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Political Play
KG Suresh
For BJP it's time for some introspection before it is too late 19 February, 2014
After Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s exit from active politics, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has undoubtedly emerged as the most popular crowd puller for the party and has been drawing large number of people to his public meetings across the country.

These rallies are being widely discussed in the media and is evoking reactions from across the political spectrum besides contributing significantly to the BJP’s tally in opinion polls but the moot question is whether these crowds would ultimately translate into votes.

In West Bengal for instance, the party is virtually non-existent. It is widely rumoured that the local leaders often strike deals with either the CPI (M) or even TMC. Without making any comparisons whatsoever, it is pertinent to mention here that Rahul Gandhi too attracted crowds during the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar but with the Congress organisation in a dilapidated condition and the absence of charismatic and effective local leaders, the party could not cut much ice at the hustings. 

Therefore, won’t it be far better if the resources involved in organising such rallies in hitherto unfertile areas are channelized to maximise the party’s prospects in areas where there is a strong possibility of victory?

Another key question is whether Modi reflected the mood of the party’s supporters in the state in his address. Interactions with the rank and file of the party reveal a disappointment in terms of content. While they do appreciate the compulsions of real politik that might have prevented the leaders from attacking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the party’s core constituency strongly feel that the TMC chief has outdone arch rivals Marxists in minority appeasement. They cite innumerable instances to support their case that even as Bangladesh leader Sheikh Hasina is pro actively engaged in crushing the Islamic radicals in her country, the West Bengal Chief Minister is on an overdrive to support those very elements.

These grassroot level workers feel the people in the state are looking for a third alternative other than TMC and the Left Front and the Central leaders should stop playing footsie with Banerjee and in the process derail the state party. Moreover, Banerjee has always been and would remain an unpredictable ally given her mercurial style of functioning.

Thus, when Modi goes to different states, is he being given the right feedback on the issues faced by the party cadres and supporters, which reflects in his public utterances?

Moreover, there appears to be a growing perception within BJP that Modi can single handedly deliver the magic figure. Modi is undoubtedly the party’s face but it is a well oiled party organisation with dedicated, committed workers which alone can strengthen the base. The efficacy of the local leadership, the choice of candidates, the unity among the rank and file are as critical for the party’s success as much as the projection of a strong and popular leader. Both complement each other.

The party should not forget that even if the elections are being fought in presidential style, it is not a presidential poll that is being contested. Modi would be contesting only from one or two seats and the remaining 272 seats are equally important. Time for some introspection before its too late in the day.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
K G Suresh is a Delhi-based Senior Journalist and Editor of Critique
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