Tag Archives: karnataka

Modi’s Sholay ‘ishtyle’

Modi is like the cat who plays with the mouse before going in for the kill. He told the people of Belgaum, “you are lucky to hear the prime minister speak. In Delhi, he never speaks. At least he spoke in Karnataka.” “But he speaks only what has been given to him in writing,” indicating that Manmohan Singh did not have a mind of his own but spoke HMV!

His (or Her) Master's Voice

His (or Her) Master’s Voice

Parkala Observer: Shrikant N ShenoyWhile listening today to Narendra Modi’s speeches, particularly in Belgaum, his style of delivery reminded one of dialogues from the all-time Bollywood blockbuster Sholay.

Remember “Maa kehti thi ki raat ko, beta so, so ja nahi tho…”?

Yes, sometimes he also reminded one of the imperious tone of Gabbar Singh played by Amjad Khan.

But at other times, his pitch was like that of Thakur Baldev Singh played by Sanjeev Kumar. “Yeh haath mujhe de-de Gabbarrrr….”

Indeed, Modi is a showman, an Amitabh Bachchan, a Sanjeev Kumar, an Amjad Khan, all rolled into one, and perfect at that.

He does his homework (or helicopter work) well and by the time he reaches the venues, he knows what he should deliver to get the maximum desired impact.

Sometimes he works up the crowd, teases them, excites them, but gives them all their monies’ worth.

He has the crowds eating out his hands. And they respond to him all to easily. He connects with the people, standing on the centre of the stage, unlike those who stand behind glass cages.

The first thing is he gets personal with the crowd. In Belgaum, he took the mike (two were offered, he said one is enough) and said, “can you hear me? Even those standing far away?” Then he goes on to apologise for making them wait in the searing summer heat to hear him. The roar from the crowd indicates they did not mind.

In the coastal city of Mangalore, he apologised to the people by saying that he could not speak in Kannada, but by the time he reached Belgaum, he not only taught himself Kannada, but also Marathi. His opening remarks greeting the people received loud cheers. Of course, for obvious reasons, his Marathi was far better than his Kannada: There were even louder cheers when he spoke in Marathi.

HMV's vinyl disc

HMV’s vinyl disc

But to avoid the charge of any discrimination, he switched to Hindi for the main speech, but not before first invoking the “pavithra dharti (pure land)” of Basavanna, Rani Chenamma, et al. The crowd started cheering.

Modi is like the cat who plays with the mouse before going in for the kill.

Manmohan Singh had addressed a meeting here earlier. He told the people of Belgaum, “you are lucky to hear the prime minister speak. In Delhi, he never speaks. At least he spoke in Karnataka.”

“But he speaks only what has been given to him in writing,” indicating that Manmohan Singh did not have a mind of his own but spoke out HMV! (For today’s generation, HMV was a big music company that manufactured vinyl discs. On the disc was HMV’s logo: A dog listening to His Master’s (or in this case also His Mistress’) Voice! (Read about HMV on Wiki)

Modi also took jibes at Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul. To her charge that Rs 80,000 was sent to Karnataka for development and her question about where that money went, Modi said, the money was not from the Congress party’s kitty; it was from the tax that the people of Karnataka had paid to the centre.

“This is not dahej or varadakshina or dowry,” he thundered.

“Whatever money that was sent and utilised, every paisa was accounted for, and these accounts were available in Delhi for everyone to see.”

He also brought in “Mr Golden Spoon”, reminding Rahul that when his father became the prime minister, there was no BJP government anywhere. Right from Parliament to Panchayat, the Congress party held the sway.

Yet Rajiv Gandhi complained that out of every Re 1 that the government spent, only 15 paise reached the poor.

“Which hand (referring to the Congress party’s symbol) was looting the 85 paise,” Modi demanded to know.

Modi said the situation was the same now. But, he indicated, while the BJP governments were efficiently spending the money, the Congress party-ruled states were suffering.

He depicted the Congress party as evil. The Congress was a curse like Rahu and Ketu and the Congress was like an eclipse that could darken Karnataka.

Therefore, he reminded to vote for the lotus, the BJP’s symbol, reminding that lotus was the symbol of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. “Without Lakshmi, there can be no progress,” he added for good measure.

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The return of the pendulum

Not only that, even the unofficial betting trends have now started changing. Odds which were being placed on the Congress party have now come down to a trickle, but as of Thursday evening, it was the Congress party that was still ahead. But the confidence with which bets were being placed on the Congress have given way to extreme caution as campaigning draws to a close.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi

After several pre-poll surveys over the past few months showed the Congress as storming back to power in Karnataka, the pendulum seems to have started its return to the other side.

Not only that, even the unofficial betting trends have now started changing. Odds which were being placed on the Congress party have now come down to a trickle, but as of Thursday evening, it was the Congress party that was still ahead. But the confidence with which bets were being placed on the Congress have given way to extreme caution as campaigning draws to a close.

With each passing day bringing bad news for the Congress party on various fronts at the national level — the Coalgate scandal, the Chinese incursions and the Sarabjit murder in a Pakistani jail — observers noticed a trickle-down effect in the minds of the people of Karnataka.

However, the pendulum has not swung decisively to the other side: Pointers now are that the state is heading for a well and truly hung assembly.

Even a survey conducted for the BJP by the Mumbai-based Prabhodhan Research Group, the BJP is now set to gain at least 81 seats, while the Congress party tally has come down to 95 seats.

That this was essentially war between the BJP and the Congress also became clear with the Prabodhan survey indicating that the Janata Dal (Secular) getting about 27 seats, KJP eight seats, the Reddy brothers’ BSR Congress Party five and independents bagging eight seats out of a 225 seat assembly (of which one seat is for a nominated member of the Anglo-Indian community.

As compared to the earlier polls, the trends for the JD(S), KJP and others were more or less the same.

A survey carried out in January this year had shown the Congress getting about 133 seats, but this figures started coming down and by March, was predicted that the Congress would get anywhere between 112 and 126 seats.

It was widely expected that the BJP would lose in the state because its image had taken a beating thanks to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s shenanigans and the corruption muck that appeared to have stuck to the ruling party.

Indeed, the people of Karnataka were angry with the goings in a party that they had voted as an alternative to the Congress and the “third front” like the Janata Dal (Secular) and its earlier avatars.

The anger was well and truly deserved by the BJP, but by December, Yeddyurappa was out and formed his own Karnataka Janata Paksha with an avowed stance to destroy the BJP.

He tried his level best to rope in several ministers who were seen as close to him; in the end only two crossed over.

As the Congress was being shown as gaining tremendously, many deserted the BJP to join the main opposition party in the state assembly.

With Yeddyurappa and others out, and the BJP shouting from the rooftops that the party had been cleansed of corrupt elements, the anger started dissipating slowly, but there was nothing to indicate that the voters would return back to the BJP in droves.

UdupiNet started noting that the people of Karnataka were also watching developments that were taking place in New Delhi. The image of the Congress was also getting battered — even more seriously than that of the BJP in Karnataka — and like many other Indians, they also sat up to take note of that new messiah: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi’s SRCC talk (and later at other fora) became a hot topic and there was a wish that Karnataka should have someone like Modi as the chief minister.

In fact, the Open magazine carried out a nation-wide survey and found that the people would prefer Modi over anyone else, including Rahul, if he were the candidate for prime ministership. What is of interest is that Modi was a choice even in the southern states, including Karnataka with an impressive figure 55 as against26 for Rahul.

The Karnataka BJP was hoping on Modi to campaign extensively in the state, but the Gujarat chief minister kept them on tenterhooks. The Congress started a whisper campaign that Modi was loathe to come to Karnataka since the BJP was a sinking ship.

But on April 28, Modi addressed a well-attended meeting in Bangalore and this charged up the BJP cadres and a large section of the voters.

On Thursday, Modi followed it up by two back-to-back meetings, the first in Mangalore in coastal Karnataka, and the second at Belgaum in North Karnataka.

Modi’s meetings were a hit and his Bangalore address was relayed live over the internet and was displayed on a mobile big screen in other places, including Udupi.

If a survey was to be held today, it would have shown the BJP gaining even more, almost equal to if not more than the Congress party.

Another factor that worked against the Congress — which has the uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory — was the infighting that severely damaged its prospects.

There were several claimants for the chief ministership — the party has not seen such an open, shameless desire for power from amongst its leadership anywhere — and many rebels entered the fray in several constituencies.

Some like former chief minister and party veteran S M Krishna openly expressed his unhappiness with the party for having sidelined him totally while distributing tickets.

What has also damaged the Congress severely that their charges of corruption against the BJP could not stick since it gave tickets to three high-profile mining barons, whose companies were indicted by the Supreme Court.

The party also had all their big guns in the battle for Karnataka: party president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. However, their speeches did not have the fire and brimstones that were expected of them, tired as they were with the continuous flak they were facing from all sides in New Delhi. In fact, it was reported that people had started moving out even before Manmohan Singh could finish reading out his speech at one election rally.

The main topcis they covered were corruption, power generation and development.

But they failed to impress since they were also seen being as corrupt if not more than the BJP in Karnataka.

It is not to say that Modi was the BJP’s lone campaigner in Karnataka. In fact a galaxy of leaders such as L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, campaigned extensively.

But credit must be given to Modi for not only effectively demolishing the Congress party, but also painting a shining image of the post-Yeddyurappa BJP in development terms.

Only Modi could successfully bring back the BJP’s image as a pro-development party, though the others, including the state leadership, tried hard to convey the good work that their party had done.

One this is sure, though. Modi has definitely given sleepless nights to the Congress leadership and tonight, even if they fall asleep after a couple of tiring weeks, they would have nightmares in which Modi would appear to them as Gabbar Singh or Thakur Baldev Singh!

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