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Morale Booster

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If a contest is about morale, Prime Minister Modi’s show in Varanasi over the past two days, which culminated in filing of his nomination in the company of the top NDA leadership, must have done wonders for the BJP’s cadre and support base. It will also have given a hint to his detractors that there exists a strong undercurrent in many parts of the country for his return to the top job. Even before this, various pollsters have been pointing out that the likelihood is strong for an NDA victory. It could not just cross the simple majority line, but even go beyond.
The Varanasi event, for it cannot be called anything else, is also expected to have a direct impact on polling in Eastern UP. The voters who like to be on the winning side will have read the signs. Supporters of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance must be quite jittery. There is bound to be a psychological impact even in other parts of the country that are going to the polls, particularly in the fourth phase. There is also no gainsaying what other kinds of promotional events the well-oiled BJP machinery is likely to come up with in the coming days.
In contrast, the opposition has not been able to either project ideological unity, or purpose. It is almost like what the PM says – they are contesting for the post of Leader of the Opposition. Even in the case of the Congress, estimates of seats it is likely to gain have come down to not much above its present number. The general consensus anyway is that the regional parties will, together, have a number larger than the Congress. The real challenge would be how the opposition comes together on important issues, even if it is not about who becomes Prime Minister. This is important for the nation as an alternative is always important in a democracy. It has been seen in the past five years that the actual task of the opposition was, more often than not, carried out by the media, which is not their job.
The opposition’s problem, not just in India but in many democracies, has been what is described as ‘regressive socialism’, an out of date concept of governance that does not meet present day requirements. This has led to a ‘khichdi’ of extremist elements of every kind including the genuine liberals who habitually are wary of organisations like those on the right. The liberals have lost themselves in the process. Hopefully, from the present mish-mash, something superior will emerge, more capable of projecting the diversity of a nation like India. It will necessarily require acceptance, also, of what the BJP represents.