Puppy under the wheels

There was a time when Michael Jackson was like that. Anything he said was controversial, anything he did was controversial. Even his silence was golden. Then it was Diana. The media following she had was the reason the term ‘stalkarazzi’ was invented. There are several such personalities in the West on whom the media went crazy, but these two had the worst experiences with the stalkarazzi, one even losing the life.

India never had a personality on whom the media went so crazy. Well, not until 2002, when a chief minister of a state gained such a stature. Whatever he said became news, whatever he didn’t say became news. An interview where he walked out on the third question became more watched in YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHS_eSoOBzg

than the full interviews of other politicians. In fact, this incessant obsession with Modi has what propelled him to the centre stage and made him the dominant and polarising personality. In all of North India and most of urban and semi-urban South India, there is not a single person who hasn’t heard of Modi or who doesn’t have an opinion on Modi. That is a huge achievement and the credit goes to our media.

Having said that, it should be noted that he is also the most polarising figure in the history of Independent India. There isn’t another political personality who was so ardently hated, questioned, chased and dreaded.

Today, even a remark related to a puppy under the car became a controversy with all leaders, barring BJP, criticising Modi’s interview with Reuters, in which he argues for his humanity by citing an example of puppy being hit by a car. Obviously we’ll all feel sad, won’t we even if we were not the one driving the car!

That’s it. All hell broke loose with opposition parties kicking up the storm demanding immediate, unconditional apology. These are the people who don’t know the difference between analogy and reference. Be that as it may. If not puppy, something else that Modi said would have gained the front page news. So the folk at BJP shouldn’t really worry.

But then, how will life after the elections be? I mean, just imagine the BJP ends up winning the election and Modi is (obviously) selected as the head of the Parliamentary party, which means he is just inches away from the seat. Now how will the politicians across the parties respond? Will there be incessant protests like there were when Sonia announced her intention to run for prime ministership? What if Congress decides to stall the parliament forever because they can’t accept the ‘merchant of death’ as the PM? What if the left parties refused to attend the parliament sessions where Modi will be present? Worse, what if the Muslims organisations across North India decide to stage a nation-wide protest?

Can we assure that none of these things are possible? Knowing how our politics has been played and how polarising Modi has been so far and the reactions we saw to his appointment of the campaign committee head, is it possible to rule out any the hypothesis described in the above paragraph? If that were to happen what counter the BJP has to offer to overcome this? Can they identify a compromise candidate like how Manmohan Singh became for the Congress, so that Modi can operate that person from behind? After ridiculing the Congress for their proxy-PM practice for 10 years, will BJP be going the same route that the Congress took?

Or will Modi pull an ace from up his sleeve and turn the tide around to his favour? Let’s say in the form of an apology? Otherwise how far will this polarising tactics of the opposition parties go? Will anything stop the Modi juggernaut or will more puppies be hit and crushed underneath its wheels?