THE worst part of the Opposition effort to oust Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi at any cost was the failed idea of false propaganda. The Opposition believed that by resorting to mere propagandism, it would be able to pull the rug from under the Prime Minister’s feet. However, that idea failed to germinate into practical gains. Much to the contrary, the biggest gainers were the Prime Minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). For, the propagandist misadventure of the Opposition actually acted as a booster dose to the strategy of BJP national President Mr. Amit Shah and his army of election managers; they got such a massive publicity for no cost, which they were smart enough to turn to their advantage. Yet, nobody can discount the initial gains the Opposition -- especially the Congress party -- registered when the propaganda campaign was launched about two years ago.
The propaganda blitzkrieg made a good impact in the initial stages, almost making many sections of the larger Indian society to believe that there could be some substance in the allegations the Opposition was heaping on the ruling NDA in general and Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in particular. Lies after lies flew in the air from Opposition camp, all make-believe narratives that cornered people to start thinking, doubting, and in good numbers believing the untruth. So successful was the initial attack that a good part of elite and urban India started almost believing the hype and hoax as truth.
It was during those initial days that stories, too, started flowing around in the society about how the Modi Government was flunking in everything, botching up every project, gobbling money in Rafale deal ...! And then came a well-planned campaign about the Prime Minister was going to find things very difficult in the next Lok Sabha elections, at least 18 months away. Stories also started doing the rounds about how Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was proving to be a disaster in administration and how the BJP was going to face the challenge of reduced number of seats in UP when the nation would elect the next Lok Sabha. So powerful was that propaganda that even those who had never visited Uttar Pradesh started believing and telling one another how the BJP would prove a flop in the Lok Sabha elections in the country’s most populous State. Obviously, the propaganda machine was working. And then came the most nonsensical of ideas from the Congress camp -- ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’.
So insistently and persistently was the Congress pushing the hoax of the Prime Minister’s involvement in the Rafale deal that many people started wondering if there was some substance in the allegation. In all his rallies and public meetings, Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi made people chant ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’. This was how Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Goebbels operated -- based on a proven theory that if a lie is fed to humans for a long time, they believe it to be a truth. But even if some consultant told Mr. Gandhi to follow that ideal, he seemed to have failed in cautioning the Congress leader that the Goebbelsian principle also worked on the practitioner himself. For, after some time, the practitioner, the spreader of untruth, also tended to believe that it was truth.
So, Mr. Rahul Gandhi fell prey to his own trap he was laying for Mr. Modi. In due course of time, the people realised the nonsense in ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ chant, but Mr. Rahul Gandhi and his people became firm believers in the falsehood they were spreading. That was the point when the tide started turning against the Congress and other Opposition parties. The people started realising how falsehood was being foisted on them. That was also the time when the BJP’s response to the Opposition propagandism started paying better dividends. And that was actually the most opportune moment -- not too close to the elections and not too far back in time. That was how the idea of propagating falsehood as truth started failing.
That was when the people across the Indian landscape started realising how the Opposition had tried to take them for a ride -- of rank stupidity, unbridled nonsense. And that was the point when the Opposition’s idea of building a propaganda of falsehood around Mr. Modi and his Government and his party and his grand alliance failed miserably, unquestionably. The only trouble was that the Opposition never realised this stark reality on the ground. All of its leaders loitered around in a Fool’s Paradise, oblivious to the fact that the people -- the voters -- had woken up a long time back, and were ready to toss the Opposition into the garbage bin. On May 23, exactly that happened. But then, it was too late for the Opposition to do anything to stem the failure of the propagandist idea that took them to their nemesis, their nadir, their place at the bottom of the dump.
But as they tried to engineer electoral campaign to defame Mr. Modi by doctoring facts, colouring those in the darkest of shades, the Opposition leaders did the nation a lot of dis-service. They obliterated public discourse so badly that common people started hating politics per se, a loss our democracy got hurt to an extent. By some divine grace, however, the elections remained unaffected by the falsehood, and the people chose the right people to lead the nation. It is not possible to predict if the Opposition will learn the right lessons from this experience.
Yet, taking a lead from Mr. Narendra Modi, we would hope that in right time, the Opposition will become wiser from the experience and shed eventually all the dirty designs they harboured in their heads and hearts. We join Mr. Modi in hoping that wisdom will dawn on the Opposition to give up the nonsense they befriended. This optimism apart, we still suffer from justifiable trepidation on this count. We are not sure if Opposition will ever learn!