If the mindset and mentality of a loser seeps into your psyche; you are bound to lose even real-life battles. Not only will you lose battles, you will also lose respect. Ordinary human beings already lead lives of struggle where moments of joy and satisfaction are often eclipsed by disappointments and distress. They don’t like listening to politicians whining, cribbing and complaining all the time. They yearn for a positive vision by a politician or leader for a future where the ordinary family is in a better place in material terms. If you as a politician know only how to whine and offer no positive or inspiring vision for a better future, you will keep losing elections.
Back in 2014, Narendra Modi did not just stop at criticising the “Shehazada” Rahul Gandhi and the UPA regime, but also offered a blueprint to voters with specific examples of how he will implement better policies. He won. Since then, all that Rahul Gandhi has done is to criticise endlessly. Sure it is the basic job of an opposition leader to criticise. But you have to offer something more to the voter. Even worse, every time there is some praise for a policy being successfully implemented by the Modi regime, supporters of Rahul Gandhi keep parroting that Modi has merely copied and taken credit for something “which the Congress started”.
Hours before this was written, the Modi government announced that it is conferring the Bharat Ratna posthumously to Karpoori Thakur. Who was he? Long before Mandal became fashionable, Thakur was an extremely backward class leader who served twice as the chief minister of Bihar. His second stint was in the aftermath of the Emergency when young leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan were cutting their teeth as political leaders with a bright future. Karpoori Thakur was a mentor to all of them. It happens to be his birth centenary this year.
Now everyone knows two things: first, that caste plays a big role in Bihar elections. Second, the BJP is on a weak wicket in Bihar because of caste equations. But this move to reach out to backward castes is symbolically very significant and there is little doubt the BJP will reap dividends. What has been the reaction of opposition leaders? Abuse the Modi regime for using the name of a backward caste leader for benefits in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. It is such a silly and childish accusation. Why would the Modi government not do everything it can to win in 2024, including trying to appropriate the legacy of a backward caste leader?
Exactly the same reasons were given by top Congress leaders and others for boycotting the consecration ceremony of the idol of Lord Ram at Ayodhya on January 22. Narendra Modi was accused of using the pious ceremony as a marketing event to promote himself. The BJP was accused of using the ceremony to garner votes in the name of Lord Ram. Let’s agree for argument’s sake with the ridiculous premise that the spirituality and “Hindu ness” that Modi habitually displays is fake. As mentioned earlier, he is a political leader who is leading a political party, and it is his job to ensure that the BJP wins yet again in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The fact is: the BJP has been strategically reaching out to voters through many such symbolic gestures. Dalits and tribals still vote in large numbers for the Congress. So, the BJP first anointed a Dalit Ram Nath Kovind as the President ad then made a tribal Draupadi Murmu the president. It is a smart party. Why would voters care a damn if all you do as an opposition in response is crib and whine? Many voters are asking: what stopped you from doing what the BJP is doing when you were in power?
This is not confined to politics alone; it relates to livelihood issues that affect hundreds of millions. Take two examples. First the Jan Dhan scheme that enabled poor Indians to open zero balance bank accounts. When the scheme was launched in 2014, Congress leaders mocked the scheme saying this is a mockery of the poor since bank accounts are useless for them. Today, it is acknowledged world-wide as a huge success: more than 50 crore accounts and more than Rs 2 Lakh crores in deposits.
When people realised it was becoming a success, what did Congress leaders do? They accused Modi of being a copycat since Indira Gandhi had first thought of the banking needs of the poor by nationalising banks in 1969. When the Modi regime launched the UPI based digital payments regime in 2016, top Congress leader P. Chidambaram publicly ridiculed it in Parliament. When digital payments became monster phenomenal global success story, what do Congress leaders do? They claim Modi has merely copied what the UPA regime had started in 2010?
As many voters in north India are asking Congress leaders: Aise Kaise Chalega ?
(Author has been a media professional for over 3 decades. He is now Executive Director, C Voter Foundation. Views are Personal)