New Delhi: “Nun roti khayenge, Modi ji ko jitayege” (even if we have to eat chapati with salt, we will vote for Modi) said lyrics of a Bhojpuri song with over 75 lakh hits on popular video sharing site Youtube. And if anyone had any doubt why to vote for Modi, the lyrics said because “they were proud of surgical strike” against Pakistan.
In 2019 Lok Sabha campaign, Narendra Modi build a successful narrative around muscular nationalism to strike a cord with the voters as the protector of the nation and someone who is capable of taking hard decisions like launching air strike across the line of control (LoC).
The narrative seems to have worked, giving Mr Modi an unprecedented mandate for second time in a row.
The 2014 campaign by Mr Modi was all about “Achhe Din” which promised to fast track economic growth and bring its fruits to all by ending the corruption and back money. Mr Modi was hailed as India’s own Lee Kuan Yew.
But decision like demonetisation, a faulty GST, lack of other major reforms and growing protectionism globally put a spoke in wheels of India’s GDP growth.
GDP slowed down in every quarter in 2018-19, from 8 per cent in the first quarter, to 7 per cent in second and then falling to 6.6 per cent in the third quarter.
With economic growth slowing down to five years low, job creation also at multi-years low, farmers distress and inflation threatening to inch up in run up to campaign for Lok Sabha, Mr Modi took out nationalism, national interest and Hindu savior hat to pull votes.
The air strike by Indian Air Force on terrorists camp at Balakot inside Pakistan on February 26 in retaliation of a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in which killed 40 jawans in Pulwama and surgical strike before that by Indian army; helped Mr Modi to solidify his image of hard-line nationalist and a Hindu Messiah. Soon the campaign was about “Modiji ki sena” striking a fear in the minds of terrorists and “our nuclear bombs are not for Diwali”.