Modi works his magic in Telangana, puts BJP on a firm footing for state, LS polls
Hyderabad: Amid the cacophony of a feverish and frenzied campaign that witnessed charges and counter-charges flying freely from all sides heaping abuse on opponents practically became the order of the day and ramped-up rhetoric ruled public meetings and roadshows across Telangana Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the lone champion to set the standards on how to conduct electioneering and still get the point across.
Modi, who addressed six public meetings heli-hopping from one constituency to another, capped off this three-day campaign for the BJP for the November 30 Assembly elections with a roadshow in Hyderabad. He not only appeared to have injected the state party unit with a much-needed dose of energy but also firmly laid the groundwork for BJP’s next big campaign, that of preparing the party and the people for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The Prime Minister, while not taking his eyes on the immediate prize of Telangana for the BJP, made sure in every speech to talk about the need for the state to have a ‘double-engine sarkar’.
His pitch was simple enough: Elect BJP in Telangana and as the BJP is all set to return to power at the Centre in the 2024 elections, the state will greatly benefit from the additional push it can get from the Centre if it has the same party in power as the one at the Centre.
Modi also repeatedly attacked the Congress and talked about how Congress governments in other states failed the people, while seemingly limiting his criticism of BRS to how the party betrayed the people of Telangana, thereby, making the regional party as an entity restricted to just the state.
While this appeared for the most part as mere rhetoric, what Modi did was repeatedly reiterate that as far as he was concerned, and by corollary as far as people of Telangana are concerned, BRS is nothing more than a ‘local’ regional party and that the next political battle to be fought in the state would be between the BJP and the Congress.
He also reminded people of how the BRS and its leaders constantly attacked him, and how, despite efforts by BRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, the party from Telangana could not become part of the NDA grouping as he, Modi, refused to have any truck with BRS as this was not the wish of the people of Telangana.
By doing so, Modi also declared that for the BJP, what mattered most was what the people of the state wanted and that the BJP had no hesitation in rejecting alliance proposals from a party, which, it says is inimical to the people of Telangana.
Although Modi did indulge in some very trenchant criticism of Chandrashekar Rao, for large parts, he did not make it personal, and even when he appeared to do so as was the case on Monday when he said “KCR is a slave of superstition,” he framed it as a matter of public importance and not of a personal nature.
And in doing so, Modi, not only appeared to have created much-needed space for the state BJP, which was struggling in a high-stakes joust between the BRS and Congress, but also tried to send the message across that the BJP cannot be written off, and could still pull off an unexpected upset, and if not that, grow into a force that will put the party on a good footing for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.