With the Karnataka election results streaming in since morning today announcing a sweep for the Congress, BJP' s prime ministerial probable Narendra Modi suddenly seemed to have developed ‘teething’ problems.
The chief minister who was supposed to attend a function of the forest department at Mahatma mandir in the morning gave it a go by. Official sources said that he was pre-occupied with a medical problem caused by an aching tooth. Modi, it was said, had been advised against speaking for an hour and a half after the ‘medical intervention’ also skipped the cabinet meeting which is held every Wednesday. Sources said that the cabinet which had assembled for the meeting chose to convert it into an informal meeting in the absence of the chief minister.
There was also speculation that Modi had given a miss to a meeting of the Central Parliamentary Board of the BJP convened in Delhi today. However sources in the state secretariat said that the chief minister was not slated to attend it.
Modi’s critics however attributed his ’teething’ problems to the emerging political scenario which saw the Congress, which he had bad-mouthed during his poll speeches in Karnataka, sweeping the BJP out of reckoning.
The Gujarat Chief Minister, who is the BJP's star campaigner seemed a draw during his poll speeches in hand-picked areas of Karnataka. Apparently the verbal fireworks failed to dazzle the voters, for his campaign areas showed gains for the Congress.
Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhwadia even released a press statement, pointing out: "Chief Minister Narendra Modi addressed three public meetings in Bangalore, Mangalore and Belgaum which include 37 assembly seats in Karnataka and in all these seats, BJP lost miserably."
Citing poll results of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections of the recent past, Modhwadia claimed that in all these states, BJP has been losing its voter base. "BJP is in serious need of introspection and it needs to shed its negative politics before it is too late for the party."
Modi, it is well known, was a reluctant campaigner in Karnataka since it was widely believed that the polls would prove a setback for the BJP .
While Modi sought to keep back, the man he is pitted against by the media, Rahul Gandhi of the Congress went in whole hog, scenting a win.
This is not the first time that Modi has suffered a political illness. He had similarly taken ill on two occasions previously. Once when the party big-wigs wanted him in Delhi and the second time when he was adamant on denying an Assembly poll ticket to his party rival Haren Pandya and the party top brass insisted on pressing him. Modi had then fallen ‘ill’ and was admitted to the government civil hospital in Gandhinagar, the state capital.
Post Script: Regardless of the Congress press-release, the facts about the poll results where Mr Modi are as follows:
1. In Bangalore, BJP won 12/28 seats, losing 5 more than last time
2. In Belgaum, BJP won 8/18, losing 1 more than they held last time
3. In Dakshin Kannada, Mangalore and Udipi, BJP won 2/13, i.e. losing 6 more than last time
Thus, in these constituencies, where Narendra Modi campaigned, the BJP lost 12 seats more than what they had last time, winning a total of 22 and losing 37 out of a total of 59 seats.