By Fahad Moti Khan:
I’m not in denial about Modi’s popularity. He is a very popular leader with cult following that cuts across class, gender and, perhaps, caste lines. Religion, of course, is his primary dividing line and also the key differentiator, thus it’s safe to assume that most people who do not follow Hinduism, are wary of Modi.
Many of my friends, including some very close ones, support Modi. Then there are social media acquaintances who are die-hard Modi fans jumping to offense and defence on anything that concerns the man and his detractors. It’s amply clear that the followers of Modi want him to lead the country at anyÂ cost and, perhaps, that explains the intolerance on display.
In my observation, Modi’s followers are not chasing a cohesive, common goal. Their expectations from their leader, if he comes to power, are diverse. Some very obvious ones that I came across are:
– People angry with what they believe is minority appeasement and suppression of the majority. These are not the hard-core Hindutva ideology followers but the ones who feel Hindus are being wronged.
– People generally angry with Muslims/Christians and vying for a Pakistan-like majoritarian rule. This is the hard-core RSS ideology lot with ‘Akhand Bharat‘, ‘Hindu Rashtra’ vision.
– People angry with the Gandhi family and ready to pay any price to remove them from power. They believe Modi will send them packing to Italy and rid the country of their ‘evil’ control.
– People angry with the state of the economy in the country. They don’t care two hoots about any inclusive growth/corruption stuff. They are interested in 9% growth rate at any cost and they feel Modi is capable of achieving that.
– People angry with Bangladeshi immigration. This includes a lot of Assamese people and others who are concerned with the rising influx. They believe that Modi will teach the Bangladeshis a lesson and send them packing.
– People angry with Pakistan. This is a huge lot that wants Pakistan to be taught a lesson, so hard, that they become subservient to India. They believe and relish the fact that Modi is sending jitters down Pakistan’s spine.
– People angry with caste-based reservation and believe that Modi will have the courage to dismantle it.
While the reasons are diverse, there is one common thread that binds them all. His supporters are angry and want Modi to teach someone or the other a lesson. The quest for inflicting the punishment is so huge that they do not care about the credentials of Modi. All they see is a seemingly strong leader capable of taking harsh decisions without the fear of upsetting the liberal lot globally. They do not care if he has killed one man or thousands; they don’t care if he has deserted his wife; they don’t care if he is lying through his teeth with regards to his state’s overall development; they don’t care if he is evading tough questions; they don’t even care to note that so far he has played nothing but safe whether it’s the choice of his constituencies, fixed interviews or PR blitz; they don’t care for his unsavoury discourse devoid of statesmanship. They are willing to defend anything to install this man as the PM. He represents their anger in some form or the other and there hope of a revenge. It’s an unprecedented collective denial the size of Mount Everest.
For a Modi supporter, there is always some defence. Whether it’s the Gujarat riots (Congress did it too) or desertingÂ his wife (Buddha did it too) or stalking a woman (girl’s dad has no issues) and so on. Try writing anything against Modi and there is a ready defence in the form of an existing precedence or supposed conspiracy.
If Modi wins, I’m apprehensive of the leadership that has risen to power riding abject and dark negativity. Acchhe din? I have my doubts.