Has Modi overexposed himself in Bihar?

Has Modi overexposed himself in Bihar?
Has Modi overexposed himself in Bihar?

Navin Upadhyay

New Delhi, Oct 27

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]P[/dropcap]rime Minister Narendra Modi’s rallies in Bihar may be drawing good response, but the reactions on the ground show that the PM might have “overexposed”: himself. Never in the past, any Prime Minister put at stake his personal pride in a state election like Modi has done in the case of Bihar. In terms of sheer number of rallies, Modi has surpassed the tally of last year’s Maharashtra election also.

Modi’s all rallies are telecast live on local TV channels. The telecast starts at least 15 minutes before the rally and ends up with at least 15 minutes of wrap up. So, on the day Modi holds three rallies, the viewrss get nearly five hours of his sound, bite and visuals. In addition, the BJP has given hours of daily advertisement on local TV channels and full pages ads in local newspaper conveying Modi’s mantra for development of Bihar and his vitriolic attack on Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad. Experience of the past has shown that such excess publicity also comes with a baggage: it reminds voters of the unfulfilled promises the leader had made in the past.

The “overkill” has begun to show itself in the people’s disenchantment with Modi. His high-decibel attack at his rivals and promises of the moon to the voters do not any more raise that sort of “Mexican wave” of clapping and chants of “Har har Modi” that was hallmark of the his Lok sabha election campaign. A section of the crowd does break in a perfunctory ” Har har Modi” , but the singsong lacks passion and power. After all, much of what Modi promised in Lok Sabha polls remains in the air whereas the rising prices of pulse and edible oil have made a mockery of the “acche din: dream.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]D[/dropcap]uring extensive travelling across central Bihar during the first two phases of the polls this correspondent saw unmistakable signs that though Modi still retains his charm and charisma, but his “promises” were coming under critical scrutiny. At several places, people talked about his promise to bring back ‘black money’ and “acche din”. His promise to teach lesson to Pakistan and China, his avowal to create millions of jobs for unemployed youth, and his lofty claims that Goddess Lakshmi will herself walk into the household of the poor (if he was voted to power), are now recalled with anger and skepticism. The price rise has demolished Modi’s carefully cultivated image of a man who held the cure to all the ills that plagued India.

Ironically, the one scheme—opening back accounts to the poor—for which Modi takes maximum credit is also the one which is getting him the maximum brickbats. In village after village, the poor and uneducated people claimed they were tricked in opening the bank accounts by their bank mangers or local BJP workers under the impression that black money coming from abroad will flow into their accounts.

Obliviously, the Prime minister does not realize that “excess’ o anything can be counterproductive. Bu there are not many in the party who could dare to counsel the all-power man with a 56-inch chest!

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]alk to any journalist involved in covering the election and they would tell you about the side effect of Modi’s overexposure. “Modi is losing his charisma among voters due to the “overkill”, The BJP may have to pay a heavy price for its excess reliance on the Prime mistier in a state elections,” says veteran journalist Sankarshan Thakur, who is on a whirlwind tour of the state.

Writing in The Telegraph, Sankarshan, an avid Bihar watcher, summed up the “overkill in a write up—Har har Modi arhar Modi. The play of words will not be lost on anyone who has to pay almost three fold price for a kilogram of arhar ( pulse) since the Modi government came to power.

Sometime those who propagate a myth start themselves believing in it. This may be the case with the Modi and his managers. It may be too late to undertake a course correction.

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