Operation Scalp Hunt
BJP president Amit Shah has told his party cadre that post 15 August, the party will go in campaign mode—for E2019. The bugle will be sounded from Red Fort with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech promising more sops for his mission 2020 (which gets him across the crucial 2019 election milestone). Shah has already begun touring the country and will complete his first all India tour end July.
But the main question is: what is the big ticket issue that they will take to the people apart from the cult around Modi? Having not delivered as promised on the economy, they are scouting for issues that will resound with the aam aadmi—and one suggestion is to nail a scalp that will send the right message about their war against black money, which means either Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya. Of the two, Mallya will have a greater impact because while Nirav Modi cheated the banks, Mallya impacted the salaried class directly by not paying dues to the Kingfisher staff and continues to rub it in by not cutting down on his flamboyant lifestyle. The third option is to play the nationalism card, and nothing works better than bringing back Dawood, who is reportedly keen to negotiate a return so that he can breathe his last on Indian soil.
The Big Ethel Factor
Is the Opposition looking at Archies comics for strategy? The one where everyone was asked to vote for Miss Riverdale so while the first preference votes were divided amongst the good-looking girls, everyone gave their second preference vote to Big Ethel in order to keep out the competition. And well, guess who won in the end! Hence, while looking for a leader, the Opposition may end up choosing the one with the least prospects to succeed. It has happened before, hasn’t it?
The Sushma Tangle
There is a lot of buzz within the BJP as to why Sushma Swaraj took up the case against the zealous passport officer who denied a passport to a Muslim couple on grounds of “irregularities”. Especially since this line did not go down well with the party’s faithful. And then, when trolled by right-wing fanatics on social media, she chose to go public about the trolling, playing straight to the “liberals” lobby. Why was Sushma suddenly testing her loyalty, wondered one BJP party official. Was she preparing for a post 2019 scenario in case the BJP doesn’t cross the majority mark and the party is scouting for leaders who would be acceptable to possible allies? Clearly, external affairs are not all that’s there on the minister’s mind.
Bhupender Yadav for U.P.
The low profile Bhupender Yadav of BJP is tipped to be given charge of Uttar Pradesh for the coming general elections. He has earlier handled Gujarat (2017), Bihar (2015) and Rajasthan (2013). Yadav’s key asset is his backroom management as well as his equation with party chief Amit Shah.