Advantage Modi 13-2015 23 March 2015
The Delhi debacle is a reality check for Modi and Shah
Around 10.40am, a senior officer came up to a Union minister with a clutch of papers, and requested him to sign them. As the minister began reading the first sheet, the officer told him there was no time for that. “You tell me then what it is, “the minister said. The officer exasperatedly told the minister that he had to reach the prime minister’s office with the papers by 11 am and would explain it when he returned. “This is my fate. I am the minister, but it is almost as if the PMO is running all the ministries,” the minister told his confidantes on February 10-the day the BJP faced its first crushing defeat since Lok Sabha 2014. Sources say this minister was among, including BJP MPs, who discreetly rejoiced in the first failure of the Modi-shah duo. The joy was about the halt, however temporary, to the control freaks who have little freedom to others in the cabinet to do their work.
But what went wrong? A BJP leader narrated what he witnessed a few days ago: A party worker was waiting for three hours before his note was accepted Amit shah’s staff. Two hours later, he learnt that the more had landed in the trash and Shah won’t meet him. “Workers simply have no acess to him nowadays,” said the leader. “Modi and shah had not figured that Delhi was not Gujarat, where they had other links to reach the masses.”
“They seem to have forgotten that there is a Delhi BJP unit, which has its ears to the ground, knows people and their issues,” said a BJP candidate who lost the election. “We were completely bypassed with Modi and Shah taking all the decisions. It was not our election, really.” A senior BJP functionary in Delhi echoed the sentiment, saying. “I had gone to give some suggestions. But the suggestions given by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were implemented. He has not won an election, and he declined to lead the party in the 2008 Delhi polls.
The Modi magic may not have vanished, but the constant self-projection possibly did him in. The over-the –top display of ‘my friend Barack’; the self aggrandizement in the form of a golden pinstripes suit combined with his inability to explain the continued with his inability to explain the continued price hike and the arrogance of his ministers who meet capitalists but not workers or the public gave a picture of a prime minister who talked too much and acted too little. Alos, there are murmurs within the BJP that Modi’s style of campaigning in Delhi substantially contributed to its defeat. “One swallow does not make a summer,” said a BJP leader. “Let us wait and watch. The AAP cannot replicate the Delhi experience across the country in the short term. And we play for the long term. Some consolation.