One thing is sure, the Modi government knows well how to manage the headlines and the narrative. Even before the special session they had the entire country embroiled in the Bharat vs India debate. And once the special session ended, the debate has shifted to whether the government will retain the words “socialist and secular” in the Constitution or not. The copies of the Constitution distributed to all the MPs at the end of the Special Session reflected the original document and not the changes carried out later. This has got the speculation going as to whether the plan is to once again amend the Constitution and drop these two words. As an aside, if the current trends are right, the BJP is not expected to do well in the coming state elections. However, even the sceptics concede that the party will retain its hold over the Centre and will return to power in some shape or form after the next Lok Sabha polls. But since any constitutional amendment has to be passed both by the state Assemblies as well as the Parliament, if the PM and his team want to undertake any such changes, then it may make better sense to attempt the same sooner rather than later. Which makes one wonder as to what the PM is planning to do next.
Checking the Congress Pulse
The Congress rally in Hyderabad that took place during the CWC session there was well attended and drew a sizeable crowd. This has led to an upbeat mood amongst state Congress leaders who are fairly optimistic about the coming elections in Telangana and are even talking about repeating the Karnataka win here—only the BRS chief is much more in control of his state, than the BJP was in Karnataka. Add to this optimism the party’s prospects in the North—with the Congress hoping to win Madhya Pradesh, retain Chhattisgarh and even pull off a surprise in Rajasthan. To counter this optimism, the BJP is playing up the Sanatam Dharma controversy in the North, and is hoping that at least in Madhya Pradesh, this may swing the tide against the Congress. This is one reason why Congress chief ministerial hopeful and state PCC chief Kamal Nath has made it clear that he does not endorse Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments and wants the party to do the same. Nath is wary of Swami Ramidbhadracharya’s clarion call against those denigrating Sanatan Dharma, and is leaving no ambiguity as to which side of the Hindutva divide he belongs to. But at least the Congress is back to focusing on winning elections rather than just criticising the Prime Minister.
Bharat Jodo Part 2
There have been unconfirmed reports that Rahul Gandhi will be embarking on another Bharat Jodo Yatra covering those states that were left out. But some Congress leaders point out that this is also a distraction as the entire Congress set-up gets involved in the yatra instead of focusing in election strategy and other party work. On the anvil are not just the Lok Sabha polls but also some crucial Assembly elections. So perhaps the yatra may be deferred, with Rahul undertaking short issue-based interactions with select sections of society, as he did with the porters and vegetable sellers recently. After all, the yatra is not just a physical process but also a state of mind.