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Although it is a given that the primary issue for the Lok Sabha elections is the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, there is a basic but essential role that the BJP cadre and organisation has to play. Despite the support Modi commands, the gaps have to be filled in by the candidates in each constituency, local legislators and party leaders. It is necessary for the backroom boys to present the NDA Government’s achievements in a concise and credible manner based on the nature of each constituency. Where the state governments also belong to the BJP, their performance also matters. And, of course, local politics – particularly within the party units – needs to be handled with dexterity.
This applies to Uttarakhand as well. Voters need to be informed about how well the policies of the Centre have been implemented, and what initiatives were taken at the state level for good governance. Data should be compiled and presented regarding all the flagship schemes of the Modi Government that can be verified and become relatable. One of the latest, for instance, the Atal Ayushman Yojana alone can be a game-changer if its performance has been anywhere near envisaged. The government should realise that, if left to the media, only the bad experiences will be reported as these constitute news. This could leave an incorrect perception in the voters’ minds. Is it so hard for BJP campaigners to have these facts at their fingertips? The same goes for all the other schemes such as construction of toilets, providing LPG connections, etc. The Congress, depend upon it, will focus on failures, even if these are few and far between. When the government does bother to provide figures, these are more like information department handouts, boring and lengthy, and certainly not targeted at specific audiences. There is possibly over-dependence on the Modi magic, which could cost precious votes.
If there is any hope for the Congress, it is not just through attacking the Modi persona. Experience thus far shows that he has remained ahead of the curve by continuing to highlight his narrative, such as India’s security, the battle against corruption, etc. Perhaps, the failings of local governments, if any, could achieve greater traction; and, of course, by exploiting the rivalries within the BJP. On the Pauri seat, for instance, the divided loyalties of the Khanduri and Bahuguna families could be exploited. However, it is a two-way street and the amount of hard work put in will matter.