Asian Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 29 May 2012. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to play a role at the national level as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate could consolidate the Congress’ support base among minorities and dalits.
“Minorities had voted for us decisively in the 2009 Lok Sabha election after the BJP-led NDA projected L.K. Advani as the prime ministerial candidate,” Congress insiders pointed out.
Mr Modi, who has not emerged as a vote-catcher outside Gujarat, created more enemies within his own BJP, they said, and predicted that “Modi projection” could begin the process of the NDA’s disintegration.
“If the Janata Dal (U) could be the first one to desert the NDA, prospective allies like the BJD, Trinamul Congress and the TDP will not ally with the BJP so long as Modi remains its face,” they said.
Mr Modi had never won the Gujarat Assembly polls on the development agenda, they said. In 2007, he had coined the slogan of “Hum paanch, hamare pachhis,” “Miyan Musharraf (former Pakistan President)”, and in 2007, he had built up the campaign on “Maut ka Saudagar”.
An NDA leader said Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee could have retained power in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections had he succeeded in removing Mr Modi from the Gujarat chief ministership after the communal riots.
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, the NC and the DMK had left the NDA only after the riots. The BSP, which had moved closer to the BJP in UP, also started distancing itself from the saffron party.
The Congress insiders feel Mr Modi is also playing a game with the Shiv Sena, the oldest ideological ally of the saffron party.
He is getting closer to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray. He invited him to Gujarat and showered praise on him. Mr Bal Thackeray knows the BJP mindset very well and play his cards accordingly, they said.