The article originally appeared on India Today on 27 December.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he thanked Union Minister Arun Jaitley for reminding the nation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “never means what he says or says what he means.”

Rahul attached a video to his Twitter message. It containing clips of Modi’s controversial remark on former PM Manmohan Singh and former VP Hamid Ansari, and of a statement Jaitley made in the Rajya Sabha today.

The Congress alleged that on the assembly election campaign trail, Modi insinuated that his predecessor and the former vice-president conspired to derail the BJP in Gujarat, at a dinner party attended by former Pakistan diplomats. The Grand Old Party wanted an apology from the PM, and Manmohan said in a statement that he rejected “the innuendos and falsehoods.”

Office of RG ✔ @OfficeOfRG
Dear Mr Jaitlie – thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means. #BJPLies
8:52 PM – Dec 27, 2017

“I sincerely hope that he will apologise to the nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies,” Manmohan said.

Today, Jaitley said Modi didn’t question or mean to question their commitment to the nation.

“We hold these leaders in high esteem,” Jaitley said.

In fact, the government and the Opposition reached a truce over the issue, thanks to some good old back room diplomacy.



Congress president Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at finance minister Arun Jaitley for his clarification on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Vice-president Hamid Ansari.

During an election rally in Gujarat, Modi had alleged Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders of colluding with Pakistan to defeat the BJP in Gujarat. Jatiley said in his clarification that was nowhere close to being apologetic, “PM in his speeches didn’t question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or Former VP Hamid Ansari, any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India.”

Tweeting a video of Modi’s election remarks and Arun Jaitley’s RS clarification side by side, Rahul addressed the Finance Minister sarcastically as “Dear Mr. Jaitlie” and in an equally sarcastic tone, thanked him “for reminding India that Narendra Modi never means what he says or says what he means.”

Office of RG @OfficeOfRG
Dear Mr Jaitlie – thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means.

The remarks made by Modi created storm in Indian politics. Manmohan Singh reacted sharply on it and demanded an apology on what he perceived as Modi’s ill thought transgression, “I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Modi. I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the Nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies.”

Congress launched a well mounted campaign to denounce it and made Modi’s apology a pre-condition to run the Parliament and with today’s compromise there seemed to be an end to the stalemate finally as Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Leader of Opposition in RS and a Congress MP, thanked Jaitley for his clarification “on what had been issue of contention” and also distanced his party from any comments made against Modi during the Gujarat election campaign.



First phase of Gujarat state election is over. The second phase is on 14 December and the results will be out on 18 December. But the chances for the BJP, which has ruled Gujarat since 1995, are not looking so bright this time. There are, in fact, signs that say the BJP may lose the polls this time. Signs, that reflect in pre-poll surveys and trends in election campaign.


An opinion poll just days before the first phase of Gujarat assembly election on 9 December projected it to be neck and neck contest between Congress and the BJP. The ABP-Lokniti-CSDS survey projected equal vote share for both parties at 43 per cent. According to the survey, BJP is expected to win 91-99 seats and Congress 78-86.

Though the survey still gives the BJP more seats, when we see it in continuation of its previous pre-election surveys, we can easily see the rising graph of Congress as the campaign is progressing. The same agency in its November survey had predicted 113-121 seats for the BJP and 58-64 for Congress while its August opinion poll had given the BJP even a wider margin projecting 144-152 seats for it against Congress’ 26-32 seats.

Another set of surveys by Times Now also shows a declining graph for the BJP. Its October survey gave the BJP 118-134 seats which came down to 106-116 seats in its December tally. On the other hand, though not much rosy, the Congress pie went up from 49-61 in October to 63-73 in December.

The BJP is facing 22 years of anti-incumbency and to make matters worse this time, there are factors that can derail its juggernaut there, Narendra Modi, demonetisation, GST, atrocities against Dalits and demands of Patel reservation. Narendra Modi is not the chief minister of the state and the CSDS opinion poll showed that the trading class is not happy with demonetisation and GST. And the biggest faces of Patel reservation protests and the movement against Dalit atrocities, Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mewani, are with Congress.


The BJP has unleashed its full force in the Gujarat campaign. Apart from dozens of union ministers, many chief ministers and senior BJP leaders, Narendra Modi himself has devoted fulltime to the party’s prospects in Gujarat. He is addressing multiple rallies in a day with at least a big rally scheduled in every district of the state. Though Vijay Rupani is Gujarat’s chief minister, the BJP face in the Gujarat polls is no doubt Narendra Modi. And all this is to counter a single face from Congress, Rahul Gandhi, who has been pivot of Congress’ campaign.


The BJP released its manifesto just a day before the first phase of Gujarat state election. Though the party quoted busy campaign schedule and technicalities behind this delay, the truth is, the BJP move came after Congress made it an electoral issue with Rahul Gandhi calling it a disrespect to the people of Gujarat. Congress had released its manifesto on 4 December.


Two stands taken by Rahul Gandhi stand out here, saying he is a mature politician now and can take his journey as Congress’ president further. First, he had issued a written instruction to his party leaders last month not to launch personal attacks against Narendra Modi, seeing how a long list of below the belt comments by Congress leaders targeting Narendra Modi had hit the party’s electoral prospects, be it Sonia Gandhi’s ‘maut ka saudagar’ (merchant of death) or Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘chaiwala’ or his very own ‘khoon ki dalali’ in last year.

Second, he immediately got Mani Shankar Aiyar suspended from the Congress party for his ‘neech aadmi’ (vile man) comment on Modi saying, “The Congress has a different culture and heritage and I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM and both, the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said.”

While asserting that “the BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party”, Rahul, at the same time, denied the BJP the plausibility of using Congress’ personal attacks on Narendra Modi in its favour. And it is evident from the fact that Aiyar’s ‘neech aadmi’ jibe could not get much echo beyond few rallies.


Rahul Gandhi started his Gujarat election campaign from Dwarka and has visited several temples across the state so far while on the campaign trail. He has declared his family and himself ‘Shiv bhakts’ (devotees of Lord Shiva) and is trying consciously to adopt the Soft Hindutva image to counter the BJP’s Hindutva politics. And it seems he has been successful so far in his attempts.

Otherwise the BJP would not have made Rahul Gandhi’s religion such a big issue, and that too based on a fake news. The BJP went big time saying Rahul was not a Hindu as he signed a non-Hindu visitor’s register during his Somnath Temple visit, a claim which was later refuted by the Somnath Temple trust.


The BJP initially said its poll plank was all about development in Gujarat, something that would speak for itself. To counter it, Congress mounted a well-lubricated social media campaign focusing on ‘how development in the state had gone crazy’. But one look at BJP campaign speeches and one can easily see the development plank missing from there, something even its ally Shiv Sena pointed out today in its editorial Saamna.


The final days of campaigning in Gujarat has seen Narendra Modi and the BJP dragging in the issue of China and Pakistan meddling in Gujarat polls with Narendra Modi going as far as to allege that many including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a secret meeting involving the High Commissioner of Pakistan and an ex-Pakistani minister to discuss the Gujarat election.

There have also been allegations that Mani Shankar Aiyar colluded with Pakistan and even put out a contract to eliminate Narendra Modi. But the issue is not finding much traction as evident from the media coverage of elections. Apart from few news outlets, most of them are desisting from taking any stand on these allegations and counter-allegations.



Like it was in 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it had helped Modi emerge as the only pan-India leader. Manmohan Singh had faded. Rahul Gandhi was not there. And regional satraps were just one-state phenomenon. If Modi had any competition from the regional satraps, it was from within the BJP only.

It seems Rahul Gandhi is honestly now trying to reach there, trying to break the image of a reluctant politician that he has carried ever since his initiation into the national politics in the latter half of the last decade. He is looking to break myths and facts around him with and after his US trip. And he is sounding focused.

It has been mostly negative developments ever since the demonetisation was announced on November 8 last year – or if we say negatives far outweigh the positives so far, it will be apt – at least the goings at the moment say so.

India is a country of small and middle income people and businesses and demonetisation negatively affected them, even if we go by the logic of the short term pain – because no one can vouch for the long term gains – except some studies including the World Bank’s and Nomura’s projections that have shown faith in an exercise that really proved unimaginable in scale (read confusion here). GST has only added to this pain and (confusion).

The Modi government has been fortunate to reap the windfall benefits of historically low crude oil prices that have helped it mitigate the huge under recoveries of its oil marketing companies. In addition, the government has also filled its coffers with lakhs of crore of Rupees by increasing the excise duty multiple times. It has kept the oil prices high, like these were during Manmohan Singh’s government. BJP had made it a big issue then, in spite of the fact that the crude oil prices were historically high then.

Now Congress and opposition parties are making it an issue and they are right, at least in public perception – and this is all what matters in electoral politics – even if the Modi government has diverted this windfall gain in several infrastructural projects. That BJP is feeling the heat due to all these issues becomes clear from the government action on revising GST structure and hinting that it is now going to pass on the benefits of the low crude oil prices to consumers, finally.

The regional satraps are still one-state phenomenon. And what goes against them is, the appeal of their parties is also limited to their respective states – SP and BSP in Uttar Pradesh – BJD in Odisha – RJD in Bihar – TMC in West Bengal – TRS in Telangana – Left Front in Kerala – and DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

The most important of them, who could have rallied other regional satraps behind him and could have posed a formidable challenge to Modi, Nitish Kumar of JDU in Bihar, is now Modi’s ally, thanks to politics of yore by RJD.

India has just few short lived governments third front governments, i.e., of VP Singh, of Chandra Shekhar, of IK Gujral and of HD Deve Gowda, and the alternative third front politics has always been a failure. The basic problem has been – all of them consider themselves to be PM material – so the unity to challenge the main national parties, i.e., first Congress and now Congress and BJP, has always been a misnomer. The maze doesn’t look different even this time.



After Punjab and Maharashtra, he began his farmers connect exercise in Telangana. In Adilabad, during his 15 Kms Padyatra covering five villages where farmers have committed suicide, he took on Narendra Modi, his land acquisition bill and K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the Telangana chief minister, today.

After his around two month long sabbatical or leave of absence, Rahul is in aggressive mode and irrespective of who closed the Amethi Food Park (his own United Progressive Alliance government is responsible for it), the changed provisions of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s land acquisition bill, that undoes some important clauses of the land bill passed by the UPA government in September 2013, have opened a front for him to attack the government and do the politics of looking pro-poor.

He even met the civil society members on the diluted provisions of the real estate bill. The NDA government has changed or diluted provisions of the bill brought by the UPA government and he alleges the changed provisions to be anti-people.

Clearly, he sees a point here to score politically, and like anyone else in the politics, he is doing the same thing.

Yes, he is silent on Robert Vadra even if the government of Haryana has formed a one-man commission of retired Justice S. N. Dhingra, of Delhi High Court who sentenced Afzal Guru to death, to probe Vadra land deals in Haryana. Congress, naturally, has reacted on it. Vadra has welcomed the move hoping it will clear things.

Rahul who called K. Chandrasekhar Rao ‘mini Modi’ today has forced others, especially in the BJP, to take note of him. He cannot be dismissed anymore, like the politics of his past. Before his return, he had rarely spoken in the Parliament, two times in all, including his famed ‘Kalavati’ speech in 2008. Whatever is the intent of the day, he is making life difficult for the BJP.

He is making leaders in the BJP to attack him, either on the land bill, or on other issue of ‘politics of poor’. And that is what he needs, his politics needs at the moment.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


India is slated to become the world’s youngest nation by 2020. The UN (UNFPA State of the World’s Population report) says 356 million (28%) of its population is in 15-24 age-group, largest in the world.

Census of India says around 48% India’s population is below 21.

65% of India’s population is below 35.

While writing this, India’s population is over 1.25 billion, world’s second most populous nation after China, and projected to take over China by 2050.

A report by the US (Special 301 Report for 2015) says India’s internet base is projected to be of 370 million users by this year end, the second largest in the world. The report says 213 users will be using mobile internet by this June.

India’s teledensity is around 100 crores (1000 million). Lowering of smartphone prices has quickened the spread of mobile internet in India, already large enough, especially among the youth and working-age population.

The world’s second largest telecom network is India now.

And it is projected to be the world’s fastest growing economy, overtaking the growth rate of China.

That would be in Rahul Gandhi’s mind when his office joined Twitter yesterday. But a Twitter handle @RahulGandhi or a similar one would be far better than @OfficeOfRG.

It may be a personal decision by a politician who is trying to be more aggressive in national politics after returning from his leave of absence.

And as he has had not any social media presence so far, he would have thought to test the waters first with @OfficeOfRG. Rahul has been a favourite social media trend so far, especially for jokes.

Even if not in his name, it is expected from Rahul Gandhi that he will take this initiative seriously. After all, voters, too, come from this working-age population.

The lack of action so far, on day-1 and day-2 can have their own benefits of doubt and we should be ready to give that.

Day-1 was about ‘waiting for Twitter authentication’ and day-2 may be about the first day of activity, with three tweets so far, with the latest one nine hours ago. Hope, the initiative will see more and robust action from day-3 onwards.

If he has to take on the government, if he has to target Narendra Modi, there are more than enough issues in Indian politics to write about, to take care of.

It is all about going beyond the symbolic representations this time, of a hand, of hands and of Robert Vadra.

Rahul Gandhi Twitter

Rahul Gandhi Twitter 2

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


“Today we pay tribute to the millions of workers whose hard work, sweat and tears have gone into building our nation. No country can aspire to greatness without ensuring that the people who build the nation are partners in its prosperity and success. That those who work in our factories, in our fields, at our construction sites, in our mines and in enterprises big and small across our country are assured dignity of labour and a decent quality of life. That their children too have opportunities to choose the life they want to live, and a chance to excel and prosper. Let us renew our resolve today to strive for an India in which every citizen rich or poor, farmer and labourer, irrespective of the circumstance of their birth can hold their head high and live and work with dignity and honour.”

Rahul Gandhi said this today, on May Day, on Labour’s Day, or on International Workers’ Day. And while saying so, he extended the revival plank of his party, the Indian National Congress, of being pro-poor and fighting for the cause of the farmer.

He is on an India tour these days, protesting the land bill ordinance. In his meetings and outreach programmes, he alleges the Narendra Modi’s government of being anti-poor and anti-farmer. He is alleging that the Narendra Modi’s government is pro-corporate interests and is working to usurp the rights and land of farmers and the poor of this country. He is saying that the ordinance route was taken as the government was not sure of its chances in the Parliament.

Yesterday, he was in Vidarbha, the place of Kalavati and Shashikala and countless others; the place where Rahul ate at Kalavati’s house in May 2008 (in Yavatmal’s Jalka village) and mentioned her later in his famous speech in the Indian Parliament during the trust-vote Manmohan Singh’s government.

He trekked 15 Kms of it. He is there to reach out to farmers and poor. Unseasonal rains have destroyed crops in around 2 lakh hectares, as the government data show. The real figure is expected to be higher, like the farmer suicides, over 1000 this year, in affected regions across 14 states. Some states like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have seen many farm suicides in these months.

And the National Democratic Alliance’s government has already re-promulgated a land ordinance that is vociferously opposed by the political opposition as well as some allied within the government.

A changed Rahul sees an opportunity here – of Congress’ revival – and of taking on Bhartiya Janata Party.

Yes, a changed Rahul Gandhi.

Post his latest sabbatical, Rahul looks politically active and more aggressive. And the BJP is taking it seriously, hitting back. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s response in the Indian Parliament yesterday can be seen this way. Firstpost quoted him saying – “Yeh sujh-bujh ki sarkar hai, isme koi galat fahmi nahi rahe (this is a government of solutions, there should be no misconception about this). Booted hona better hai. Booted out hona khatarnak hai (It is better to be booted. Getting booted out is very dangerous). Yesterday there was criticism (by Rahul) against the Prime Minister that he spends time abroad. At least we know where he is. Is India taller in the community of nations today than it was a few years ago or not? I was surprised when I read over the last few days that compared to the developed world, whether it was Iraq or it was Yemen or Nepal today, it is India which is now being considered as a global leader even in areas where we could not manage our own affairs earlier – disaster management. The Congress Party would realize when the Prime Minister of India goes abroad even for two days or three days, he performs a national duty. There is a difference between performing a national duty and disappearing for a jaunt. Therefore, you must realize the difference between the two. What is the kind of commitment to politics that you suddenly disappear for months together and then you come back and say that I will pick up an issue every day merely because it will make my presence felt.”

So, Rahul Gandhi, after his leave of absence, is more certain of his future than ever it seems. Probably, he has introspected and meditated about it.

Hope, the changed streak is there to stay – and words of his May Day speech, that are clearly backed by a pro-poor approach, should be backed by an intent that is natural.

And yes, he has to find the solution to the ‘Robert Vadra riddle’ and convince the countrymen about it. It should happen soon. There is indeed a mayday like situation there.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Let’s be political about it and let’s be politically correct about it.

And let’s be politically straightforward about it.

And being politically straightforward in this country means it needs a strong government and a strong opposition – if we go by the legislative politics and political developments of the day.

Now there is a strong government, led by Narendra Modi – the National Democratic Alliance government led by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP led government won the majority on its own, first time in 30 years – since 1984, when Rajiv Gandhi stormed to the Parliament winning 404 of the seats – riding high on the sympathy wave after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

But there is no strong opposition. And there are no strong opposition leaders – to the stature of Narendra Modi – except very few – who can challenge Narendra Modi nationally.

And Rahul Gandhi after his recent sabbatical stands first among them.

For the time-being, he looks charged, has an agenda, and is pursuing it.

If we take different news reports in consideration, his latest sabbatical was of around two months. The world was talking about it but came to know about it officially on a Monday (February 23) when the Budget session of the Parliament began. On April 16, he returned.

Reports say many things about his sabbatical – including introspection and meditation (that included Vipassana as well).

He made news headlines during his around two-months long sabbatical. He was seen as a reluctant politician with a string of electoral failures since 2010. The aura of ‘seriousness’ around him was on the wane. But his leave of absence, shrouded in mystery, made for daily news elements.

And the good things is – his return and he himself are making for even more news elements.

And that is good for Indian politics. He is taking on the government. His politics looks like having a future now. He is speaking and interacting regularly.

Hope this streak is there to stay with an active and aggressive Rahul Gandhi.

Indian politics of the day badly needs a strong opposition and opposition leader and Rahul Gandhi can lead here. One-sided numbers of political opposition in Rajya Sabha would be of little advantage to the country until there are voices, both in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, that raise issues in a constructive way and are ready to fight back.

And the government is taking serious note of Rahul Gandhi now, readings of the political developments of the day tell us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


What are the trend-setting takeaways for the 2014 General Elections campaign from the outcome of the four assembly elections held this November-December the results of which were announced on December 8 (Mizoram, being one Lok Sabha seat only, doesn’t matter for the mainstream political parties when it comes to the electoral equations and thus the political calculations to devise strategies and design campaigns).

Look beyond Rahul Gandhi – Look inside – Though complete redemption impossible in the time available but, at least, some ground can be saved, some humiliation can be averted:

It was ignorance and arrogance both that led the Congress party, the grand old party of India, to bite the dust, to go down so miserably.

Arrogance has been trademark of Congress rule and whenever they continue in government for more than one term, we see its convoluted form on display. First, the Manmohan Singh led UPA government messed up with the economy during the first three years of its second term. Then, in order to win the elections riding on easy money, they pushed schemes to pump easy money into the lives of millions of its targeted voters (at the cost of others who have been mostly silent till now – the middle-class bearing the brunt of everyday corruption and price rise – that was until now).

This has been a tried and verified route to pull votes the Congress party strategists believe. They have been doing this at the cost of the middle-class votes. Also, they have been attracting the minority votes significantly. Their equations have been to rely on votebanks coming from the bottom of the human pyramid as well as from the minorities.

But things are changing now. The middle class is emerging as a major segment in Indian electoral politics. This middle-class is aware of its rights and votes accordingly. The huge youth base of India, across the caste, class and religion lines, that votes on ‘issue-based politics’ comes from this class. To add to it, there are other significant claimants of minority voters now in the league as well.

In all this, the Congress party could not understand or gauge the public sentiment on issues of price rise and corruption. Political corruption in India has become a global talking point and Manmohan Singh’s government is seen as the most corrupt of the governments in the office.

And the price rise – it is affecting all, the targeted votebank of Congress at the bottom of the pyramid, the minorities, as well as the ignored middle-class.

By the time, the Congress party strategists realized the deteriorating ground for them, it was too late. The Rahul Gandhi elevation was a desperate effort to reclaim the lost ground. In 2013, Congress could win just one big state, Karnataka. But linking this to Rahul Gandhi factor, if they thought so, was again a mistake. Congress didn’t win in Karnataka but BJP lost it.

The other approach that the Congress party strategists saw to corner votes – the populist schemes – direct cash transfer for subsidies and the food security have failed to leave any impact so far and there is very little time left in the Lok Sabha polls.

The Rahul Gandhi factor and the ‘easy money for easy votes’ experiments, both have failed to help Congress.

In 2009, the situation was different. UPA had performed well in its first term. Then there were populist schemes like the farm debt waiver riding on a successful government and a faceless opposition. Also, Narendra Modi was not a popular leader of national stature then.

It’s different now. UPA has failed on almost every front in its second term. Results of the assembly polls just concluded tell us the populist schemes did not add to the votebank. In fact it was slipped away considerably as the huge losses in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi (both Congress ruled till the elections) show us. And Narendra Modi is a much taller leader of national acceptance now. No other political leader comes anywhere near to him in popularity.

And midst all this, Rahul Gandhi is failing, again and again. The Rahul Gandhi factor has become more of a hot air than substance. Rahul does campaign extensively but his words are still fatigued by the old symptoms of his politics – no connect, no context, no modulation, repetitions, alienated words and poorly researched customization.

He is failing to establish the connect that is needed to align the voters. And remember, Rahul Gandhi is the main campaigner for the Congress party.

Though it cannot save the day in the prevailing circumstances, a Congress party relying heavily on Rahul Gandhi needs to introspect if it has to save itself from the ignominy of political marginalization in the next Lok Sabha polls.

It needs to realign its campaign on the lines of fighting the Lok Sabha polls in a sporting spirit, beyond character assassinations. It needs to act humbly and sound so while approaching the voters. Rahul Gandhi must not make the voters vote for hours in his rallies. The Congress party strategists must look beyond the trio of Sonia-Rahul-Manmohan. Their leaders must not make insensitive comments on price rise and corruption.

And they must look utmost sincere, sensible and honest in dealing with price rise and corruption. It is difficult for them to do because it has been the work culture and culture of the Congress party.

They have two opportunities to set the precedent to base their campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls – the JPC report on 2G Spectrum Scam and Anna Hazare’s renewed agitation for the Lokpal Bill.

Can they do it this time? Going by the government’s attitude on the 2G scam report, it doesn’t look so.

Watch to see an interesting trend analysis unveiling!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



War of words – allegations and counter-allegations, politics over even apolitical themes, claims and counter-claims – the free-floating, unrestricted flow of verbal juggernaut is frying up the atmosphere, is ratcheting up the theatrics.

In the series, on a day like this, in the run up to the polls, they both started speaking almost at the same time, but soon, it was Narendra Modi all over, on almost channels of the airwaves, and so in millions of the homes across the country, and so on the countless channels of the social media platforms – the story of two speeches – delivered same day, almost same time – one in Delhi, the other in Patna – on October 27.

For sometime now, Narendra Modi has been the hottest, the most covered, the most talked about, and the most written about one. Rahul Gandhi did receive attention whenever he spoke on public platforms, but he could never match the scale Modi would achieve, rally after rally.

And when it came to the parallels on a day of parallel presence, we found how skewed it had become.

Even if we do no go into the reasons, if we do not dissect the ‘what, why and how’ of Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi on campaigning parameters and communication management practices, we can see easily certain trends well evolved (and clearly visible) by now – of crowds in rallies and of media presence multiplying the presence of the crowds elsewhere – trends that would be giving nightmares to the Congress party strategists – trends that can also harm the Modi-party by injecting a sense of complacency much before it is the time to up the throttle for that final ‘finality’.

Though, in recent times, Rahul, too, has upped his pitch, putting his aggression more on display with each passing rally, he simply fails to match the Narendra Modi blitzkrieg.

Modi’s rallies are witnessing full houses with crowd spilling over in each rally while Rahul’s rallies fail to produce sense of massive (even sizeable) gatherings even if the camera tries to show us so.

What could be the better testimony to it than October 27? In spite of the serial blasts, Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna saw hundreds of thousands coming to listen to him while Rahul had to wait before he began to speak as there were not enough of people.

When it comes to media, it’s Narendra Modi is all over. Rahul does get wide coverage and attention but, on a day, when both were speaking together, it was only Narendra Modi – almost all the TV channels were showing Modi live while Rahul was not even in the side window.

And that tells us the base approach by the media outfits in this Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi duel. Modi has become the prized catch for them in race to earn more eyeballs while Rahul is the routine editorial stuff. For them, Modi is the ultimate ‘eyeball stuff’ of the moment.

Modi’s media appeal can also be gauged from the fact that, though the serial blasts in Patna killed 5 and live bombs were recovered from the venue of Modi’s rally, Gandhi Maidan in Patna, the main news discourse of the day was Modi, the major elements discussed on the day were ‘what Modi said’. Rahul’s speech did not get much attention apart from the routine editorial planning elements.

The Congress party strategists should be worried. (Yes, but, the Bhartiya Janta Party thinkers should not get complacent.)

Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi – it is going to be even more interesting to watch as the Lok Sabha polls near, as the resultant chaos spreads even more.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –