NEW DELHI: While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to build emotional connect with voters for romping home in the Gujarat assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image as a “global leader of repute” is, undoubtedly, a shot in the arm for the ruling party in the state. The star campaigners of the saffron party in Gujarat are hard selling the fact that PM Modi has enhanced India’s position in the world since 2014. A survey further cementing PM Modi’s stature as an international leader came as a godsend for the BJP which is seeking to surpass all previous records of victory in the Gujarat polls.
According to the survey, PM Modi has topped the list of top global leaders with an approval rating of 77%. PM Modi is followed by Australian PM Anthony Albanese with 56% and US President Joe Biden with 41% at the second and third spot respectively. The survey has been done by Morning Consult Political Intelligence Group. The swiftness with which the BJP posted the survey on its official twitter handle suggests its eagerness to capitalise on Narendra Modi’s image “as a global stalwart”.
Sharing the list released by the survey agency, BJP’s carefully crafted tweet message reads: Yet again PM Shri Narendra Modi tops the global podium. Approval ratings of PM Modi are the highest among all major world leaders. PM Modi tops the list of most popular global leaders with 77% approval ratings.”
“India’s independent foreign policy under the leadership of PM Modi, despite immense pressure from various western quarters including the US, is being appreciated by the voters even down to the village level,” the diplomats, who are receiving feedback from their contacts in Gujarat, told The Sunday Guardian. “Diplomatic officials are supposed to keep a tab over the foreign policy issues being referred to and discussed during the election campaign in Gujarat or any other state,” say sources. In fact, scores of NRIs, especially Gujaratis, from across the world are said to be visiting rural and urban pockets of the state, campaigning in favour of the BJP. These NRIs are explaining to the villagers how PM Modi is a grand and respectable leader in various other countries, and how India’s position has been enhanced by virtue of his hard work and statesmanship, sources said.
It may be recalled that while addressing Pravasi Gujarati Parv 2022 recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had appealed to NRIs from Gujarat to “become ambassador for BJP ‘’ and go to every village to help the BJP win the upcoming Assembly elections. It was at an event held in Ahmedabad by AAIANA (Association of Indian Americans in North America) that Shah had set the narrative for the BJP to showcase PM Modi’s aggressive and balanced moves on the foreign policy front during the elections. He said, “Modi brought India to fifth largest economy displacing England and thus India has shown the world that we have become a bigger economy than the country that ruled us for 150 years with pride.” “These words are still creating an impact among the voters in Gujarat, with many of them speaking highly of PM Modi’s achievements on the foreign and diplomatic front,” say sources.
BJP’s star campaigners, many of whom are ministers, are referring to the Modi government’s various steps vis-à-vis international development as big movements that brought India laurels at the international stage. References to India’s aggressive stance against Pakistan and China, New Delhi’s balanced stand on Russia-Ukraine war despite West bloc’s pressure to admonish Moscow, the Modi government’s operation Ganga to bring back students from war-hit zones, Balakot strikes, etc. are some of the points that can be heard during speeches of BJP leaders, sources said. “Pakistan did not understand that the government had changed, and the Pulwama attacks happened. In ten days, PM Modi went ahead with the air strikes and surgical strikes and gave Pakistan the answer it needed. Now, no one will dare look at us.” This point in Shah’s speech speaks volumes about how the BJP is enthused by the tremendous response from the people. In one of his rallies, Cabinet minister Purushottam Rupala emphasised on ‘Bharat no Vat’ (the power of India today). He also said that the pressing question in Indian politics today is whether India would have been safe, if it were not for Modi. “India’s status has increased in the world because of Modiji. Is there any doubt in anyone’s head regarding that? Generally, if you carry a white flag, you will be let go in a war, but historians will have to document how not just our students in Ukraine, but also those from Pakistan carried a tiranga for safety. That is Bharat no vat today,” he said.
Diplomats say that organising India’s Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) in Gujarat’s Kevadia a few weeks ago was also appreciated by the people of the state. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres inaugurated this event. Significantly, it was during his presence in Gujarat that the UN Secretary General rapped China for blocking the listing of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) terrorist Shahid Mahmood.