On June 9, 2013, the Bhartiya Janta Party announced that Narendra Modi would be the head of the election campaign committee for the upcoming general elections in 2014. This puts an end to lengthy speculation of Modi’s elevation within the party. But the very next day the senior most leader of the party, Advani, who disagreed with the party decision, resigned from all the party posts. Advani’s resentment towards Modi’s appointment as a campaign head was not a surprise for most of the BJP leaders who appointed Modi in spite of Advani’s dissent. According to the seniority, Advani was hoping to be the prime minister should the BJP and its allies are victorious. However, the BJP leadership decided to promote Modi as the head of the election campaign committee. On the other hand, the congress party leadership, in its 65 years of political history in India, has never interfered in the opposition party’s internal affairs.
Congress party’s negative campaign of “Stop Modi” as BJP prime ministerial candidate has a high probability of backfiring just like the negative campaigning backfired in the 2012 US presidential election. Congress party is desperate to see Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister of India, but they do not want him to run against Modi, because if Rahul Gandhi is defeated, like he was in Uttar Pradesh by Akhilesh Yadav, his political career would be damaged. Congress leaders are aware of the fact that if Modi becomes the BJP prime ministerial candidate, there will be a tough fight for the party and Rahul Gandhi because they have already exhausted their arsenal against Modi before the real battle begins. They have tried everything against him, but nothing has worked and soon Modi will be declared as a BJP prime ministerial candidate. This situation leaves two options for the Congress party.
The first option is to continue their efforts to stop Modi from becoming BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and if successful declare Rahul Gandhi as their prime ministerial candidate of the Congress party. The second option, the backdoor strategy, is to wait for the elections to be over and see the results and if possible take Rahul Gandhi to the prime ministerial seat. Running Rahul Gandhi against Narendra Modi is their last choice.
On the other hand, BJP has only one choice, Narendra Modi. Despite the media trial for last ten years, Modi, in December 2012, secured a remarkable victory in Gujarat election and emerged as a strong and popular BJP leader and the number one prime ministerial candidate. Just last week Modi snatched 2 parliamentary and 4 state assembly seats from Congress party in the Gujarat election. Modi himself is a smart politician, administrator and a good political strategist. He did an excellent job as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and won three consecutive elections and used the media smartly to stay the limelight. Indian media, especially TV news channels, has been sacking Modi since the disturbance in Gujarat in 2002. That issue provides lots of material and a huge audience for the news channels. Modi avoided and/or ignored the media all these years thus irritating them. They bashed him for his so called arrogance.
Congress party leaders should revise their suicidal political strategy of negative campaigning against Modi and score some positive points if they want to do well in the next general election. If BJP wins a significant number of seats in parliamentary elections and Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister of India, more credit will go to the Indian media, and the Congress party then to the BJP and the Modi supporters.