It’s no secret that the Narendra Modi juggernaut has swept the whole country. His political opponents who have tried to viciously outsmart him by taking ugly political potshots have been swept under the rug. It is an interesting read that all his opponents have been openly involved in name-calling and engaging in personal attacks. Whenever the opposition has tried belittling the Prime Minister, it has only backfired. The more you attack Modi, it is often said, the stronger he becomes.
The negative-hate filled cacophony of the political leaders against Modi has only given more impetus to his political career and in turn, benefitted NDA, whilst the opposition has been left stunned and often a demoralizing defeat is the end-product.
So, here are the five politicians who have bit the dust after cursing Modi.
The list can be topped by none other than the Congress party prince, Rahul Gandhi, the 49-year-old youngster tried fighting Modi with all his might but failed rather miserably. His “Chowkidar Chor Hai” barb did not go down well with the public opinion who gave Congress a measly 52 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Positive campaigning always substantially overshadows negative campaigning. This is the mistake Rahul Gandhi made with his “Chowkidar chor hai” campaign against Modi and the results are for everyone to see. The Congress under him resorted to a very negative, very vicious campaign that targeted the Prime Minister. His false accusations of Rafale Fighter jet scam made him the butt of a joke throughout the country.
Even now, when senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor advised the congress party to stop ‘demonising’ PM Modi, they both were met with hostile backlash from their own party which reiterated the fact that Rahul Gandhi’s party has instilled a culture where demonising the opposition is the only way they can grab votes. In criticizing PM Modi, Rahul crossed all limits and even engulfed institutions like the police, army and the higher courts of the country. One by one, all the strongholds of the Congress slipped out of his hand, but Rahul’s focus was only on degrading PM Modi.
It is as if making derogatory statements is in the Congress blood, in the 2007 Gujarat assembly elections, Sonia Gandhi famously called Narendra Modi “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death) and that did Congress badly in the state. Touted as the next big thing for Congress, Rahul Gandhi not only failed as a leader, he failed as a human being to uphold the basic human decency that is expected from a person of his stature.
Negative campaigns backfire, particularly in India where Arvind Kejriwal, the current Chief Minister of Delhi, learned it the hard way. The motormouth Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party were routed in the recent general elections where forget winning a Lok Sabha seat in Delhi, his party did not even rank second in 5 of the 7 seats it contested whereas it’s performance in other states was so dismal that if Kejriwal again thinks of pitting against Modi, it would be a bigger tragedy than Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In a span of three years, Delhi CM has gone from calling Modi a “coward and a psychopath” to agreeing with him on everything now. Kejriwal has faith that Modi is the man to steer the economy of the country.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader, clearly stung by the harsh defeats has gone to the crisis management mode in recent months as the assembly elections are on the cards in the capital city and it looks like he intends to play safe. An attack that seems personal allows the opponent to play the victim card. This is where the opposition often fails and Kejriwal’s attacks on Modi backfired because they seemed personal and it looks like he is making amends to it now. He supported the abrogation of article 370 the moment it was announced and lauded the Prime Minister too.
The West Bengal CM has been known to be a repeat offender when it comes to making snide and often derogatory remarks, she has always taken things personal with the Prime Minister and that can be inferred from her venomous statements. “How can you, who has not shown any respect to your own mother, your wife, teach us how to respect our country? A prime minister like this can never be trusted with the country,” Banerjee had said at an election rally at Heria in East Midnapore district earlier this year, clearly showing her deranged sense of belief. Continuing her attack on the prime minister, Mamata Banerjee said, “how would PM Modi take care of Indians if he could not take care of his wife”.
Embroiled in her hatred for the country’s chosen leader she went on the record saying “Don’t consider Modi as country’s PM.” The arrogant Didi went one step further when during the time of national mourning after the Pulwama terrorist attacks, she targeted PM Modi saying “Despite knowing that a militant attack was about to take place, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not try to prevent it in Pulwama.” If only Didi knew that there was a time and place for taking political mileage out of things, she would not have said it.
Despite her rants against Modi, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool party lost 16 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, while the BJP’s vote-share increased seven times — from 6.14% to 40.25% in just a decade. The change in fortunes in Lok Sabha election gives a clear indication about the upcoming storm in assembly elections in the state where Modi-led BJP is surely set to make major dents and possibly emerge as the biggest party. What Mamata did to the Left in 2009, it seems like Modi is set to repeat that but this time it would be Didi on the receiving end, all but nothing, exactly 10 years later.
Samajwadi Party’s (SP) scion Akhilesh Yadav has had a rather tumultuous hate-hate relationship with PM Modi. Just like his Delhi counterpart Kejriwal, he has always turned his fight against Modi rather than focusing on issue-related topics and went on the offence only targeting and belittling him in his election campaigns. To keep Modi at bay, he even shook hands with his long-drawn political enemy Mayawati in 2019 elections, which took the whole political circuit by surprise. The hatred for Modi had brought the staunchest of enemies together.
Once a CM of the state, Akhilesh Yadav is looking for survival in the state now where it seems he has lost all his political playground, as the SP has been reduced to 5 seats in the state. Whether it is mocking the patriotism of the people of Gujarat or putting a question mark on the army’s valiant surgical and airstrikes, Akhilesh Yadav deliberately made every possible effort to provoke PM Modi. The way Akhilesh opposed the abrogation of Article 370, it is clear that the coming days are going to be tough for the Yadav family and his party. If he continues to tread on this path, SP could soon cease to exist and only be found in the history books.
Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu repeated the same mistake in his greed for power. Just like he had backstabbed his father-in-law NT Rama Rao, one of Andhra Pradesh’s most popular chief ministers, Chandrababu Naidu left NDA hanging in the middle by bailing out of their alliance and also brought a no-confidence motion against BJP in the Parliament. Naidu hurled all kinds of abuses on PM Modi and like Mamata, he targeted him and his wife saying “Though he is married, he ignored his wife and did not even give her a divorce.” making things ugly between the two leaders. He left no stone unturned to embarrass him but in this blind protest, he forgot that a challenger like YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was waiting in the wings. Babu’s negative campaign spelt doom for his party who crushingly lost both Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
The case-studies above, if nothing proves one thing that the Indian-voters recognize sincerity and the hate-filled, negative campaigns undertaken by the insipid and insecure opposition against Modi are bound to fail. It’s high time that these politicians take a detour of their regular and drab political campaigns where ‘demonising’ PM has become the new fad. Instead, they should focus on the people’s issues and genuinely work on raising them in the parliament and streets and maybe earn few brownie points of the voters, if not the actual votes.