Karnataka, Modi’s next target

Yatindra Bhatnagar

Ever since Narendra Modi took charge of national politics in India and succeeded in getting a huge majority for his Bharatiya Janata Party in Lok Sabha to form the government four years back, he has been conquering new grounds, in the country and abroad. With his frequent visits outside India he has charmed his hosts, inspired the Indian diaspora and forged relations to benefit the country. He is now an acknowledged world leader, whatever puny leaders in India might say or whine about.  

Domestically, he has been expanding the reach of his party (BJP) beyond the conventional sphere of influence. Under his inspiring leadership, the ceaseless work of BJP president Amit Shah, and the ever growing band of regional leaders and selfless workers have enabled the party to expand exponentially. The successes BJP has achieved, barring isolated instances of losing some seats here and there, is phenomenal. BJP has been capturing citadels of the Congress Party regularly.

With the recent state Assembly elections in the North-east,  BJP has done something unprecedented – demolishing the Communist Party (Marxist) stronghold of Tripura that had defied it for 25 years.

Tripura gave an amazing victory to BJP - 43 seats out of 60 – and would see a new Chief Minister and hopefully a new era of rapid growth that was stunted during the past decades. Modi’s main platform is for ‘development,’ and that has inspired and assured people and they are flocking to BJP. In addition, the Modi party’s record of clean government and despite being branded a ‘communal organization’ its slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (development for all) has caught on.

There is no stopping the party in its social and economic progress for all – the internationally acclaimed growth of 7.2% in GDP speaks for itself.

The steps Modi government has taken to root out corruption is well known. Some banking fraud of huge proportions are being tackled and corrective steps taken speedily cannot be brushed aside. Many ills the party has inherited from Congress rule. The latest Nirav Modi-Choksi scandal in collusion with the staffers of Punjab National Bank and another with Oriental Bank are legacy of the past that have been unearthed now.

Naturally, the steps Modi government has taken to bring about a fair change and quick development has spurred and inspired the common people and that showed in ample measure in the North-Eastern states elections. BJP has registered a major showing in all the states and has, with its allies, succeeded in forming governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya, despite what Rahul Gandhi says.

Own majority, majority with allies, and getting others to join or support in the formation of a government is a common and well known political game. The Congress, once master of this strategy, is now miserably failing in their own game, and whining. Wow!

The next on the radar of BJP strategists are the southern states, the first being Karnataka. That state is yearning for a change with corrupt and inefficient Congress government failing on all fronts.  Crime, corruption and social ills have presented an ugly picture for the people and BJP is bound to change all that in the next elections due in about three months.

That is the big milestone Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is aiming to cross and, with the current indications, seems to be assured of success. Already Modi has set a record of sorts – the number of states his party has captured is far more than what Indira Gandhi had in the heydays of her dynastic rule.  She had 18 and BJP already has 21 out of 29 states.

And that is a great achievement! The trend is for Congress to keep losing and the BJP of keep gaining. Modi had raised and regularly repeats the slogan of Congress-mukt Bharat (Congress-free India.)

Who knows he might succeed in just a couple years or at least make substantial inroads in the remaining states that are still with the opposition though have not allowed even the Congress to enter for decades. The scenario in Deep South is fast changing and the wind with Saffron smell is pervading all over.