The Congress's political ploy is amazing. Just after its vice-president Rahul Gandhi suggested at the CII event on Thursday that he is not eager for the prime minister's post and his media-born competitor Narendra Modi hinted at becoming the PM and repay the country's debt, the Congress launched a scathing attack on the Gujarat chief minister.
The latest attack whereby the Congress compared Modi with yamraj, the Lord of Death, comes close to the ‘Merchant of Death' tag that it had put on the BJP leader ahead of the 2007 Gujarat elections. We all know what had happened in 2007 after the Congress targeted Modi on those lines of polarization. It was routed.
Congress minister Manish Tewari expressed fear that Modi as the prime minister would mean disastrous consequences for the country for it feels that he is an anti-thesis to the idea of India and would encourage divisive politics across the country. Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi mocked that Rahul Gandhi's idea of an avatar coming on a horse as the nation's saviour didn't suit Modi's image as the latter would be riding a buffalo (signifying the Yama)
Why Congress doesn't learn from history?
The Congress, to say in a nutshell, is fooling the people of India by uttering these words. The party has nothing to slow down Modi, the man of the moment in Indian politics, and is desperately falling back on the communal card to demonise the man. But communalism, whether soft or hard, can not be used effectively to defeat Modi. The reason is simple. The leader's political background is rooted in the Hindutva brand which essentially speaks about politics of polarization. The Congress, itself being circumscribed by a secular credential, can not expect to go overboard to accuse Modi as a communal politician. The more it will do so, the more strength Modi will gain. The 2007 Gujarat election debacle should have taught it the lesson by now.
Transformed Modi needs a better opponent
But there is another reason which will make Modi more invincible against the Congress's futile communal attacks. And that is Modi's smart transformation from a right-wing politician into a successful administrator. This is a very very important factor which all anti-Modi thinkers should keep in mind while charting a strategy to undermine him. We have seen in the recent Wharton episode how cancelling of Modi's participation led to a major backlash.
It doesn't matter which ideology attacks Modi today but the onslaught must be built on a basis which the common people find acceptable. The man's successive mandates have overshadowed the Gujarat riots to a big extent. For a common person in Gujarat, living a hard life in 2013 is more important than thinking about the human rights violation of 2002. That is for the court and rights watching authorities to decide. The theory ‘Modi means slaughtering the minority' is getting increasingly outdated. The Congress is missing this point again and again.
Congress should do more homework before taking on Modi
The Congress, instead of taking Modi in a self-defeating battle, should challenge him in a more meaningful way. It is surprising to see that the age-old party, which had once ruled each and every nook of the country, is feeling nervous to see the rise of a regional leader. The BJP is still a geographically limited force in this country and Modi is yet to try his hands outside Gujarat. This means that the saffron power has to cover some distance yet to establish its credibility as an alternate power centre to the Congress.
The latter, on the other hand, has been leading the ruling coalition at the Centre for almost a decade now and has a better geographical presence across the country compared to the BJP. Hence, one wonders what makes the party panic by hearing the name of Modi as the future PM and start attacking him without any plan and process. If it indeed wants to attack Modi, it should use geography as a weapon and not communalism.
Saying Modi will start riots across the country is absurd
The idea of India won't make a repetition of 2002 possible across the country and that is obvious for any person who follows the country's socio-political life. It seems Tiwari, although stresses the idea of India but doesn't know what it actually means in reality. It is a big paradox that the Congress, which had influenced and nurtured the idea of India more than anybody else in the nation's history, is itself making an erroneous judgment on the issue and instead adding it a communal colour to derail a leader who has come a long way since 2002.
This strategy won't pay off. It's better the party starts thinking again.