Oppn rally a summit of conflicting ideologies: BJP

Oppn rally a summit of conflicting ideologies: BJP

We will form next govt

Rajiv Pratap Rudy

Nearly two dozen Opposition parties came together in Kolkata to unitedly take on the Narendra Modi led BJP.

The ruling BJP, in turn, debunked the Opposition's grand alliance plans by raising the question of who will lead them and ridiculing the gang up to target one individual in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a rally in Silvasa, projected the Opposition grand alliance as “not just against Modi but against the nation” and said 2019 fight is between the grand alliance and people of the nation. BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy dared the Opposition parties to name the leader of their alliance.

“It is a grouping with contradictions, and full of conflicts. A big question that people have about this stage is which of the leaders on stage will be future Prime Minister. Who is the leader of these 50-55 faces?” Rudy asked.

The BJP spokesperson also drew the analogy of a boat, to hammer home the point about ‘susceptibility’ of such a coalition arrangement, saying a boat rowed by too many people in too many directions tends to sink.

“Even when some people with a lust for prime ministership tug in one direction, the boat will tilt and sink,” he warned.

Collective leadership

While Opposition parties at the rally rejected BJP’s leadership concerns by stressing on "collective leadership”, the BJP continued to harp on “inner contradictions” within the grand alliance.

“This is a grouping born out of selfishness, This is a grouping of people who hate each other. All have the sole agenda of somehow stopping one individual from coming to power,” Rudy said

BJP’s reaction to the Opposition grand alliance plans is in line with the strategy it adopted at its two-day national council meeting in Delhi last week.

Addressing the council, BJP’s strategist, Union Minister Arun Jaitley, had last Saturday asked party workers to build BJP’s campaign narrative in 2019 around Modi’s leadership. He argued that if the discussion is only on leadership, then no one can defeat BJP as the primary issue in Lok Sabha polls would be who would lead the country. The BJP has also decided to highlight in its interaction with people, the prime ministerial ambitions of all regional leaders and their acrimonious relationship in the past.

Besides, a key theme of BJP’s poll strategy is highlighting the fallacy of governments led by regional leaders like Chandrashekhar, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral, who were backed by the Congress.

The BJP believes that at a time when most regional players seem to be ready to work with the Congress, the projection of one versus all battle will help it evoke sympathy as well.

“There is only one MLA from BJP in West Bengal and yet all political parties have come together in Kolkata against the BJP there. Since we follow the path of truth, they are scared of even one of us,” Modi said.

Indira recall

The BJP is also recalling the late Indira Gandhi’s famous remarks in the run up to 1971 Lok Sabha polls - “woh kehte hain ‘Indira hatao’; main kehti hoon garibi hatao” (they say banish Indira, I say banish poverty) - to portray Opposition unity efforts as solely targeted at Modi.

“My actions against corruption have infuriated some people. It is but natural for them to get angry as I have prevented them from looting public money.  Consequently, they have now formed an alliance called Mahagathbandhan,” Modi said.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday tweeted "Twenty-two parties, few MPs, three-four PM candidates, hope to capture power. No  bar on day dreaming (Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne)." It was a reference to a television serial of the '90s in which the protagonist gets into a dream sequence on and off.