Coronavirus Throws a Spanner in BJP’s Scheme of Things


PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah

There appears to be little scope for the party to highlight with fanfare the abolition of Article 370, enactment of CAA, laying the foundation stone of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, etc
Soroor Ahmed | Clarion India

THE Bharatiya Janata Party has decided not to celebrate the second anniversary of returning to power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30. Instead, it would take up several welfare schemes, especially for the children orphaned by coronavirus. Modi came to power for the first time on May 26, 2014; thus he would be completing seven years in office on this date.

No doubt there was coronavirus last year too and India was still tackling the post-lockdown migrant crisis. Yet by May 26 or 30, 2020 the number of fatalities caused by the pandemic was much smaller than this year. It was then argued that in the initial weeks of lockdown more migrant labourers died on the roads and rail tracks all over the country while returning to their homes than due to the pandemic.

People still listened to the speeches of Prime Minister Modi and other BJP bigwigs. When he asked to beat thalis (utensils) they did so, they lit the candles and diyas so that the pandemic could be fought. The common man did not mind much when the BJP celebrated the relatively low-key second anniversary of the coming to power of Narendra Modi through virtual rallies which continued for a month.

Not only that even Union Home Minister Amit Shah through video-conferencing addressed virtual rallies on June 7 and 8 for the people — in fact party workers — of Bihar and West Bengal respectively.

In Bihar 73,000 LED TVs were installed so that his speech could be heard by a maximum number of people. Even at the height of Covid-19 the BJP leadership had in mind that these two states were soon going to polls.

But the scene seems to be different this year though the BJP top leadership got full opportunity to flex their verbal power till April 22. Yet they have all been suddenly rendered speechless after that date.

On April 22, Amit Shah was supposed to address three election meetings in West Bengal, but he left the state after speaking in only one of them.

Modi was to deliver four speeches the very next day. But on the same April 22 he suddenly cancelled all of them. Realisation suddenly dawned upon the BJP top brass that somewhere something has gone seriously wrong.  The third most important campaigner in the Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, himself tested positive and in no time, there was complete silence all over.
The BJP strongly believes in big celebrations, media management and noises. The party at the national level even celebrates the victory in local bodies’ polls even in any small state. In West Bengal it lost badly in the elections held in the last three phases simply because the party leaders and workers vanished from the scene.

A month later there is a pall of gloom everywhere even though the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, did try to pump some ‘positivity’ into the rank and file of the Parivar.
Coronavirus has wreaked such havoc that no amount of media management and speeches are going to motivate the workers at the grassroots level in the near future.

In Uttar Pradesh, after BJP members of Parliament from Meerut and Mohanlalganj, Rajendra Agarwal and Kaushal Kishore respectively, Union Minister of State for Labour Santosh Gangwar openly criticised the district administration of his own parliamentary constituency, Bareilly. He wrote a letter to the chief minister complaining about the shortage of oxygen, medicine and beds in hospitals.

In Madhya Pradesh, BJP MLA Jalam Singh Patel, the brother of Union Minister of Culture Prahlad Singh Patel, demanded the strictest action against a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader of Jabalpur, Sarabjit Singh Mokha, for being involved in the supply of spurious Remdesivir leading, according to his own words, to the death of thousands of coronavirus patients, including one of his relatives, Dinesh Patel, 42. The MLA, who is also a former Madhya Pradesh minister, in a letter to the state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, claimed that six out of the 12 injections administered to him were fake. He was tested coronavirus positive last month.

As thousands of BJP leaders, party functionaries, workers and supporters including many legislators, have lost their lives in the huge surge of the pandemic in the last couple of months, the central leadership is finding it difficult to cope with this situation. Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot too lost his 42-year old daughter. The deafening silence in the saffron camp — it did not even celebrate victory in Assam — is somewhat worrying as the Assembly elections are due in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur early in 2022. Barring Punjab, it is in power in all of them.

Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa are three BJP-ruled states where the pandemic wreaked maximum havoc. Experts largely attribute the huge death toll to the holding of rural local bodies polls, Maha Kumbh Mela as well as cultural festivals and flow of tourists to these three states.

So there appears to be little scope for the BJP to highlight with fanfare the abolition of Article 370, enactment of Citizenship Amendment Act, laying the foundation stone of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, etc. on this occasion. After all, only a couple of days back Prime Minister Modi publicly broke down over the death of thousands across the country.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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