Has Amethi fallen?
Each and Every psephologist of this election looks very perplexed to find out whether Amethi has fallen from the hands of Nehru dynasty. The anxiety of the lutyens media has increased to certain extent that they even stopped talking about Amethi in their columns, articles and shows.
The way wind is blowing in an election can be gauged by the subtle signals given out by the leaders of each party. So let us try to understand what has really happened on the ground.
- Southern March of Nehru Family:
Prior to 2019, Nehru family has marched southwards for only couple of times. First one was in the year 1980 when Indira Gandhi contested from Medak in Andhra and other one was when Sonia Gandhi contested in 1999 from Bellary, Karnataka. Nehru family has peculiar behavior or pattern to fight in South to resurrect themselves politically whenever they are in real trouble. Both the previous elections one in 1980 and other in 1999 was real tough elections for Nehru family. They were unsure of the way wind was blowing in the country. During tough times they always will look towards South. So Rahul Gandhi contesting down south in Wayanad gives us the reading that the Nehru family is very much unsure about the way wind is blowing in the country.
2. Enormous Response to the Amit Shah’s Roadshow:
The roadshow conducted by Amit Shah on May 3rd has got enormous traction on the ground. It has vertically split the Amethi electorate into Old Guard vs the New Generation. The new generation does not show the loyalty as like the old guard towards Nehru family. This can also be seen as the way Indira Gandhi, Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi has impressed the old guards was not replicated by Rahul Gandhi towards the current generation. Across the villages this gap is widening each passing day and it seems Amethi electorate has really come of the age. Also the old guards felt bit dejected and disappointed with the way their loyalty has been put into test by Rahul Gandhi and way the option of Wayanad has been propped up with much fan fare than Amethi.
3. The growth of BJP Since 2014:
There was an insider story that during 2014 election Amit Shah was too confident and reported to then PM aspirant Modi that Rahul might be defeated in Amethi. But then Smriti Irani who contested against Rahul Gandhi also sensed the same and announced it against the wishes of then General Secretary Amit Shah during a television debate just few days before the poll which caused massive caution on the Congress side and the workers put in extra effort during last few days which changed the story completely. After that debate Amit shah has chided Smiriti Irani about her excitement and told her she lost a historic opportunity.
Leaving this story aside Smriti Irani and the Campaign Managers of BJP has put in extra efforts on the Nehru family bastion of Amethi and wiped out Congress during 2017 assembly elections and then in the rural body elections. Now there are more number of elected representatives of BJP in the form of MLAs, Councillors, Village Council Heads or Pradhans. This really gives a good start for BJP against Congress President.
4. Gathbandhan’s last minute call vs Ram Vilas Paswan’s Last minute Campaign:
Mayawati who always speaks out against Congress and BJP harshly and keep on threatening them day in and day out made a last minute open call to Dalits and Muslims to support Rahul Gandhi. This has been viewed by many as the ground slipping from the Nehru family’s feet.
While Mayawati makes an open call, BJP workers roped in weatherman of Indian politics Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan to campaign among Pasi caste – Sub caste among Dalits to split the Dalit voters in the middle. This shows how the BJP understands the caste dynamics of Amethi and tries to formulate it strategically to defeat Rahul Gandhi.
5. Smriti Irani’s Persistence:
The way Union Minister Smriti Irani lost a historic opportunity in 2014 or sensing there is an opening in the future continued her persistence and patience efforts in reaching out to Amethi electorate. She worked on creating a bond with the people of Amethi and finally earned her name as “Didi”. She did an excellent job in converting the fight as didi vs bhaiya. RSS in their closed door meetings expressed satisfaction about the efforts taken by Smriti Irani against mighty Nehru dynasty. Even few days before the poll there was an fire accident across one of the village where Union Minister was campaigning. She immediately stopped the campaign and started working on dousing the fire. She worked as a smart street politician not like an para dropped candidate.Across the Amethi electorate she earned very good name and it might be an x factor in this election.
6. Rahul Gandhi – An absentee:
Each and every electoral politician will try to create an bond with the electorate. Most of the leaders including stalwarts like Vajpayeeji, Advaniji will spend last few days of their campaign among their constituency. Even Rahul did the same during 2014 election by being with the electorate during last few days and also during polling day. Only exception to this is PM Modi who from the days of his re-election as CM during 2002 never campaigns in his constituency except during the nomination filing. He followed it rigorously with Maninagar Assembly segment and also with Vadodara and Varanasi. But Rahul who was much with the electorate of Amethi in 2014 was completely missing from Amethi in 2019. The high point was the day of Polling during which he did not even cared to be with the Amethi constituency. This is completely different from the practice of Nehru dynasty for past few decades. Either it is due to the confidence or the sensing the imminent defeat only the results can show that.
7. Post truth on Development:
The new generation across entire world believes in action against the boring ready made speeches of Politicians. Amethi is no different.The way BJP/RSS leaders working on nurturing their own constituencies is completely different from the way Rahul Gandhi has worked in Amethi. There are lot of grievances and disappointments across Amethi electorate against the MIA(Missing in Action) MP Rahul Gandhi.They carve for better roads,better drinking water,hospital facilities,educational Institutions. Inspite of being an VVIP constituency, Amethi has not even developed to its full potential.Congress supporters are being constantly queried on this for this whole election cycle.How the democratic wave of 1977 defeated the then mighty Indira Gandhi the carving of development wave has come to the doors of Nehru dynasty once again.
8. Sullied silence of Lutyens Media:
Lutyens media usually goes gunho whenever Amethi or Rae Baerli goes for Poll. They will work on producing more literature explaining the personal bond created by Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Images of these leaders would be promoted across the press and TV media to recreate the sympathy and personal relationship with the electorate. All these are missing across the board but compare this with the promotion of Rahul Gandhi across Wayanad constituency. There is something really amiss among the Congress campaign managers for Amethi.
This time Indian electorate might witness the fall of Nehru dynasty across Amethi against an ordinary filimiwala as like defeat of Ajit Singh in Baghpat during 2014 or it might be Nehru dynasty got confidence that Amethi is a cake walk this summer and planned to spend more time across other places,only time can tell. Let’s see the verdict on May 23.
– Harishankar Nagarajan