So Modi wave and all that. I was growing sick and tired of all the same speeches, rhetoric, all that jazz.
And then they admitted Muthalik into the BJP.
Everyone went apeshit then. Seemed like a spectacular return to form for the BJP after glimmers of genius. The familiar sinking feeling came back.
Thankfully the central leadership had the good sense to expel him soon after.
That short while of sinking feeling reminds me of how far the BJP has come as a party. They weren’t anything like this even in 2012. Now, it’s like that old suit of armor has been dusted and oiled and is now worn by someone who fits in it well and looks totally badass. Nah, just needed an excuse to link to this album here.
So the BJP has this habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They don’t listen to their core voters. And even if they do, they have their own agendas and infighting and totally mess everything up. Always. You can attribute the 2009 loss to rigged EVMs and all that, but seriously, the whole campaign felt very half-hearted, and stout supporters were only hoping against hope that the NDA wins. There was so much that could have been done, but Advani totally hammed it. Totally.
There was this theory floating around that the Karnataka unit is staunchly loyal to Advani and wants to sabotage Modi’s PM ambitions. Which is why Muthalik was given a ticket. I’m not very surprised. It has always, always felt like the BJP messes up on purpose. The UPA gives enough and more reasons to be targeted, but the BJP always, always puts up a half-hearted attempt and does all the wrong things, and it usually ends in the UPA getting its way. It is just insane how that used to work.
When I hark back to the past few months since campaigning has started, there hasn’t been one slip-up. Sure, Modi fails in history sometimes, but no one has completely dropped the ball on any issue. They are going hammer and tongs at national security, farmer suicides, corruption, all of that stuff. If you notice, Modi has managed to successfully change the agenda from Hindutva and all that Advani rhetoric to development. He gives memorable one-liners and soundbytes in his speeches. He doesn’t slip up and leave his spokespersons grasping at straws on primetime talk shows. Neither does he let anyone else step out of line. And the coverage of issues has been exemplary.
It wasn’t always like this.
Looking back, the BJP prior to 2012 seems to have been a motley crew of people with good credentials and abilities, who either drop the ball big time or if they are of the mould of Arun Shourie, get things right but have no real power to get anything done. Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley seemed more suited to preventing Parliament from functioning and other acts of full-on dramabaazi, some grandstanding speeches in Parliament which we BJP supporters consoled ourselves with, but nothing of any real value. It was really annoying for those of us who wanted a right-wing alternative to the Congress. We knew the NDA would deliver good governance, but had absolutely nothing to back it up with. It always felt like either the Congress was up to some mischief making the BJP look bad, or the BJP crawled when they were asked to bend. Oh, and the media. They were so hostile. They still are, but they are being handled deftly and not being allowed to run away with the ball, thanks to a good choice of spokespeople so far.
When Subramanian Swamy started tweeting, in 2011, I think, most of us followed him for the entertainment. Then it turned out, he knew exactly what we wanted and played to the gallery. Our gallery. Educated, middle-class, urban, young voters. He didn’t stop at just rhetoric. He walked the talk. For the first time we saw someone take on the UPA. And achieve success. He spoke publicly, repeatedly about his concerns about Sonia Gandhi. He actually produced facts and affidavits. He made these things available to each of us, put it in simple language that you couldn’t say you didn’t follow what was going on. He was accessible as hell. He listened to us. He minced no words criticizing the NDA. And he said all those things that we had problems with the NDA about. And he was no newbie. He was one BAMF during the Emergency as well.
For the first time, it felt like my demographic had a chance, had a voice that wouldn’t not get heard. We were kind of scared, and surprised. He’s got to be making all this shit up, we’d think. But no, he’d produce affidavits, court orders, put ministers in jail. The media didn’t give him all that much coverage. He didn’t care. He spoke in colleges. He spoke in Indian associations abroad. The videos would find their way on to Youtube. And he tweeted. We heard him loud and clear.
Of course, his stance on Section 377 is godforsakenly insane. And his fanclub is retarded these days, and given the volume of his fans, it was inevitable. He plays up the drama significantly as well, and says senile things.
Irrespective, he has galvanized and filled young urban voters with confidence. We are more politically involved than before.
He however doesn’t have much power in the BJP. But Modi does. Modi doesn’t care what others say, or have considerations of political incorrectness that makes BJP leaders stop short of saying things like they are. We lap it up. We love it. We like having the UPA called out for their failings, in full measure. We like the solutions that have been proposed. We like the deft handling of the media. We like the spokespeople who are allowed to be sharp and on the offensive instead of on the backfoot as used to be the norm. It feels refreshing. Especially since the agenda of campaigns is no longer set by the Congress.
There’s a long way to go for the elections. Even if the NDA wins, I am skeptical about how this united front and seamless working of the party will stand after. Still, it’s refreshing to see some real opposition from a party that, like us, wants to grab opportunities and run with them, instead of pretending to try and failing. ‘Do you want to go through the same troubles as your parents did?’, Modi likes to ask. The answer, as always, is a resounding No. Which is why we’ve always voted Lotus. It’s just great that this time ’round, we feel like our votes are deserved.