MAY 9: DAY 3 IN VARANASI, BEFORE THE CAMPAIGNING ENDS ON MAY 10

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

May 9, the penultimate day of campaigning in Varanasi (before the campaigning ends on May 10) witnessed the expected high profile, high pitched political events.

Narendra Modi addressed five rallies, 2 in Eastern Uttar Pradesh (in Mirzapur and Ghazipur, adjoining areas of Varanasi) and 3 in Bihar, and the issue of denial of permission to his election events in Varanasi on May 8 was the major element in each.

BJP continued protesting and demanding the Varanasi DM’s removal. On the contrary, as reported, the DM sent a report to the Central Election Commission on Modi’s road-show yesterday on violation of Section 144.

The CEC maintained its stand on defending the acts of the DM. Meanwhile a report came that claimed that some security personnel from Gujarat had claimed security threat for Modi with Beniabagh rally venue.

The other major Varanasi-centric event of the day was Arvind Kejriwal’s road-show in Varanasi. Though some reports claimed the road-show attracted huge crowd, the situation on ground was not corresponding.

It was sad to see the surroundings when the road-show began. There were not enough people, not enough even to count for the reported 5000 AAP volunteers camping in the city, who have come to the city there from different parts of the city. Looking at the convoy and thinking of the window of opportunity that the AAP experiment could have been, it indeed felt like a sad day for the long awaited experiment with democracy in India.

Though, the road-show got more people on its sides as the evening progressed, it was in patches and was nowhere near to the consistent and spontaneous crowds seen May 8 evening during Narendra Modi’s road-show.

The day also saw an event that unfortunately, has become an AAP trademark – gaining publicity and sympathy through controversy by creating public spectacle. Raghu Ram, AAP member and MTV Roadies judge, alleged that he and Gul Panag were attacked (manhandled) by some BHU students.

Gul Panag later tweeted denying it. But the claim of manhandling with Mr. Raghu Ram maintained its stand. Now, it is to be seen in the context that Raghu Ram has had history of making such cheap publicity claims. In 2011, after claiming, he denied that his face was blackened by the ABVP activists. He cannot be trusted.

Instead, Banarasis and BHU should denounce such people who try to defame the place and its institutions. No doubt there are many faults and layers of wrongs with Banaras and BHU but none make for the kind of cheap allegations put forward by the AAP’s spokesperson and Raghu Ram.

Banaras is any thing but certainly not this – an unrestricted, unconstrained badland of uncontrolled people. AAP and other politicians should seek forgiveness for dragging BHU in this silly political game.

But it is not going to end here. Today’s events are going to be like it has been since May 7. Rahul Gandhi’s road-show is scheduled to begin this morning from the city’s outskirts on Rajghat’s side (Peeli Kothi) and will conclude at the Lanka Gate of BHU. And to add to the heat, there would be other planned and unplanned political events.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MODI’S MASSIVE ROAD-SHOW: DAY 2 IN VARANASI, BEFORE THE CAMPAIGNING ENDS ON MAY 10

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Modi’s road-show in Varanasi, from the helipad of Banaras Hindu University to the city office of the BJP, and the huge crowd moving with it is a classic case of how the decisions taken in frustration and panic boomerang – in this case the initial denial of the permission to the rallies of Narendra Modi in Varanasi and the subsequent flip-flop by the Varanasi district administration resulting in the delayed permission over Modi’s rallies that boomeranged and hit back massively.

And the way the BJP has exploited the developments, it shows undoubtedly a sound presence of mind and an equally sound campaign management by the BJP core team.

It is praiseworthy if seen from a neutral analytical perspective.

If seen from the campaign management angle, the refusal of the ‘delayed’ permission for Modi’s Beniabagh rally and Ganga Aarti by the BJP was a masterstroke, a deft move that resulted in an almost 5 Kms long road-show with people on both sides of the road that just ended after spending quite a long time (over 3 hours) on Varanasi roads.

And there was much more crowd on the roads and in the streets than it was visible on the TV screens.

The flip-flop by the district administration and also by the Election Commission gave the BJP an opportunity to create a media spectacle of playing the victim card that sidelined any possibility of the steps that the administration could have taken in the name of maintaining law and order situation asking Narendra Modi to avoid the road-show.

Managing the crowd at Narendra Modi’s rally was much easier than managing the people’s outpour throughout the stretch of Modi’s trip to the BJP office.

The fact that Modi’s caravan crisscrossed the city through its most crowded areas like Sonarpura, Shivala, Godowlia and Luxa, and that too, during the rush evening hours, when traffic moves inch by inch, only exacerbated the misery of the city administration as it could not say no to Modi after the fiasco yesterday.

Any more ‘no’ could have resulted in more protests by the BJP compounding the gains from the wave of sympathy (obviously due to the ‘victim card’ that the BJP earned yesterday) when the polls were just three days away.

And this trip, from the BHU helipad to the central election office of the BJP in Varanasi, that was technically not a road-show, indeed became a massive show of strength with people thronging the Modi cavalcade throughout the entire stretch.

Narendra Modi and the BJP score handsomely here.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MAY 8 MORNING: DAY 2 IN VARANASI, BEFORE THE CAMPAIGNING ENDS ON MAY 10

GENERAL ELECTIONS

Sympathy is always good for electoral politics. And when there is an issue to score sympathy midst an ongoing election, the beneficiary is going to be virtually unstoppable in exploiting the ends to gain the electoral mileage.

And the flip-flop by the Varanasi District Magistrate with a ‘Yadav’ surname yesterday on giving permission to Narendra Modi’s election events in Varanasi, with perceived elements of a sort of conspiracy hatched by the ruling Yadav family of Uttar Pradesh (if the BJP allegations are to be taken in account) was a perfect fodder for the BJP.

Narendra Modi has already won the Varanasi constituency. Main focus of the BJP is to maximize the impact of the Modi factor in the remaining seats of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to score as many wins as possible.

And the Varanasi DM’s flip-flop coupled with the Election Commission’s perceived inaction in the matter yesterday made the BJP charging them left, right and centre that prepared the ground for today’s acts on ground that began this morning and are expected to build by afternoon when Modi addresses a rally in Varanasi’s rural outskirt of Rohania.

BJP’s top guns and workers have taken to the streets in Varanasi and Delhi simultaneously. Central Elections Commission’s office in Delhi and Banaras Hindu University’s main gate in Varanasi, so far, have been the initiating points of mobilization. Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah are sitting on Dharna while Narendra Modi has slammed the Election Commission in an Azamgarh rally.

And all this is coupled with round the clock, minute-by-minute media coverage, reaching to the masses including the intended vote bank, something that the BJP and Narendra Modi would love to see happening. And add to this is yet another Narendra Modi interview scheduled on a national news channel this evening.

When would the Modi opponents learn that their desperate acts like these are helping Modi only? But, then, the time has already run out for them.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/