BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is a man with a mission who keeps on insisting that his political plans derive inspiration from Swami Vivekananda and Sardar Patel. However, if one looks closely at Modi’s modus operandi, it would be very easy to spot many similarities to the politics inspired by none other than India’s former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
Modi would vehemently deny this and state that the main reason for his foray into politics happened to be the Nav Nirman movement in the state of Gujarat in the 70s to oppose the Indira Gandhi administration during the Emergency period.
However, if one observes Modi’s speeches carefully, it would be clear that he refrains from talking about Indira Gandhi while frequently targeting all the other members of the Nehru-Gandhi parivar. While one may argue that Modi is doing this because his battle is only with Indira Gandhi’s son and daughter in law, others point out that Modi’s political campaign bears many similarities with Indira Gandhi’s campaign back in 1971. While Indira chanted the words “Garibi Hatao, Indira Lao, Desh Bacaho”, Modi now chants “Congress Hatao, Modi Lao, DeshBachao.”
Similar to Indira Gandhi, Modi has chosen to rise above his party in order to connect with the masses directly. Modi’s ascent may have enthused the RSS cadres, which support the BJP, there is no denying the fact that the party’s leadership is conveniently being pushed into the background as Modi gains more leverage. The result, like Indira Gandhi, Modi has also gained superstardom within BJP and has tuned it to work in accordance with his personality.
Case in point, any recent BJP rally would have seen more importance given to Modi while the rest of the party leaders except the president Rajnath Singh, were pushed into the shadows. Pre poll surveys also indicate that the public no longer considers anyone else in the BJP worthy of prime ministerial stature apart from Modi.
Modi’s ‘Mission 272’ to reach out to even the farthest corners of India in the last few months is also likened to the 1971 Congress campaign led by Indira Gandhi. While Indira Gandhi used television as a medium to connect with the masses, Modi preferred to visit every part of India in person, even visiting areas where his party has little or no presence at all. Modi’s attempt at creating a pan-Indian appeal can be considered similar to Indira Gandhi’s efforts back then.
Modi’s authoritarian and insecure nature can also be likened to Indira Gandhi who trusted very few people and decimated several Congress leaders at both the state and national level during her rise to power. While many may call this approach dictatorial, loyalists call it a certain decisiveness that would help take the state and the country forward.
Modi may be a staunch opposer of Congress and its values. However, his electoral campaign bears many similarities to that of Indira Gandhi’s campaign in 1971. Looking at these similarities, one can easily say that while in 1971 it was Indira Gandhi versus others and in 2014 it would be Modi versus others.