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Why my first ever vote was against the BJP

By An Indian
Last updated on: October 15, 2014 16:40 IST
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Even if the BJP wins Maharashtra because of a division of votes, I want to be counted as one of those who voted against Modi, declares this 42-year-old Indian who voted for the first time on Wednesday.

My first ever vote -- I have never once visited a polling booth in my 42 years -- was against Narendra Modi.

Every child knows that one needs to score 35 percent marks out of 100 to pass an exam. But if you want to be the prime minister of India, then you need only 31 percent of voters to vote for you. You don't need 35 percent of India to vote for you to become prime minister.

Sixty-nine percent of Indian voters voted against Modi in the 2014 parliamentary election, but such is the irony of our democracy that he became prime minister.

I, who did not vote in the 2014 general election, felt I had missed the opportunity to be counted as someone who voted against Modi.

Even if the Bharatiya Janata Party wins Maharashtra because of a division of votes, I want to be counted as one of those who voted against Modi in the assembly election.

Even if the BJP wins a majority in the Maharashtra assembly election, you will realise that the vote share of the other four parties -- the Congress, the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena -- together will be more than the BJP's vote share.

I want my vote to be counted as one that voted against the BJP. I am sure that more than 50 percent of voters will vote against the BJP in the Maharashtra assembly election today.

I also felt the urge to vote for the first time because of Modi's stand against Maharashtra's interests.

As a reporter I have covered the assembly election in Gujarat. In every election, Modi, then the chief minister of Gujarat, claimed that 'Delhi ki sultanat' wanted to destroy Gujarat. He was targeting the Congress party which he said wanted to rule Gujarat via remote control.

At every election meeting he made this point and Gujaratis ensured that Modi was elected because they did not want an outsider -- the 'Delhi ki sultanat' -- to rule them.

I have heard Modi indict the 'Delhi ki sultanat' in the 2002, 2007 and 2012 Gujarat assembly elections.

Cut to the 2014 Maharashtra assembly elections and what do you see?

Ever since Modi took over as prime minister, he has become the Sultan, someone who wants to control Maharashtra from Delhi. He dumped his party's 25-year alliance in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena and now asks for votes in the name of development.

The BJP under Modi apparently know only one way -- 'My way or the highway.'

Just look at the BJP's election campaign in Maharashtra. In every BJP advertisement, you see Modi taking Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's name, but you never see a single image of the Great Maratha with Modi.

All the ads say: 'Chalo Modi ke saath.' There is no mention of the BJP or any of its other leaders.

Chalo Modi ke saath. Par kidhar? (Where do we go with Modi?) He is the prime minister of India and not going to give up that post to become chief minister of Maharashtra.

After the deaths of Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde, the BJP does not have a single leader in Maharashtra who has proved her or his mettle. Worse, the party has no organisational structure in the 171 assembly seats in Maharashtra from where the Shiv Sena contested recent assembly elections.

Ask Maharashtra's voters to name five BJP leaders from the state and they will be hard pressed to do so. The only leaders that may come to mind are Nitin Gadkari and Prakash Javdekar, Modi's ministers.

What this means is that the vote is not for the BJP in Maharashtra, but for Modi sitting in Delhi.

So how is Modi different from the Congress party's 'high command' which controlled its chief minister from Delhi?

On the corruption front too, I am puzzled by the BJP's choices.

Anil Gote, an accused in the infamous Telgi scam, is contesting the election from Dhule as part of the BJP front, but no one can question Modi on this. The prime minister does not entertain questions from the media.

Modi also shared the stage at a Mumbai rally with fugitive gangster Chotta Rajan's brother Deepak Sadashiv Nikhalje, a candidate of the Republican Party of India-Athawale, a BJP ally in Maharashtra.

So how are Modi and the BJP different from the other parties they damn at election rallies and in newspaper advertisements?

These are not the questions Modi bhakts would like to hear.

For all the Modi bhakts incensed by this column, I would like them to know that it is my duty is to ask questions, and also to be counted among those voters who will vote against the new Sultan of Delhi in the election today.

Image published only for representational purposes only.

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