Thursday, March 3, 2016

The real Modi has stood up

PM Narendra Modi's speech in reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address was one of his finest yet in the house, a hoary reminder of the master orator who took the country by storm in 2014. If Smriti Irani had led the way for the BJP in attacking the Opposition, Modi capped the effort successfully. What's more, he was at his combative best, taking on the Gandhi dynasty by invoking the very same dynasty. His attacks on Rahul Gandhi in particular were reminiscent of his Shahzada jibes during his election campaign.

With one important exception: he stuck to being parliamentary about it. It takes a seasoned orator to launch a frontal attack without resorting to cheap language - Vajpayee was one such, Modi is another. Rahul Gandhi is not even close. The Indian Express reported today that the NDA government has understood that the nationalist debate has energized its base and has taken control of the narrative that the Deep Congress has been trying its best to set.

The government and party plan to double down on this while also introducing as many Money Bills as possible. Therefore, the move to introduce the Adhaar Bill as a money bill was a stroke of genius. The Congress finds itself on the back foot, having to be very careful about its stand, with its Rajya Sabha numbers being useless in the face of money bills. At the same time, the government has put the heat on the Congress to pass legislation, putting the responsibility on them. To top it all off, Rahul Gandhi's pathetic speech in the Lok Sabha (which has become a matter of ridicule on social media despite the Lutyen's media's best attempts to show it as a historic speech), and the Congress' handicap in needing to project their Prince as the final voice, has turned the tide for the BJP after long last. Jaitley's good budget helped too.

Now, the challenge is to take this momentum to the elections later this year. The BJP must win Assam and show substantial gains Kerala. Only then will it be able to walk into UP with confidence. 

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