New Delhi, Oct 26 (): Rahul Gandhi’s emotional touch to his speech and his wooing of the poor seems to have made Modi shift from his pro-middle class stance, going by his Bundelkand speech yesterday.
Going by the election speeches of the star campaigners of the two national parties, India has two classes of voters, Rahul Gandhi’s Garib Kisan (poor farmers) and Modi’s middle class and corporates. As the campaign took steam, the focus seems to be shifting.
In Aligarh and Rampur rally in UP, Congress speech writers brought in the youth into Rahul Gandhi’s speech as the ‘Modi magic’ is seen to have caught the fancy of the young electorate, besides backing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wishful thinking that it will be the youth that will lead UPA 3, if formed.
The strategy that the Rahul Gandhis ‘bar pet rate khaayenge, Congress ko vaapas laayenge’ slogan and his promise that the half roti they are eating will be a full one backed with emotionally charged narration of Sonia Gandhi’s tears in the eyes for not being able to vote for the Food Security Bill did to a certain extent counter Modi’s bid to cash in on the middle class resentment on rising food prices.
But, while the India Inc backed Modi brigade,it has not been so far said what it would do for the middle class. The Congress has decided to propagate the Food Security Bill to the hilt and has gone silent on land acquisition bill that was hailed as a historic legislation to benefit farmers.The Congress, though, would have to go beyond the speeches.
The 2009 report of the Indian State Hunger Index prepared by the International Food Research Institute says 17 states’ position on hunger is alarming as per the index of Global Hunger 2008 and not one state in India is coming in the ‘low hunger’ or ‘moderate hunger’ category.
The Food Security Bill should change all that for the poor to accept Rahul Gandhi as their saviour. Here again, a startling report on the SC community Mushahars that numbers one million in UP, that was in the news, for eating rats to keep themselves away from hunger do not know that the government has a scheme to supply food grains at Rs 2 instead of Rs 16.
If the food program is rolled out faster, then it could be a game changer in UP and Bihar, crucial to any party that wants to come to power in Delhi.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won 21 seats in UP due to the benefit of the loan waiver scheme. The alienation of Muslims from the SP for joining with Kalyan Singh seen as man behind the Babri mosque demolition was yet another factor then but it is not so now.
BSP leader Mayawati who knew that offering of food grains at Rs 2 to below poverty level families would hit her and so she raised doubts about it in Parliament. This doubt is now circulated in her State as pamphlets which show her as anti- poor. In a damage control mode, she wants food grains to be given at Re 1 to SC and ST and BC. SP started a ‘pichra varg yatra’ to foil the Congress pro- poor game.
Rahul Gandhi like his grand mom Indira Gandhi (Garibi hatao and roti kapada aur makan) has pitched for ‘Yuva, Mahila aur Garib’ (youth, women and poor) which he says would rule in 2014.
Rahul raising the bar and blaming BJP for communal clashes in UP and elsewhere has put Modi on the back foot. The Bundelkand speech of Modi hitting out directly at shehazade (prince) Rahul Gandhi and his family shows a shift from his harping on Gujarat’s growth.
In the coming days, the wooing of vote banks would be more aggressive and speeches by both star campaigners shriller. BJP has however downplayed the Mandal and Mandir slogans till now.