Much Hype About Rahul & Modi

By Prabhakar Timble
14 May 2013 06:09 IST

The Karnataka election results were expected and toed the lines drawn by pre-poll surveys and exit poll predictions. Some political commentators interpret the outcome as a shocker to the well-wishers of Mr. Narendra Modi, who along with the PR consultants have created the hype for the supposedly Gujarat lion as the inevitable choice for the Prime Ministerial chair. Since the media has pitted Mr. Rahul Gandhi against Mr. Narendra Modi in the run up for the top post, it is perceived that these are favourable signs for this youth Congress icon from the Nehru-Gandhi family. The final picture of 2014 general elections to the Indian Parliament would disappoint the well-wishers and sycophants of these two ballooned heroes appear to be more credible and plausible. The just concluded election to the Southern State of India should not be viewed as a nightmare to Mr. Narendra Modi or a delight to Mr. Rahul Gandhi. The logic and logistics of India’s multi-party parliamentary democracy and electoral process would not allow the mantle of prime ministership to fall on either of these politicians.

Star campaigners

Undoubtedly, Modi is a star campaigner of the BJP. He can breed brand loyalty and stimulate brand recall during voting. He is known for aggressive and highly persuasive electoral marketing. This style of brand development ties the existing voter base. The existing hot and cold prospects of the BJP would hit the ballot box. However, Modi’s verbal communication and body language modelling is repulsive to the wider database of voters. His approach cannot lure this database even for a walk-in. Modi would definitely consolidate the ‘existing’ BJP vote bank and sway the self-centred middle class and the socially unconscious urban elite who are enthralled by the image that Modi has built for himself through a sustained PR exercise. This self-ordained “vikas-purush” has serious limitations to be the Head of the union cabinet. The Modi mania can assure some sure numbers in terms of votes but is insufficient to rake in the conversions to don the crown of the Prime Minister.

Rahul Gandhi sounds sincere and would probably be very successful in rejuvenating and building the Congress party organisation. For 2014, he lacks in expertise and experience for political governance. The perception of dynastic rule works to his disadvantage. His father, Rajiv, walked into the shoes of the Prime Minister in an atmosphere which was surcharged with emotion due to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. 2014 does not offer such a launching platform for the grandson. Rahul Gandhi needs to wait and complete his lessons by taking up apprenticeship assignments in the Cabinet which he chose to avoid during his current tenure in Parliament.

A different cap

Both the BJP and the Congress have not yet declared their prime ministerial choices. These two names could be the creation of the media or a weak instance of something which could be on the borderline of paid news. Such high profile visibility may be an attempt to pre-empt other faces.

Modi is projected as a person whose time has come to develop India on the lines of Gujarat. The vibrant Gujarat image got created mainly on account of the Tata Nano project. There is nothing else substantial except Modi’s verbosity fanning emotions by talking of “Gujarati Pride” as opposed to reason and common sense. India is miles different from Gujarat. Modi has created his own network of governance which has resulted in polarisation. For every existing secular organisation, there is a “bharatiya parishad” today of artists, professionals, doctors, engineers, traders, entrepreneurs, cooperatives, teachers and educational societies. Modi loves to flirt with the word “Italian” whilst referring to Sonia’s citizenship. For him, Rahul and Priyanka are children of an Italian mother. This and the choicest stones showered on Pandit Nehru increase his distance from the prime ministerial chair. Modi cannot get these homilies out of his system. This is his major stumbling block to graduate from the gallery of Ahmedabad to the balcony of New Delhi. As time nears, the individuals and political parties who decide on the PM will want less and less of Modi.

There are leaders in the Congress and in the coalition partners comprising the UPA and NDA of prime ministerial material. The flood lights on Mr. Narendra Modi tend to bring the issue of communalisation on par with the corruption during the UPA regime. Though Modi and his brigade use the word ‘cultural nationalism’, in reality, it is Hindu nationalism to be taken as a bypass to reach the ring road of Hindu communalism in due course. This is the long term strategy to refashion India. The development cum governance image sought to be built of Narendra Modi has not proved to be a strong detergent to wash off the undemocratic authoritarian record; intolerance to protest by trade unions, adivasis and civil rights groups; and silencing the voices of secularism and dissent. These qualities may result in political business in a State in the short-run but are not virtues when it comes to the Prime Minister.

With all the ills plaguing the Indian democracy and electoral system, the Indian voter has exhibited maturity at every general election. The voter has shown his ability to differentiate between local, state and national issues. Narendra Modi is on a mission to grab power with a clear vision to break the backbone of the heterogeneous, pluralistic and democratic country. Rahul Gandhi talks of Mahatma Gandhi’s India when Gujarat, the birth State of Mahatma Gandhi is today known as Modi’s Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi also talks of renunciation and keeping off from power. The voters would do the miracle of keeping both of them out from the chair of the Prime Minister.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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NDA and UPA II have not yet declared their prime ministerial choices. The two names (Modi & Rahul) are creations of media hype. So speaking or writing in comparison on these two names, at the movement, is like “uncalled for” comparison! Yes, we must compare NDA’s and UPA II’s prime ministerial candidates……. but for that we need to wait for official announcements.

So for a movement, let’s speak or rather compare something which is a REALITY. Yes, I’m expressing my views on very expensive and unwanted Ad campaigns namely BHARAT NIRMAN and INDIA SHINING! In short; UPA II's Bharat Nirman and NDA's India Shining Ad campaigns can be summed up in two famous English phrases: 1) Rose by any name smells the same; 2) History repeats itself.

NDA initiated INDIA SHINING; much before Lok Sabha polls were due, saying there is nothing political in it and is a simple attempt to ATTRACT INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENTS to India. Similarly, UPA II initiated BHARAT NIRMAN when elections are one year away calling it as an attempt to bring an APPROPRIATE PERSPECTIVE to the people of India about the UPA II government!!

The NDA had hired leading Ad agency “Grey Worldwide” to design India Shining campaign, while UPA II roped in Bollywood's top names: Director Pradeep Sarkar and lyricist Javed Akhtar.

India Shining campaign cost was totally funded by the government. While the initial cost of Bharat Nirman which is pegged at Rs 185 crores, will be funded by I & B Ministry!

India Shining was an attempt to hard-sell the optimism of an economy on the upswing, while Bharat Nirman is an attempt to restore the Feel Good Factor of the 9% growth story from UPA 1.

In India Shining, 60-second Ad videos boasted of the steps it had taken to boost the economy, stabilize prices, expand road and telecom networks, create health infrastructure and promote basic free education. India Nirman, makes all similar claims but prefers to ADD one more claim that of restoring "SOCIAL COHESION", a reference to 20 year old Godhra violence that took place in 2002.

Bharat Nirman may not have the assertiveness of India Shining but the campaign is a PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO SWEEP the controversies, corruptions, and all scandals of UPA II’s past three years incidences/happenings UNDER THE CARPET!! UPA II is not aware that a slick film direction and or a lyrical jingle cannot erase the disgusting odor of various corruptions, scandals nor can make up for UPA II's non-performances. Makers and producers of Bharat Nirman have totally forgotten the king makers i. g. voters!

Today, people are totally aware of unstoppable soaring food prices and continuously declining economy! People have realized that although the government has changed hands, the problems haven't changed!

- Uday Barad, Margao | 20 th May 2013 07:06


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