By personally attacking Modi, the opposition has shot itself in the foot before the elections.

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On 20 September 2018, Congress President Rahul Gandhi made indecent remarks on the Prime Minister in the Rafale case at a public meeting in Sagwara, tribal district Dungarpur in Rajasthan, using a saying. During this time he did not even care about the dignity of the post of PM. Rahul Gandhi said, ‘There is noise in every street, the watchman of the country is a thief.’ After Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Chowkidar Chor’ comment, a movement started in the entire country regarding this word. Many BJP leaders had started writing words like ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ in front of their names. Later, Rahul Gandhi had tendered an unconditional apology in the Supreme Court for giving the slogan ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’.

On March 3, 2024, while speaking at the Indi Alliance rally in the Jan Vishwas Maharally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, the capital of Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, while responding to Prime Minister Modi’s familism remarks, had said that he has no children. Not there. He does not live with his wife. How do we know what a family is?

The day after Lalu Prasad’s objectionable remarks, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a public meeting in Adilabad, Telangana, he indirectly responded to the attack on his family by the opposition. The PM said, ‘I question his familyism, so these people have now started saying that Modi has no family. I want to tell them that 140 crore countrymen are my family. Those who have no one, they also belong to Modi and Modi belongs to them. My India is my family.

Shortly after PM Modi called the entire country his family, BJP started a new campaign. The campaign was named ‘Modi Ka Parivar.’ Then what happened, all the top leaders of BJP changed their bio on social media platform X. In fact, Modi weaponized Lalu’s attack and incorporated it into his election campaign. Even in the year 2019, PM Modi took out such a weapon from the attack of the opposition and ran the campaign in such a way that all the efforts of Rahul Gandhi and Congress were ruined and Bharatiya Janata Party returned to power with a bigger victory than in 2014. .

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi had started this campaign by writing ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ in his bio on X. This campaign quickly went viral and a large number of small and big BJP leaders started writing ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ in their bios. Posters were put up in every street. A cap came on his head on which it was written – I am also a watchman. Every big personality started calling himself a watchman. If by becoming a chaiwala the PM connected himself with the rickshaw pullers and street vendors, then with ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ he tried to connect a large section with himself, that experiment was successful. This campaign continued till the elections were over. While in 2019 the slogan ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ had come into discussion, this time Modi’s family is in the headlines. This time before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the opposition has again made the same mistake.

In the 2014 elections, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had made another attack on PM Modi. Iyer had said that that tea seller will become the Prime Minister. BJP had been continuously attacking Congress on this statement. The PM responded to Iyer’s comment in his own style. During the election campaign, Modi had made sharp attacks on Congress by calling himself a chaiwala. This statement was made an issue and discussion programs were organized over tea. At that time too, BJP had seized his statement in a similar manner. At that time, BJP workers not only sold tea outside Talkatora Stadium, but the entire strategy of BJP for Lok Sabha elections was focused on ‘tea’.

During Gujarat elections in 2007, Sonia Gandhi had called PM Modi a ‘merchant of death’. Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had called PM Modi a despicable person in 2017; this slogan given during the Gujarat elections was linked to casteism by the BJP. The PM retorted and said, Congress people call me despicable. The use of these words of Gujarat’s son will prove costly for Congress. The results of the state will be witness to this. BJP had achieved a landslide victory in the 2017 elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA alliance had won a big victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. BJP had won 282 seats in 2014. Whereas in the 2019 general elections, BJP alone crossed the three hundred mark and was successful in winning 303 seats. The support of other allies made this victory even more powerful. The NDA captured a total of 353 Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress-led UPA was limited to 92 seats. Talking about the performance of Congress alone, after a lot of struggle, the party got success in only 52 seats. After this big victory of BJP, the opposition in Indian politics was once again facing an existential crisis. Talking about the 2014 elections, Congress was able to win only 44 seats and that time too the House could not get a leader of opposition.

In the 2019 general elections, Rahul Gandhi was in the fray against PM Modi from the opposition. This time Indi Alliance is in the fray, but there is no unanimous face from its side. The opposition should understand that BJP has a miraculous face in the form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Flaws in their policies and decisions can be found and put before the public, but when the PM is calling himself the biggest OBC leader and elections are near, then one mistake of the opposition can upset the entire equation. Now on the family jibe, see how the PM conveyed the message to the people across the country in an emotional manner in the rally. Yes, the PM said, ‘My India-my family, with these feelings I am living for you, fighting for you and will continue to fight for you.’ Addressing the Nari Shakti Vandan Abhinandan program in Barasat, West Bengal, PM Modi said, ‘Today every poor, every farmer, every youth, every sister and daughter of the country is saying that I am Modi’s family. I have been separated from my family for years. But he did not remain hungry even for a day. That’s why I say this is my family. 140 crore countrymen are my family.

If we turn the pages of the country’s political history, Congress and the opposition have been continuously making indecent remarks and personal attacks on PM Modi. Sometimes PM Modi was called Ravana, sometimes he was called a poisonous snake, sometimes he was called a merchant of death and sometimes the watchman was a thief. There is no doubt that the opposition continued to attack and PM Modi easily used those attacks and comments as his weapon. Something similar is being seen this time too. The opposition has silently handed over the issue to the BJP. BJP’s ‘Modi Ka Parivar’ campaign is going to prove costly for the opposition.

– Dr. Ashish Vashishtha

(The author is an independent senior journalist)

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