By befriending media, PM Modi has ended Congress’s faint hopes

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By befriending media, PM Modi has ended Congress’s faint hopes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reached out to the media, something which must have surprised many. Modi was known to be at war, although informally, with the country's mainstream media for the latter had shown little mercy to him ever since February 2002 when communal riots broke out in the state of Gujarat.

The prime minister's focus on the social media and greater engagement with the electorate in that space and the mainstream media's requests for more access to inside stories in governance showed to what extent the two sides failed to get along.

Even Modi's confession at the Deepawali Milan, the event where he interacted with media representatives, that he had once shared a nice relation with the media told the real story.

Befriending the media: Modi was waiting for the right moment

But the BJP prime minister made a positive turn to focus on the relation with the mainstream media for he knows very well that the stand to keep the media at a distance will not serve his government's interests in the long run.

Modi perhaps was waiting for the right opportunity to take the call to mend ways with an otherwise hostile media and October 25 was the day.

Maha & Haryana wins made Modi face the media confidently

Modi has, in the last five months, cemented his place as a national leader quite impressively. He has focused on international affairs and issues of governance while his party has continued with its good show in the elections.

The results in Maharashtra and Haryana, two of the Congress's old bastions, have proved that the performance in the general elections of April-May was not a fluke and Modi and Amit Shah chose this opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to the media.

Electoral wins and Modi's popular moves will force the media to follow him

From here on, a confident BJP will be in a strong position to deal with any eventuality. The media, on the other hand, will be forced to follow Modi's trail and undo whatever negative projections it had made about the man after the 2002 riots.

Psychological victory over media, political win over Congress

But more than a psychological victory over the media, Modi's latest move is certain to achieve another target and that is a political one. The rapprochement with the media will bury whatever little hope the Congress had to return in the contest against Modi, which is looking increasingly difficult.

Hapless Congress had a faint opportunity to play the media card against Modi; now even that's gone

The series of electoral victories meant Narendra Modi was leaving very little space for the Congress in the national politics. But even in that shrinking space, the Congress had one opportunity and that was to utilise the media's undeclared war on Modi over a period of time. We have seen how the media's hospitality had helped Mamata Banerjee turn the tables around the Left in West Bengal.

Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which till 2006 was no competitor for the Left, gained massive grounds after the media in West Bengal began to play the role of an effective opposition. The Left regime's repeated blunders in Singur and Madhyamgram were not forgiven by the media and it was none other than Banerjee who gained the most from the battle.

Congress didn't even try to take the media into confidence after the poll debacles

Similarly the Congress could have tried to utilise the Modi-media gap for a long-term benefit but the grand-old party has perhaps lost its thinking ability after the series of debacle.

Neither the Gandhis nor any other top Congress leader felt the necessity to play the media card against Modi for their own long-term benefit. Rahul Gandhi and other lesser leaders of the party continued to entertain the media by their acts and talks after the election. It was shocking, to say the least.

It seems PM Modi was more serious to act on Chidambaram’s words


Clever Modi just did the right thing by ensuring the media shields him against anti-incumbency mood in the long run

Modi, on the other hand, made the first move to plug the hole and ensured that anti-incumbency mood against his government doesn't shape up sooner than expected. Befriending the media was a crucial step towards that target.

Chidambaram advised Congress leaders to speak more but it was Modi who acted on those words

The Congress looks a devastated lot at the moment. The party is not known for overt communication with the media but when it has a gifted communicator like Modi as an opponent, there has to be some change in the way it thinks.

But the party remained aloof even after being routed in Maharashtra and Haryana.

It also expressed displeasure when a senior leader like P Chidambaram advised the top leadership to speak more and make the contact points stronger.

The Congress has no answer for Modi's style of politics. The latter, contradictory to the perception, has dealt with his business as a leader who believes to get along with everybody and not make his way through intimidation.

He has won a lot of friends through this style, the latest being the mainstream media.

His opponent, a 129-year-old party, has been completely fooled by the prime minister's media move and might remain a hopeless opposition for a long time to come.

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