The very basic of politics, or life for that matter, says one should force the opponent to play on a neutral turf, if not on his own turf. The ruling BJP in general and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular is fortunate to have not only got a massive mandate but an ideologically challenged and confused opposition.
It is no secret that the brand of politics that has mentored Modi thrives on the issues of pseudo nationalism and communal polarization. And yet, a confused opposition is wasting its energy to nail him on the very same plank. This continues to polarize the right wing support base of BJP.
To ridicule BJP for its lack of right wing intellectual clout in the governance and national policy may be having merit in absolute terms but in relative term it helps than harms the Modi Government. Blame it on the same poor intellectual orientation of Modi’s voters but that is a reality. You condemn Modi for communal polarization, intolerance or being intellectually challenged, it adds to his charisma as he is addressing a very different kind of voters.
Modi cannot be nailed beyond a point even on foreign policy issues for being directionless. The lack of diplomacy is being compensated with the unprecedented event management of the government. When Modi says “Pehli Baar” (First Time) he is referring more to the kind of glamour that he has added to his foreign trips than anything substantive. The cheerleaders only know when to clap; for what to clap is beyond their level of understanding.
Add to it, the support base of the NRIs whose business interests in the country always translates as diplomatic success for a Prime Minister who is a master craftsman of creating a mass hysteria. Modi can never be nailed with criticism for being symbolic than substantive.
What then is his weak link? What is that one single issue on which this entire government looks to be on the back foot? It is the economy. Sadly, no one in the opposition seems to realize this. Nail it there and they have no answers to offer.
Historically it has been an ideological dilemma of the BJP’s mentor RSS as to what extent Swadeshi should be practiced and how far modern realities need to be embraced. This time the confusion is even more on issues ranging from economic mismanagement to over-promise that brought this government to office.
A government that adds the 2.2 percentage of deflation to the 5.2 percentage of GDP growth to glorify it as 7.4% growth definitely has very poor economics in the backroom. This is where his support base also goes into silence as the sliding Indian economy with nose-diving job market is something that hurts everyone, including die-hard Modi bhakts.
Modi called former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “Anarth Shastri” over rise in petrol prices. The then UPA II Government was selling it at the rate of Rs. 70 plus when the international crude prices were at its historic peak level of $140 plus.
Today, at its historic lows when the international crude prices are hovering around $32-36, all that the Modi Government is doing is to keep the excise duty increasing. What for? This is something that the opposition needs to ask and make it known to the public at large.
The opposition that continues to play on the traditional strength of Modi has asked not many questions on the economic nonsense. The think tank within the BJP, if any they have, must be smiling.