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Confident Approach

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Even as the attention of the media and public has been on the happenings in the INDI Alliance, with significant desertions taking place almost every day, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s National Council Meet in New Delhi single-mindedly worked on charting the course for the ‘next hundred days’. It has become clear that the ideological Hindutva pitch will be furthered by the euphoria developed around the Ramjanmabhoomi Temple. The effort to establish ‘Ram Rajya’ will be continued in PM Modi’s ‘third term’. The concept of Ram Rajya may mean different things to different folk, but civilisationally everybody knows what it is.

Targeting 400 seats in the Lok Sabha for the NDA is going beyond just winning a comfortable majority. It is intended to put the opposition on the back foot in its own strongholds. Also, to extend the majority in the Rajya Sabha to a crucially significant level. PM Modi has already defined who the target voters would be, changing the traditional perspective based on caste, region, religion, etc. He has spent considerable time during his two terms on connecting with potential first time voters for the coming contest, with ‘Mann ki Baat’, ‘Pariksha Pay Charcha’, etc. The effort should pay off enough to achieve the required number of seats.

The party has always had a strong organisational base, which has been greatly enhanced in the past ten years. In contrast to the ‘yatra’ style attempt to grab people’s attention being adopted by Rahul Gandhi, the BJP has the wherewithal to connect with individual voters in its catchment area. It has also launched its own yatras to put before the people its targeted welfare policies. It is hoped that the beneficiaries will feel a personal connectedness with the campaign.

The BJP meet also emphasised the ‘successful’ double-engine model that is strengthened by state level leaders, particularly the likes of UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. They have pursued an aggressive and unapologetic brand of the party’s ideology much favoured by the policy makers and the grassroots cadre. This also explains Uttarakhand’s ‘UCC’ and adoption of the ‘bulldozer’ approach.

How effective this will be against the ‘inflation, unemployment, caste census, intolerance’ accusations of the opposition remains to be seen. The manner in which agitations like that for MSP are handled is also crucial and must have been discussed behind closed doors at the meet. At the present, however, the party seems to be coasting towards a comfortable win.