October 27, 2015 12:24:19 pm
The takeaway from PM Narendra Modi’s Buxar speech on Monday is clear: the BJP is desperate to set to rest the reservation debate by saying the party stands by constitutional norms and all that what its opponents say against Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks is a misinterpretation.
The PM, who has been doing a bit of reservation fire-fighting during a fresh leg of Bihar rallies, sought to put his rivals on the back foot by
alleging that the Grand Alliance is conspiring to take the reservation share of Dalits, EBCs and OBCs and give it to another community.
Though the PM refrained from naming any particular community, BJP is conceding caste polarisation post Bhagwat’s remarks. The third round for 50 seats is crucial. The poll is in the comfort zone of the BJP but the party is showing nervousness. Both alliances claim to have the advantage in first two rounds but the Grand Alliance voters’ eloquence is disconcerting — the BJP says the media and political pundits are reading too much into it. The BJP has been banking on the EBC voters who are either silent or diplomatic. Bhagwat’s one statement seems to have upset the NDA calculations in the first two rounds — BJP national president claim to be winning 50 plus out of 81 seats in those two rounds, notwithstanding.
Another problem: the alliance partners of both the NDA and the Grand Alliance are proving to be the weak links. There has been a clear shift in the BJP strategy before the third round. The PM has been not only flaunting the social strength of his alliance partners but also taking names of small-time NDA leaders from the dais to acknowledge the importance of alliance partners and to ensure vote transfers from the big names of Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi and Upendra Kushwaha.
PM Modi has been carefully weaving development into his speeches and attacking Nitish for carrying the “Lalu virus”. The BJP may not concede it in public but it knows there is not much negativity about Nitish among voters. This is why BJP is targeting Lalu and company and cautioning against `jungle raj’ to woo the EBCs and the Dalits.
The PM has been invoking the youth to the hilt. The BJP has high hopes of the youth and EBC since the high turnout of women voters, thus far, looks more to favour Nitish than Modi. Which ever way you look at it, Phase III will probably decide the winner.
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