Patna: Okay, blasts helped Modi but what about national unity?

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The campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections witnessed a scary moment on October 27, when multiple serial blasts ripped Bihar ahead of the much-hyped Hunkaar Rally of the BJP, which was also addressed by BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Will the blast episode have a big impact on the pre-poll election scenario?

There is no doubt that the serial blasts have benefitted the cause of Modi, who is sparing no effort to transform his image from a polarising figure into a unifying leader. If any of his critics had thought that the blasts would have harmed his chances, they are grossly mistaken. Modi himself was also smart enough to grab the opportunity and took a moderate stand to assure people to return home safely. There was no political statement and neither any communal views.

If the latest blasts can't unite the country, then nothing ever will

The BJP leader simply said that instead of fighting among themselves, the Hindus and Muslims want to fight a common enemy like poverty and that he wants to take along all communities with him. One suspects whether Modi would have uttered the inclusive statement so directly had the blasts not taken place.

This will put the Congress and Nitish Kumar in a spot. The former had been hoping that Modi will raise the Hindutva pitch at his poll rallies and the consequent polarisation would help its cause.

Rahul Gandhi's connecting Muzaffarnagar riot victims with Pakistan's influence at one of his recent rallies in Madhya Pradesh was aimed at fuelling that polarisation. The party had hoped that an aggressive Modi would redirect the minority votes in key states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (total 120 Lok Sabha seats) towards its kitty for the Muslims in these states might not trust regional forces much after what had happened in Muzzafarnagar.

But Modi didn't walk into the trap. He kept on projecting himself as an accommodative leader for whom religious differences don't matter much. And the blasts on Sunday gifted him another golden opportunity to cement that image. For Nitish Kumar, another vocal critic of Modi, the blasts could prove to be counter-productive given his party's bitter relation with the BJP. It is an irony that the secular parties have faced more trouble in the wake of a terror attack which was apparently directed against a 'communal' leader.

This is not the first time that such an incident has happened, either. In 1998, a terror attack was carried out at Lal Krishna Advani's rally in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. It was the BJP who had gained subsequently.

But the bigger question is: Can the deadly blasts unite the political forces across the spectrum? It is very important that the Indian parties get over the Modi or not Modi squabble and join hands to express solidarity against such attacks. For once, can we expect the Congress to back Modi and ensure that his future rallies do not come under similar threats?

As the leading party in the ruling coalition, isn't it the duty of the Congress to see that all leaders, including the opposition, get foolproof security along with their supporters? The same applies for states where non-Congress and non-BJP parties are in power.

Democracy should not leave us terribly divided. Politics and elections will be there always but by making them as the end, we have left our idea of national integrity under a big threat. No wonder the evil elements are taking advantage of that.

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