It might not be good news for Narendra Modi, but BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate seems to have become the favourite whipping boy of regional parties this poll season. The counter-attacks by the anti-Modi camp are becoming louder by the day, dimming his chances of adding post-poll allies in case he falls short of the magical 272 mark.
From SP supremo Mayawati to AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, from arch Bihar rival Nitish Kumar to RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav, and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee to father-son duo Farooq and Omar Abdullah, almost all regional satraps have been training their guns on Modi.
At a time when coalitions are hard to will away, the developments have raised questions on whether Modi is losing charm among potential allies? Modi has maintained an aggressive tone for his rivals in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and thus has been under attack from Mayawati, Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
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Here is a look at tirades on Modi by influential satraps:
Mayawati, Bahujan Samaj Party: Asking people to refrain from voting in favour of the saffron party, BSP supremo Mayawati in one of her campaign rallies alleged that if the BJP came into power and Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the country would “stand ruined” with communal riots. Addressing an election rally in Lakhimpur Kheri, Mayawati cautioned the people against electing Modi. In Allahabad too she continued with similar attacks on Modi saying that he is doing drama by calling himself a member of the backward class.
Mualyam, Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party: Trashing Narendra Modi’s development model in Gujarat, Mulayam Singh Yadav had recently described Modi as “a liar and a fraud”. Talking to his party workers after filing nominations, he said, “I have never seen such a liar and fraud politician. He changes 500 kurtas a day and wears a new kurta to every meeting. His drama will end in UP during the elections.” Joining his father in attacking Modi, Akhilesh dubbed him as “Model of Dividing India”. Attacking Modi, Yadav during a public rally said, “you don’t know the full form of Modi. It is ‘Model of Dividing India’ and Modi wants to divide the country on the caste and religious lines.”
Farooq and Omar Abdullah, National Conference: Recently the father-son duo of Farooq and Omar Abdullah were engaged in some bitter sparring with Modi after the BJP PM candidate alleged that that the biggest blow to secularism in India was delivered in Kashmir from where Kashmiri Pandits were forced out due to their religion. Hitting back at Modi, Omar said, “Modi Sahib knows many things but his history is weak…Kashmiri Pandits didn’t leave when Farooq Abdullah was in power.” Omar added: “Modi Sahib, you are giving the lecture of secularism to the people who taught the lesson of secularism to this country in 1947… Modi Sahib giving a lecture of secularism to Kashmiris seems strange to me. If something (someone) is seen as opposite to secularism, it is Narendra Modi Sahib.”
Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress: Recently, in angry retaliation to Modi’s attack on West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, a furious Trinamool Congress, which had been soft pedalling its criticism of Modi, slammed him as the “Butcher of Gujarat”. A day later, Mamata unleashed a torrent of vitriol against Narendra Modi, saying the country will be “ruined” and plunge into darkness if he comes to power. A day after Modi targeted her, Banerjee, who was at some point seen as a potential post-poll ally, called the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate a ‘devil’ and the ‘architect of riots’. She said “the nation will plunge into darkness” if Modi becomes the prime minister. Interestingly, there was speculation that Mamata’s party would forge an alliance with the BJP but Mamata clearly showed that she had no inclination to get close to the NDA even in a post-poll scenario.
Jayalalithaa, AIADMK: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, who was said to be good friends with Modi after she attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, attacked the BJP for the first time just before Modi was to address a rally in Chennai. Referring to Modi’s interview to a section of vernacular media, Jayalalithaa said he had proposed some sort of a framework between the two states besides interlinking of rivers as solution to the vexed issue. Hitting back at Modi’s criticism at his recent Kanyakumari rally that Centre and state government were involved in a blame game on the fishermen issue, Jayalalithaa pointed out that the same leader had at Ramanathapuram meeting blamed a ‘weak’ Central government for the harassment of fishermen from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Jayalalithaa’s party was trusted to be the most promising alliance of the BJP-led NDA, but it took a bitter turn with Amma’s sudden attack on Modi like the opposition.
Sharad Pawar, NCP: Dismissing rumours of NCP tying up with BJP, Sharad Pawar joined others in the fray in attacking Modi. Pawar, who flirted with the BJP for a couple of weeks in the run up to the elections, fired his guns at Modi as he said that the BJP PM candidate needs to be “treated in a mental hospital” for talking ‘rubbish’. At one of his rallies during electioneering, Pawar again likened Modi to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. “We have seen Hitler, he was elected from a democratic set up. He concentrated power in himself and the whole world has seen how he eliminated the Jews, attacked other people, misused authority. Today, the examples of Advani, Joshi and Singh are illustrative of how power has started concentrating in Modi’s hand. It’s just the beginning,” Pawar said.
Now to see if Modi becomes successful in turning foes-into-friends in the changed post-poll scenario.