Opposition loses its narrative of issues related to the common man.


New Delhi: In what is being seen as a result of BJP’s well-crafted strategy, the Opposition seems to have lost the narrative that it earlier built around the issues such as price rise, unemployment and farmers’ problems in the five states where assembly elections are underway. The saffron party pushed Hindutva and Ram as its election agenda in West Bengal in such a way that TMC chief Mamata Banerjee also forgot to raise the issues related to the common man.

In a calculated move, the BJP chose to push different issues in Assam. In some parts of Assam, the party was seen raising the issues like CAA, NRC and love jihad instead of touching upon BJP government’s achievements. With an objective of increasing its vote base in Kerala, the BJP pushed religious issues, adding to the problems of Congress in the southern state. The BJP-led alliance does not have any problem in Puducherry, while the saffron party is sparing no efforts to stop the DMK from coming to power in Tamil Nadu. BJP stalwarts, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, are campaigning in Tamil Nadu. Even the decision to give Dada Saheb Phalke award to Rajinikanth is also being seen as part of BJP’s strategy to woo the voters in Tamil Nadu.

BJP is said to have surprised political observers in Bengal. The scene is said to have changed in Bengal after two phases of voting.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fell into the trap of BJP’s agenda of Hindutva and Ram. As a result of this, Mamata changed her political narrative from common man’s issues to religious ones. She gave the slogan “Khela Hobe”, which suited BJP’s strategy. After this, the BJP coined a slogan “Poribortan Hobe” in a bid to create a wave in the state. Mamata Banerjee’s strategist Prashant Kishor gave her the advice to visit temples and cite her gotra to counter BJP’s Hindutva agenda. This gave BJP the much-awaited chance to be more aggressive on Hindutva.

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee wrote letters to Opposition parties, urging them to be united against what she called BJP’s “anti-democratic” move. It was seen as something that reflected Mamata Banerjee’s “fear of imminent defeat” in Nandigram in particular and in Bengal in general. Secondly, her allegation that BJP is an outsider, which has brought goons from UP, Bihar and Rajasthan, is also seen as her getting nervous at the prospect of “electoral defeat”.

Political analysts believe that Prashant Kishor has tried to replicate the Bihar strategy of 2015 in Bengal. There is no denying that the image of BJP has emerged as nationalist due to several decisions that the Modi government took over the last six years. Hindu voters are also said to be happy with the BJP after the resolution of the Ram Mandir issue.

Moreover, the BJP has pushed local leaders like Suvendu Adhikari, Dilip Ghosh to lead from the front. As a result of this, Mamata Banerjee’s sympathy card is said to be losing its steam. Banerjee does not have any issue to counter BJP’s Hindutva agenda.

However, the BJP is not appearing that enthusiastic after the two phases of polling in Assam. But many believe that the party and its allies will be able to manage the majority at the end of the election. BJP’s hope is pinned on Himanta Biswa Sarma’s strategy and the agenda of Hindutva. That the Opposition does not have a face in Assam may also benefit BJP.

At the same time, BJP heavyweights including PM Modi have campaigned aggressively in Kerala, giving Congress anxious moments. There is hardly any report that suggests a Congress victory in Kerala, though Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are leaving no stone unturned to ensure Congress’ victory in this southern state. What is being said is that BJP’s gain in Kerala will be Congress’ loss.