Modi enlarges KCR's stature, more by default than design

This left the "saffron brigade" red-faced, for what should have been dominated by saffron ended up flaunting the pink colour on the streets of Hyderabad.

Modi enlarges KCRs stature, more by default than design

HYDERABAD: The BJP has inadvertently enlarged the political stature of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao through its many acts of commission and omission, ever since it has chosen Hyderabad as the venue for its national executive meeting.

Beginning from Amit Shah to JP Nadda, from Piyush Goyal to Bandi Sanjay, from Kishan Reddy to Smriti Irani, all leaders trained their guns at KCR and the TRS. If this is construed as an act of commission, it has drawn the attention of media.

Well, the most significant was the act of omission by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. While the BJP's rank and file perceived that this "grand omission" would obscure KCR and TRS, it has, indeed, turned out to be an anti-climax of sorts. The unthinkable happened. His complete avoidance of taking the names of KCR and TRS during his address at the public meeting caught the attention of one and all.

With the very choice of Hyderabad as a venue for its national executive, the BJP began its political shenanigans that indeed rubbed KCR, who has been nursing ambition of launching a national alternative to the BJP and the Congress. Reasons for the political faceoff between KCR and Modi are all too well known.

Buoyed by the victories in four Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections, a win in the byelections of Dubbak and Huzurabad Assembly seats, wresting a significant number of corporator seats in the GHMC from the TRS, the BJP amplified its political activity in Telangana in the last three years.

The party sought to create a buzz to use the opportunity to demonstrate its might by implementing its P2P (Panchayat to Parliament) formula. They party indeed wanted to make a loud statement that it would not take any election lying down. It's with this gameplan, it wanted to corner the TRS, first by creating a scare and next by chasing, if not hounding, it in elections.

Initially, the TRS apparently camouflaged its internal strategies on how to combat the political onslaught of the BJP. Hence the silence in the first week after the announcement of the plan to conduct the national executive in Hyderabad.

But the super-brains within the TRS worked overtime to throw the proverbial spanner in the works of the ruling party at the Centre. They first worked on the visual appeal. The State Government blocked all the vantage advertising spaces in Hyderabad, front covers and upper-most jackets of all major English and vernacular dailies.

This left the "saffron brigade" red-faced, for what should have been dominated by saffron ended up flaunting the pink colour on the streets of Hyderabad.

What did TRS do with the ad spaces and where did the BJP flunk?

It may not be exactly the story of Hare and Tortoise from the Aesop's Fables. But surely it is the case of a 'Mountain and a Squirrel' – a poem penned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The fabulous squirrel tells the humongous mountain:

"…Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;

If I cannot carry forests on my back,

Neither can you crack a nut."

Now we know who the mountain is and who the squirrel is.

Much before the designers and visualisers of the BJP came into picture, the creative messaging paraded the successes of the KCR Administration. It highlighted every shade of the best practices that perched Telangana on a higher pedestal, even by the measure of the BJP-led Union Government on almost every aspect - from 'Ease of Doing Business" to "Highest per capita income" to "highest GSDP growth".

The TRS made an underlying statement that it's not the billboards that matter, but the content does. That the detailed information published by the TRS on all platforms may not have been read by all the target audience. Yet, the TRS was emphatic in asserting that it has done so much to claim credit for.

The BJP, on its part, exposed that it was long on rhetoric and short on substance. The mundane advertisements put up only the "brave" faces of the BJP leaders on them with hardly any messaging to convey.

Even as the BJP was gloating over its "bulldozer" grandiloquence, the strength of Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath and the high-decibel criticism of Bandi Sanjay, president of the party's State unit, KCR took out the proverbial rabbit from the magical hat by loudly pronouncing the TRS's endorsement of the candidacy of Yashwant Sinha for the post of President of India.

This caught the BJP unawares, for it was least expected of KCR, who was avowedly opposed to joining hands with any group that has Congress as part.

The rousing reception and the bike rally in which he was taken by KCR surprised Mr Yashwant Sinha too.

KCR made his national pitch with an unabated flow of speech laced with his fascinating oratorical skill – without the use of any teleprompter – and the clarity of his thoughts and words impaling the failures of Modi Regime.

The series of press meets by the BJP leaders suddenly lost track of building up the agenda for its national executive. Instead, the political behemoth in India – the BJP -- unwittingly walked into the trap laid by the puny regional political party and grappled to wriggle out of it. It's surely the TRS which emphatically set the agenda for the BJP's national executive and its public posturing, a fact that has hit the national headlines.

The TRS actually ragged the BJP by putting up novel hoardings like Britannia Good Day, 'Money Heist' characters' protest in front of PSUs, the 'Saalu Modi-Sampaku Modi' (Enough Modi, Don't kill Modi) sloganeering, and the clear demonstration of one-upmanship on Twitter with the highest number of topics that drew the national attention from the tweeple. The twitter war was won by TRS. Even as the Prime Minister was delivering his address at the Parade Grounds in Secunderabad, a hashtag "#JumlaKingModi" trended on the top for a long time.

With political daggers out and battle lines clearly drawn, what's in store is surely an end game, but not a 'mend game'.

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