Monday, May 5, 2014

Bringing the Fight Home

Are Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi going to win a seat from Amethi? Or will it be Priyanka Vadra? Listening to the election campaign in the Gandhi family pocket borough of Amethi, one is tempted to ask these questions. The only question an outsider would never ask is whether Rahul Gandhi is going to win. In fact, as one voter put it on #IBNOpenMike, if it were any other Rahul, he would not stand a chance in this seat.

On the last day of campaigning for Phase 8, Narendra Modi broke a settled tradition in Indian politics and took the fight right to the Gandhi bastion of Amethi. For the first time since the 60s, the Family is facing an uphill battle in Amethi, with Priyanka Vadra having to be called in to publicly campaign while her brother is campaigning in other parts of the country. Indeed, some commentators have pointed out that she has actually overshadowed her brother in the process.

The BJP candidate from Amethi, Smriti Irani, who is endorsed by this blog (the only endorsement in this election), has put up a surprisingly strong campaign. By galvanizing the local BJP cadre and traversing the constituency, she has brought in a very real chance of Rahul Gandhi's defeat, because of which the Congress has had to field Mrs. Vadra. With the AAP's Kumar Vishwas further cutting votes, possibly Congress votes, Amethi is possibly one of the closest contests this election season, next to the closest of them all in Amritsar (which has already voted in Phase 7).

By breaking away from tradition, Modi has clearly positioned himself as the only real rival to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. He coined the phrase 'maa-bete ki sarkaar' to address them directly. This is a clever strategy but also comes with its risks. To break half-a-century of brainwashing people to believe in the royalty of the dynasty is no mean task. It is quite possible that people would react very negatively to attacks on Rajiv Gandhi, for example. And yet, there is a chance that people would see the abject poverty this 'VIP constituency' has lived in and vote out the dynasty. Perhaps, this is the hope that the BJP's campaign has been riding on.

Again, Opinions 24x7 endorses Smriti Irani for the Amethi Lok Sabha Constituency. 

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