It's in vogue to spend the weekend by shopping Jimmy Choo accessories from the DLF Emporio and later unwinding at the poolside of Le Meridien and complaining how Modi's India has turned fascist
When Narendra Modi, in an interview to The Indian Express, had said his "image" as the prime minister had not been built by the "Khan Market gang", he didn't mean to bracket everyone going to the upscale market in south Delhi together. It was more of a proverbial reference where his point of attack was towards a minuscule urban elite who have seldom ventured out of the safe confines of the Indian International Centre.
Who is 'Khan Market gang'?
It's in vogue to spend the weekend by shopping Jimmy Choo accessories from the DLF Emporio and later unwinding at the poolside of Le Meridien and complaining how Modi's India has turned fascist. But It's a completely different thing to gauge the mood of the silent majority in the hinterlands of Amroha in Uttar Pradesh or Barrackpore in West Bengal.
Modi objected, "Modi’s image has not been created by the Khan Market gang or Lutyens Delhi, but 45 years of his toil… good or bad. You cannot dismantle it. But Lutyens and the Khan Market gang created an image for a former prime minister, ‘Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean’."
To Modi’s comments, Congress' Sanjay Jha took a sharp dig by tweeting, "Khan Market. I guess he doesn't like the name."
But the Lutyens Delhi or south Bombay is an echo chamber where the sharp dig of Jha reverberates a thousand times with sarcasm laced chats. Contrary to popular beliefs, the constituents of that echo chamber are less ideology-centric but more centred around social strata of affluent, English speaking gang. They believe what they think is the truth and make others believe the same. They are the “Khan Market gang” PM Modi metaphorically mentioned in his interview. And Rahul Gandhi's extremely powerful non political advisors this election are very much part of that grouping.
How they failed Rahul Gandhi's Congress?
1. The problem with the Rahul Gandhi was it fell for it. Rather than understanding whether the vast populace across aspirational India is buying Modi's 'New India' concept or not, it allowed itself to be swallowed by a false insinuation and criminal narrative that Modi's problem with the 'Khan Market gang' is actually the word 'Khan', a Muslim surname.
2. Author Ashok Swain had tweeted, "Khan Market is named in honor of Freedom fighter Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan, brother of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan - Modi, Change its name to Godse Market, in honor of terrorist Gopal Godse, brother of Nathuram Godse! (sic)"
What it did was consolidate the core Modi voters on religious lines even without BJP trying to do so. As BJP made a dominating finish of 303 seats and the NDA with 353, the Congress has only itself and the same “Khan Market gang” to blame.
3. His non-political advisors who became so powerful that even Congress old guards' suggestion was struck down in a second didn't allow RaGa to look beyond Lutyens Delhi. The line of campaigning, attack lines on PM were conceptualised that would only appeal to a select few.
Rahul raised the "Chowkidar chor hai" slogan repeatedly even as the common refrain even in Amethi, his own constituency, was "Modi ne videsh me desh ka na naam roshan kiya" (Modi has raised India's stature in the global scenario).
The entire Rafale bogey of Congress, highlighted by the same gang through social media didn't find any takers on the ground. From Midnapore to Muzaffarnagar, the electorate was talking about "pilot wapas laye"(Got our pilot Abhinandan back). "Fascism", "Democracy in Danger", "Systematic attack on Institutions" are phrases that appealed to a JNU scholar protesting at Ganga Dhaba than a farmer in Maharashtra's Akola.
4. The “Khan Market gang” sold Congress the idea of marketing manufactured narratives and made the grand old party believe it's a sure shot recipe for win. But Modi made the 'New India' realize dreams of lavatories, schools, LPG connections, housing, direct benefit transfer et al. Modi's ideas are undoubtedly not sexy enough for the suave urban and entitled crowd but it definitely did strike a chord with the masses.
After state losses in 2013, Rahul Gandhi promised to overhaul the Congress “beyond your recognition”. Instead, he himself lost in Amethi, a seat occupied by Gandhis for generations. It’s time that RaGa realizes his ‘Khan Market gang’ has failed him.
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Last Updated May 24, 2019, 3:04 PM IST