Ever since Indira Gandhi’s death, one has clearly seen that the Gandhi family has been dragged into politics by the party despite the family members being extremely reluctant. It’s no secret that Sanjay Gandhi was the man interested in politics while Rajiv clearly wanted to be far away from it. Unfortunately, the one who was to be in politics went to fly and met his end. And the one who was to be flying, went into politics and met his end. An ironic but perfect mismanagement of resources that, since then, has become a hallmark of the Congress party!
Again, after Rajiv, Sonia was completely disinterested in politics and left the party to P. V. Narasimha Rao. But unfortunately, after the initial stability, the party became shaky; and in the absence of any leader, went back with a begging bowl to the family for support. Reluctantly, Sonia took charge and Manmohan Singh had a double run at the office. But with massive corruption charges flying all around, an anti-corruption movement starting throughout the nation, and Manmohan being completely unable to communicate/manage things, it was back to the family to try and resurrect the party. Unlike in the past, this time, the family failed miserably. While in the past, the family had produced charismatic speakers who could handle the situation, this time, the person concerned was not just an openly reluctant politician, but also a very mediocre communicator – a fact that Rahul Gandhi himself admits openly by saying that he isn’t a good orator like Modi is.
So, BJP has used the social media to malign and make a joke of Rahul Gandhi for about four years now! Sadly, that’s how politics in India is fought – not on the basis of policies, but on the basis of how you can malign your opponent. But the interesting thing about such jokes is that they all come with an expiry date. How long do you keep saying the same old things with different memes?
And BJP is realizing it the hard way. After a four-year honeymoon on social media, the jokes are taking a U-turn. In the last couple of months, I haven’t received a single forwarded WhatsApp meme on Rahul Gandhi. But every day, I receive at least ten new jokes on the PM, FM, BJP President, the CM of UP and RSS/BJP in general. It’s almost as if finally, the Congress party social media cell has woken up. But more damagingly for the BJP, it seems to be peaking at the right time – as the countdown to 2019 begins. The signs had actually not been too good for the BJP of late. The memes aren’t coming out of thin air. After such a thumping win, BJP seems to be committing suicide by squandering away all the advantages.
From the continuing painful deaths in Gorakhpur and around and the BJP act as if nothing had happened, to the multiple gau raksha vigilantes and BJP’s tacit support, the public has been quite agitated. You can try to corner Hindu votes by branding yourself as a Hindu party; but you can’t make Hindus rejoice deaths and killings. Hindus would then rather vote for anyone else.
And that’s exactly what’s happening. From Delhi University elections to JNU elections to Allahabad University elections to the Gurdaspur elections to the Gurgaon Municipal elections, it’s been a spate of back-to-back humiliating losses for the BJP!
Add to that the global criticism on the failure around demonetization, the massively criticised poor implementation of the GST and the attempts to hijack the Congress-initiated Aadhar scheme through over-the-top hype, have converted the three biggest flagship steps of the BJP in three years into nationwide jokes.
YOU CAN TRY TO CORNER HINDU VOTES BY BRANDING YOURSELF AS A HINDU PARTY, BUT YOU CAN’T MAKE HINDUS REJOICE DEATHS AND KILLING
As it is, the Putin-type building of oligarchs in India that has been taking place like never before in the last three years, has been hitting BJP’s image quite hard, with everyone questioning the Adanis, Ambanis and Ramdevs. But nothing has hit BJP harder than the latest Shah-n-Shah of all problems. The entire BJP story was built upon the narrative of “neither will I become corrupt, nor will I let anyone else become corrupt”. Whatever explanations the defamation suits are filled with now, the Rs.50,000 to Rs.80 cr story of Amit Shah’s son has caused BJP the maximum irreversible damage. The jokes are flying thick and thin and no one will ever believe the non corruption narrative of BJP again.
The jokes have certainly taken a U-turn. The question is, will Congress be able to take advantage of the same and deal BJP with the big blow in 2019? The bigger question is, who is there in the Congress who is capable of leading from the front and channelizing the assault? Will Rahul Gandhi be able to take a U-turn as well, or will BJP be able to control the tide and get back in command?
(SMS your views with your name and topic to
Connect with the author
or tweet him at https://twitter.com/Arindam_IIPM
or follow his articles at http://arindamchaudhuri.blogspot.com