Going by his speech, the Opposition parties have no interest in using Parliament to debate the government’s policies or legislation.
Any student of warfare would be well aware of the meaning and significance of the phrase, “battle of nerves”. Oft-used, it indicates a conflict that involves deployment of psychological tactics such as bluff, bluster, threat and intimidation designed primarily to create confusion, indecision or breakdown of the morale of opponents. It involves inducing self-doubt among opponents by projecting a self-image, which may be far better than the reality.
In Indian history, Chanakya is acknowledged to be the strategist who deployed such tactics to defeat the army of an enemy empire, whose mere fear forced world-conquering troops led by Alexander of Macedonia to rebel against their master.
In 21st-century India, one of the best practitioners of such tactics is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When Mr Modi gets a stage to speak, he deploys all references and barbs which make his rivals feel like minions, and magnifies his own image, giving himself and his party a saintly aura. The speech that Mr Modi gave in answer to the Congress-led Opposition alliance’s no-confidence motion was replete with references that sought to undermine the credibility of his rivals.
Going by his speech, the Opposition parties have no interest in using Parliament to debate the government’s policies or legislation. Mr Modi accused the Opposition of being power-hungry, saying that all their actions were aimed only at coming to power by hook or by crook.
In his speech, Mr Modi claimed that the Opposition parties would not hesitate to block India’s development, if it could unseat the BJP from power. It would like people to believe that all Opposition parties are corrupt to the core and that the BJP alone upholds the national interest.
Talking about economic opportunity, the Prime Minister said the world is at a critical juncture and the choices that we make now would shape the country’s journey in the next 1,000 years. He said that opportunity exists for India’s youth to become job-givers, an essentially aspirational status that most people like to have, which is also the future that his government wants the country to have.
Mr Modi also ridiculed the statement of Congress leader P. Chidambaram that the Indian economy has got the momentum to become the world’s third largest even if nothing was done by the government. Pointing to the flaw in logic therein, he said that it was such that it would make people look at Mr Modi as a visionary, and the Congress as a gang of lazy leaders whose prime concern was to capture power at the Centre.
Unlike his earlier election-time speeches which seek to rally around Hindus, Mr Modi sought to focus on his slogan, Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. Several times in his speech, he referred to 140 crore Indians. This would make several partners of the Opposition alliance, INDIA, look pale in comparison, as many of its partners have a regional outlook, while the Congress seeks to adopt a more strident, socialist approach that could alienate the upwardly-mobile middle classes.
Another key aspect of his speech was an effort to puncture the confidence of rivals. Though the BJP realigned its political approach towards alliances after its defeat in Karnataka, Mr Modi exuded confidence that the party would remain in power for the foreseeable future and dismissed Rahul Gandhi as a “defective product”.
Mr Modi was at his rhetorical best when he dismissed the Opposition as a black spot that protects an adorable item from getting damaged by a jealous evil eye. The Lok Sabha witnessed the trailer of the battle of nerves 2024. Indians can get ready for the blockbuster next year.