Narendra Modi’s toast in Aligarh, trailer in Srinagar, teaser for Assam and Bengal

The world’s most efficient election machinery has got back to work like a nimble giant. This giant is not gawky. It does not flail its arms awkwardly to terrify its enemy.

It moves quietly, swiftly and silently like a horde of wild elephants. It moves with great purpose. Each movement is coordinated by a central processor –– a single thinking mind or a committee or minds.

When the giant taps in Aligarh, a table vibrates in Srinagar. When a table shakes in Srinagar, a tremor builds up in Kolkata or Guwahati.

The BJP election machine is back at work, and at the head of it is the mind that controls and unleashes its might. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

On Tuesday, seemingly disparate developments were unfolding in different places. But these were strung by an invisible thread.

Modi confused both admirers and detractors as he regaled Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on its centenary celebrations. He extolled its founder Syed Ahmad Khan, who was also the real architect of the two-nation theory.

He described as “Mini India” the same AMU campus which served as the fountainhead of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, and refused to take down a portrait of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The prime minister stressed on how toilets built during his tenure have helped more Muslim girls attend school, and development and opportunity in this country is religion-blind.

While Modi was speaking at AMU, the BJP was emerging as the single largest party in the Jammu and Kashmir District Development Council (DDC) elections. It even got two seats in Muslim-majority Kashmir –– one in Srinagar and the other at Tulail in Bandipora. The BJP had thrown its might into these local body elections as well, and for good reason.

The message from the two apparently unrelated events going out to Muslims in poll-bound Bengal and Assam –– with populations of 27 percent and 34 percent respectively in these states –– is that Modi is not the enemy of Muslims. That the community has nothing to fear from the prime minister. That he has done more inclusive development that what so-called secular fearmongers have achieved.

The message from Aligarh and Srinagar was dispatched to Kolkata and Guwahati, soaked in from Medinipur to Dhubri. In a highly polarised election like this, such messaging can soften vote consolidation. It resonates particularly with young and first-time Muslim voters, many of whom have similar aspirations as Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Christian youngsters.

Just the day before, the prime minister posted another seemingly unconnected tweet. “Netaji Subhas Bose’s bravery is well-known. A scholar, soldier & statesman par excellence, we are soon to commence his 125th Jayanti celebrations. For that, a high-level committee has been formed. Come, let us mark this special occasion in a grand manner!”

Few would immediately connect the AMU centenary address with the government forming a committee headed by Home Minister Amit Shah to commemorate Bose’s 125th birth anniversary.

But apart from giving the legendary freedom fighter his due, it is also a pitch straight to the Bengali heart.

The BJP will leave no avenue unexplored to get Bengal, one of its last frontiers. In the days to come, we will see a lot more of this seamless political time-travel across the past, present and the future.

Each of those journeys is interconnected and lead to the same destination: power.



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