Yash Gandhi
Modi and the UP Polls
This article originally appeared in CRI content has now been subsumed in The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of

‘Will he, won’t he (campaign in UP)?’

That seems to have become the single most important issue over the past few days. Needless to say, the ‘he’ in question is Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has not yet been seen in the election arena in the 5 poll bound states. Intriguingly, more than Narendra Modi or the BJP it is the media and sections of parties hostile to the BJP that are more worried about whether or not Modi will jump the poll bandwagon in poll bound Uttar Pradesh. This prompted eminent journalists to endlessly Tweet about whether a person aiming to be Prime Minister can afford to miss such a crucial campaign. Yet again, the media coverage Modi in or out of UP has overshadowed any constructive issue related to the corruption of the BSP, the poor track record and opportunism of the SP or the parachute politics of the Congress and its heir apparent.

It would be totally correct to say that a malicious attempt is being constantly made to portray Narendra Modi as somebody who is ‘above’ the party itself. Strangely, nobody seems to question Rahul Gandhi’s obvious highhandedness that often puts his own party and the Prime Minister in a spot. But what Modi does (or does not do) is always interpreted as a challenge to the party. It is very sad that this is the case. Right from his association with the ABVP, RSS and later on the BJP, Narendra Modi has diligently and dutifully followed whatever the party has asked him to do even performing it with great efficiency. When factions of the BJP were squabbling over posts and Chief Minister-ship through the 1990s Narendra Modi dutifully remained aloof from such politics, preferring to work for the Party across the country thus winning the trust of every senior leader of the BJP. It is renunciation more than arrogance that defines Narendra Modi but it’s a pity the media prefers to hide it.

In context of the poll bound states, one must respect the decision-making mechanism of every party. Narendra Modi may well be on the way to Uttar Pradesh as the campaign unfolds but the media has preferred to take the easier way out and jump to incorrect conclusions. It has escaped the eye of the mainstream media (perhaps deliberately) that a team fro the BJP Minority Cell has set sail for UP where they will address their counterparts on the favorable development of minorities in Gujarat. In any case, Rahul Gandhi addressed scores of rallies in Bihar and Tamil Nadu but what was the result? Be rest assured even one rally by Modi will give more stunning results than the dozens of ‘rallies’ India’s first family undertakes in any poll bound state. It would have been better if the media jumped to conclusions after the elections not before the first vote is case.

On the entire issue of Modi and campaign is UP I foresee four possible permutations. If Modi went there and the party won it would be dubbed as the ‘collective hard work of the BJP Gen Next in which one Narendra Modi played a minor role.’ If Modi went and the BJP performed poorly it would read, ‘Modi campaign costs BJP dear in UP.’ Now the scenarios if Modi does not go- if he does not go and the party does well its, ‘BJP shows Modi his place, shows he is not a force outside Gujarat’ and if he does not go and the BJP performs poorly the discourse is ‘Modi’s selfish attitude costs the BJP the state of UP.’ No one will care to write that almost all candidates wanted Narendra Modi to canvass in their seat- such is the popularity of the man!

Even reports about Modi not campaigning in Punjab or Uttarakhand were marked with highest level of immaturity and falsification of facts. It was very conveniently forgotten that with a series of Sadbhavana fasts in his own state and the Republic Day celebrations, coming out of Gujarat could have been difficult for Narendra Modi. At the same time why hasn’t the media asked whether say an Oommen Chandy or a Tarun Gogoi campaigned in any of the poll bound states? The epithet of a campaign shirker has been mischievously reserved for Narendra Modi at a time when nobody even knows the complete facts.

It is high time the media realizes that elections in UP are much more than Narendra Modi- there is widespread corruption and stagnation in UP due to the votebank politics of the Congress, the arrogance of BSP and the confused SP. It is high time we discuss the manifestos and vision statements of the parties rather than who is not campaigning and why. The fact remains that Modi does not need EC guidelines to be called a ‘star campaigner’- he was and will remain the star campaigner for the party. Who goes to campaign where is the decision of the party and both Modi and the BJP will act keeping in mind the best interests of the party. In the meanwhile, the media and the Congress High Command should listen to their Gujarat Unit and their senior most CM Sheila Dixit on what Narendra Modi is really all about- a development oriented mass leader with a clear vision for India!

Yash Gandhi is a friend of CRI and also blogs at