What price strategery?

Serious question: Just what is the belief that the BJP is the master of the political strategy based on? Certainly not recent activities south of the Vindhyas and in Gujarat.

Kerala was doing its thing when the RSS/BJP combine decided to stir things up in the Kannur/Kasargode region. When that particular kitchen became too hot for comfort the party apparatus pulled out its default stunt — the yatra — and ended up with the dampest of damp squibs. So much so that in order to get some media attention, Amit Shah had to transplant the Kerala yatra to New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu was minding its own business, scratching its head over the EPS-OPS soap opera (my wife, who overheard me discussing it on phone with a journalist contact in TN, asked me when the call was done what I was talking about and whether some new form of UPS had hit the market). Which is when the TN wing of the BJP decided to do its nut over some dialogues in the Vijay-starrer Mersal, and then shoot itself in the other foot with gratuitous communal gaslighting by raking up the “explosive fact” that Vijay has a Christian middle name. (FWIW, Vijay’s full name is Vijay Joseph  Chandrasekhar, son of film producer SA Chandrasekhar and Shobha Chandrasekhar. In the same movie, the antagonist is one SJ Surya — whose middle name is ‘Justin’. So?).

Never known for discarding a bad hand of cards, the BJP then went one better with its argument (amplified on TV by the likes of NC Shaina) that the movie misrepresented some facts and might deceive the public — the TN public, of course, being world famous for going to the movie theaters to get its news, and turning to the newspapers for entertainment. I mean, which part of “This is a work of fiction and no characters or incidents…” needs explaining?

Thanks to that prime piece of idiocy, even those who were distanced from politics have now started to stand up and speak out, and the chorus of anger is building.

And now, drumroll, Gujarat. Where the court has just issued a non-bailable warrant against Patidar leader Hardik Patel for something dating back to 2015, which had been conveniently ignored all this while. So why now? Because the BJP was assiduously wooing the Patidars back to its fold; it tried persuasion, it used money (as I mentioned in the earlier post on Gujarat); it offered the same Hardik Patel a sop when the state government unilaterally withdrew a case it had filed against him…

And when none of that worked, it goes back to the stick. With this result: The Patidars were yet to definitively decide who to back, and how, in the upcoming election. With this action against Hardik Patel, the BJP has managed to push them off the fence. Neat.

Seriously, where is this reputation of the BJP as master political strategists coming from?


4 thoughts on “What price strategery?

        • Interesting question. I’m looking forward to see it playing out, too. Huge mandate reversals depend on big causes. The Hindu sentiment resulted in NDA 1, but the general feeling that India was Shining only for the rich and upper middle class toppled them. The economy was doing ok, the public felt it, so UPA got an extension. It is not that the economy tumbled, but the narrative of policy paralysis + corruption + plus a messiah with a dream toppled UPA2. And each time, it was the middle- and lower-middle plus the poor plus women plus youth, turning out in numbers, that swung things. Today one narrative is losing its sheen a little, but a coherent alternate narrative is yet to emerge. The BJP has very little hope of making a difference with development people can feel in the year and a half that remains, so the real key is whether a south pole will emerge. Gujarat won’t answer that, but unless it is a blowout win, it will start the process. 2018 will be key.

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