Likens Modi to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
GN Bureau | June 4, 2012
In contrast to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Hindi mouthpiece ‘Panchjanya’ taking on Narendra Modi for his ego trips to insult seniors in the BJP, its English counterpart magazine ‘Organiser’ projects him as "by far the most popular leader in the country today" who can be a mascot like former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to ride the party to power at the centre.
"Projecting charismatic leadership is essential to bring the party to power at the centre. Else, it may have to be content to jockey for some relevance in a post poll scenario to bring a motley third front coalition to power," says noted psephologist and BJP member GVL Narasimha Rao in a column in the magazine.
"The Congress is certain to suffer a humiliating defeat in 2014, but merely banking on the Congress party’s sliding popularity may take the BJP only half the distance in its run for power," Rao writes in "Organiser" while discussing whether the BJP and its led NDA would be able to channelise the anti-Congress mood in their favour to return to power at the centre.
He argues that the BJP can benefit from the anti-Congress vote "only if the BJP projects a popular leader whose appeal transcends state boundaries" and affirms that Modi "as the BJP’s mascot has the ability to expand the party’s appeal and vote base across the country, much like Vajpayee did in the 1990s."
Rao claims Modi would deliver huge gains to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and help it cross a threshold level of vote share to start winning seats in states like Orissa and Haryana and improve vote share substantially in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal to make it an attractive pre-poll alliance partner.
"The number of BJP allies grew between 1996 and 1999 principally because regional parties saw an accretion in their strength owing to the incremental vote that Vajpayee had delivered to them. The same would work for the BJP with Narendra Modi at the helm," he added.
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