The Telegraph reports:
The Congress today pulled out its â€œHindu cardâ€ at the fag end of the Gujarat campaign by comparing Sonia Gandhi with â€œGoddess Durgaâ€ and Narendra Modi with â€œMahisasuraâ€.Â It was M. Veerappa Moily, the head of the partyâ€™s media department. Moily was flanked by his media cell colleagues, such as Abhishek Singhvi, Jayanti Natarajan and Shakeel Ahmed, when he was asked if the Congress, too, had not made its campaign â€œvitriolicâ€ by equating Modi with Pervez Musharraf. The Congress leader now likened Modi to Hitler and Raktabijasura, the progenitor of the demons in the Puranas.
Whether Oily Moily’s mythological parallels find an echo in Gujarat they are bound to rankle the Congress’ “atheist” partner down south MK Karunanidhi who must be troubled with this association of “communal” Modi with the “secular” and “rational” Asuras.
But there could be bigger trouble for Oily Moily for back in June 2007 when a low level Congress functionary Moradabad district chief Ajay Saraswat Soni portrayed Sonia as Durga he got the sack. Three other MLAs got the sack for depicting her as Lakshmibai.
So will Oily Moily get the sack or does the Congress President have one rule for the lower rung and another for her confidantes or does she secretly love being played up as a Goddess ?
With the campaigning ending for the second phase of polls in Gujarat, the Congress and the BJP have pretty much reduced this round of campaigning to exchanging soundbites on terrorism. If the Congress threw Masood Azhar and Peter Bleach at the BJP, the BJP returned fire with Mohammad Afzal and occassionally Sohrabuddin. In the crossfire Narendra Modi’s development agenda ended being the casualty with the “neither here” and “not so apparent” Rahul Gandhi being the lone Congressman to bring up Modi’s record.
The Congress’ strategy to field Rahul Gandhi in the wee hours of the final day of campaigning is interesting. If the Congress does well it can cleverly attribute it to the last minute difference that Rahul Gandhi made. If the Congress does badly it can shrug its shoulders and pass the blame onÂ to the others who bore the brunt of all campaigning in Gujarat.
Shekhar Gupta writing in the Indian Express in his column titled National Interest has an interesting insight into what the election in Gujarat has come to be. This is perhaps the most Presidential of State Assembly Elections if there ever was one. However Shekhar Gupta does great disservice to his insight but being denialÂ about the singleÂ mindedness with which the media played up Mr. Modi as a hate figure and ran anÂ incessant one sided hate campaign against him which Offstumped has extensively documented on two occassions.
If Mr. Modi has made this about himself and his record it is largely on account of this “assasinate Modi by sting or stink” campaign the Media hasÂ been running for many months now.
Shekhar Gupta has also missed a dynamic completely in this election. After all Mr. Modi’s campaign is not built on fiction but from an overwhelming wave of support from a particular generation of voters.
What is it about this election that has this generation so beholden to Mr. Modi ?
The day the Shekhar Gupta’s of the mainstream media figure the answer to that question they would have fathomed the impatience and lack of tolerance within this generation for Executive Paralysis on account ofÂ LegislativeÂ Dissidence and the fervent desire for a Strong Executive.
It remains to be seen if Mr. Modi was successful in making this a referendum on himself and his record or if the sum of all local incumbencies and mutinies will eventually take him down.
As Gujarat prepares to vote in the second phase, keep an eye out for those Offstumped predictions, even the mainstream media is watching out for them.
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