Dragging Balakote to the last polling day

By Sushil Kutty. Dated: 3/15/2019 12:20:11 PM

Opposition has to neutralize Modi's ploy

Unemployment is at a 45 year low. That is not fake news. It is the government talking. And, at least on this, nobody is contesting the government. So, jobs are an issue. Or, shall we say joblessness is an issue. For a while, in the month of January 2019, joblessness made headlines. Everybody was talking of NSSO and the lack of jobs numbers. The BJP was on the back foot and the Modi Government had no answers.
But then, February followed and Pulwama happened. Jobs went out the window. As did cow and cow vigilantism. Mandir and Masjid. Then, the Balakote pre-emptive strikes and Wing Commander Abhinandan's capture and release took most issues out of the reckoning and national security caught the imagination. The BJP was back to gung ho. Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined 'Ghar Mein Ghuske Marenge' and he was all over the place challenging the opposition and Pakistan.
Unemployment has not gone away. But the perception created is that it doesn't matter to the youth of the country, not at a time of a threat to national security from terror proxies of Pakistan. The youth are 65% below age 35 and 50% below age 25. Now, we're told General Elections 2019 will see 12 to 15 crore first time voters in the age 18-19. Are their concerns being addressed, what do they want? Put different, did the youth, who voted BJP overwhelmingly in 2014, get what they were promised and were expecting from Modi 1:0?
The simple answer to that is 'No'. Not all their aspirations and expectations were addressed. Modi did a lot of talking with the youth, getting pally with college students and schoolchildren in programmed gatherings, but the stats said a different story - the stats or the lack of stats on jobs and joblessness. He spoke of start-ups and the number of Mudra loans disbursed to young aspiring entrepreneurs, but the ground reports did not tally. The Opposition, however, failed to capitalize on unemployment and other insecurities plaguing young minds.
Result: The majority of the unemployed and underemployed youth are shouting 'Ghar Mein Ghuske Marenge' and quite a few are out on the streets beating up "Kashmiri and other anti-nationals". Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammed have become the focus of the youth, kept alive with nationalism and anti-nationalism. Certificates of nationalism, delivered or denied in television studios, have replaced Aadhaar. It's almost as if the polarization of youth along national and anti-national lines has become imperative to win GE 2019.
It's succeeding, too. The BJP is running away with the perception battle. And it is not helping that the Opposition has still not found a slogan to neutralize 'Ghar Mein Ghuske Marenge.' Rahul Gandhi's 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' has run out of steam post-Balakote. Time is running out for the Opposition. And if opposition leaders are thinking Modi cannot brag and drag Balakote through the thick and thin of GE 2019, right up to the last polling day, right into the last polling booth, they are in La La Land.
Balakote is Modi's ticket to a second term. Note that the Modi Government hasn't so far spoken of de-escalation. In fact, there's a serious effort not to even mention 'de-escalation'. IAF Chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa was emphatic that the 'war against terror' is not over. And if anybody is talking of 'peace' it's Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Pakistan Army, not Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his regime.
Also, sections of the India media are keeping war clouds afloat. There is no talk of de-escalation in TV studios. Proof of pinpoint strikes and definite kills, dissection of audio and visual evidence of Pakistani lies, continue to hog prime-time discourse. Every evening war drums reverberate in drawing rooms nationwide with Balakote and 'Ghar Mein Ghuske Marenge.' Rest assured such will be till the last day of polling this general elections. The Modi Government cannot hope to survive into another term without Balakote.
The fear is of another Pulwama or even a repeat 26/11. A loss of innocent lives, the martyrdom of soldiers, God forbid. Eve of elections anything can happen. Besides, Pakistan knows there is no de-escalation. Balakote called Pakistan's nuclear bluff and the Pakistani establishment is petrified of Narendra Modi. As far as the Pakistani elite is concerned, Modi is a dangerous unpredictable. Pakistan is not taking any chances. The Pakistan Navy has moved out of the Karachi Port and Gwadar Port and Pakistani airspace is open only to aircraft of three countries. Balakote will not go away till after May 19, last polling day. The Opposition needs to take note and neutralize Balakote.
—(IPA Service)



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