NEW DELHI – The massive human sufferings migrant workers and the poor had to go through after the imposition of a brutal lockdown in the country has shaken the faith the electorate had reposed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Leave alone fence-sitters, even the committed voters of Modi are directly blaming him for their plight complaining that the prime minister couldn’t care less about them.
The simmering discontent against Modi was evident from the interaction the migrant workers had with the media. The BBC Hindi telecast an interview of a migrant worker heading to UP from Punjab on a bicycle with his children. The disgruntled worker squarely held the PM for his miseries.
He says he is happy that PM Modi’s life is going well while he is undergoing enormous hardship under the brutal lockdown he imposed on the country. He broke down while uttering these words. The video clip of the worker complaining about his woes to Modi in a sarcastic way captured the imagination of millions as it went viral on social media.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that those who voted the BJP will not vote it any more citing the sufferings of the migrants.
Jammun Jha, a textile factory worker who lost his job in Noida due to the lockdown, said he had voted Modi in the Lock Sabha elections last year. But the next time he goes to vote, he would keep in mind all the sufferings he went through due to the lockdown.
“Why did he abandon us? The Modi government did very little for us this time. Surely, people who have suffered like me will remember what we have experienced when we vote next,” said Jha.
This is how the pent-up anger is waiting to explode against Modi even though he is projected by the media as the most popular leader of the country today. Just a year ago, his party registered a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha by running a toxic campaign of muscular nationalism. However, the BJP lost assembly elections in Delhi in 2020. As the Bihar assembly elections are approaching, it is to be seen if this anger will result in anti-BJP swing at the hustings.
“These very migrants once used to speak highly of Modi. See how critical of him now,” wondered Shaibal Gupta, an economist and founder of the Asian Development Research Institute in Bihar. “Their discontent at the raw deal they received from the government will have an impact on the elections in Bihar. They will vote against Modi’s party and his coalition partner,” he predicted.
Kishem Kumar Sharma, 28, who is paralysed from waist down after an accident, was thrown out of his rented accommodation. His treatment was suspended after the hospital was put on Covid-19 alert. His brothers lost their jobs. He has to go to his village in UP on a wheelchair along with his family members who walked with him.
Sharma said that they were treated by the government worse than animal. He had voted the BJP earlier, but from now he won’t commit the same mistake.
“Even animals are treated better. Modi has been talking a lot, but his government did nothing for us during this crisis,” he said. “I voted for the BJP, but next time I won’t.”