Karnataka election results: Will Modi’s ‘high-voltage, intimidating’ speeches help BJP win?
Bengaluru, May 15: "When nothing works, Modiji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) definitely delivers". The statement made by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker at an election rally of the PM in Bengaluru, Karnataka recently sums up the importance of "Modi, the election campaigner for the saffron party."
Almost two weeks before Karnataka voted on May 12, PM Modi came to the state, stayed in Karnataka till campaigning ended and attended 21 public rallies covering the length and breadth of the "beautiful and diverse" region of India.
Initially, he was supposed to attend 15 rallies, but the BJP, which was on the back foot till the PM made his "grand entry" into the state, decided to play the "Modi card" to the hilt and increased his rallies to 21.
In the Karnataka Assembly elections, the complete results of which will be declared by Tuesday evening, the BJP almost had no major issues to target the incumbent Congress government. The anti-incumbency wave against the Siddaramaiah government too was not very apparent, nonetheless it was there.
Although the BJP alleged that the incumbent chief minister was corrupt and gave him monikers like "seedha rupaiya CM" and a "10 percent CM", the allegations fell flat as the saffron party made BS Yeddyurappa (who was sent to jail for his role in mining scam during the BJP government in the state from 2008-2013) its chief ministerial candidate and gave tickets to eight persons belonging to the gang of infamous mining barons of Bellary.
The BJP did play its favourite "communal card" as its leaders dubbed the elections a fight between the Hindus and the Muslims in the southern state. But nothing actually was working in its favour till it decided to change its track and bring Modi to attack the Congress.
It was a delayed visit of Modi to Karnataka, but it definitely rejuvenated the BJP cadres on the ground as rallies after rallies of the PM saw huge crowds. In every rally, Modi began his address in Kannada and was constantly accompanied by a translator to translate his speeches from Hindi to Kannada for the crowd.
From invoking the names of Basavanna, the 12th-century Lingayat philosopher, social reformer and statesman, to M Visvesvaraya, the great engineer and Bharat Ratna awardee, local was the flavour in all Modi speeches in Karnataka.
However, what actually worked for Modi in Karnataka is not his praises for the state through the eyes of a "tourist", but his high-voltage speeches attacking the Gandhi parivar (family) and his controversial remarks on historical figures.
A political analyst in Bengaluru told OneIndia that several facts in Modi's speeches were historically inaccurate but the crowd enjoyed them as they are too naïve and gullible.
"Modi has this ability to raise passion among the crowd. When he speaks everyone listens in silence. His speeches are full of lies, intimidation and bigotry. We know the fact, but masses are not aware. They believe him 100 per cent. That is the problem and the sad reality," said the political analyst, who did not wish to be named.
A day ahead of the Karnataka Assembly election results, on Monday, top Congress leaders led by former PM Manmohan Singh submitted a petition to President Ram Nath Kovind alleging that Modi had used "threatening and intimidating" language against them during the Karnataka poll campaign.
"It is too little and too late a step taken by the Congress against the PM. As the election trends show the BJP is leading in Karnataka, and thanks to Modi wave, we are forming the new government here," said a party leader manning the business of the BJP in Karnataka.
While filing the report, the BJP was leading in 106 seats and the Congress in 71. Out of the 224 Assembly constituencies in the state, voting took place for 222 seats on Saturday. A party or an alliance needs at least 113 seats to stake claim to form the next government in Karnataka.