to keep the opposition in the check. The answer is simple; the ongoing Budget session has not brought good news for the NDA government. The presentation of the Budget was followed by the bloodbath at the stock market and on the day of the Budget came the news of the party getting routed at the hands of the Congress in the bypolls held in Rajasthan, a state ruled by the BJP. This certainly seems to have caused a lot of discomfort in the top management of the BJP, which is getting into the top gear for the 2019 LokSabha polls.

The prime Minister’s focus and understanding of his weak points were amply evident when he said, “Irrespective of who heads the government, the aspirations of middle class youth should always be the top priority,” and “the only people who are adversely affected by Aadhaar are the dishonest, the corrupt and middlemen. This is the real reason why it is being opposed.”

It’s certainly the middle-class and the youth which has been feeling most let down by the Budget presented earlier during the session and no wonder Modi decided to address them and also talk about the ‘dishonest’ Congress which has now as opposition brought the charge of scam in Rafale deal against Modi. As Rahul Gandhi said after the PM’s speech, “he made a campaign speech, a political speech instead of answering important questions pertaining to the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, waiving-off farmers’ loans, and the crisis of jobs in the country.”

So like the campaign in Gujarat, the LokSabha polls too could see an electioneering hardly focusing on development but more on the political issues and personal attacks. A gripping political match is certainly in the offing.


(The writer is Editor&CEO, First published in DB Post, Bhopal)



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