Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Narendra Modi in Bangalore

Most of us, people like us - who have a day job who have graduated to be so called 'white collar' workers would rarely have attended a public political rally. This is a part of us feeling excluded from the political process. Not only do we feel excluded, we feel that the exclusion is a privilege. Most of the 'upper middle class' feels that they dont need politics and politicians. Indeed this has gone on to the 'politicians' ignoring this class. So, there is set of people in the cities - people who are 'comfortable', 'well-off' who are entirely disconnected with the political process.

And in our first past the post democracy system - as Kishor says metaphorically- as long as 'Dharavi' votes more than 'Vile Parle',  'Dharavi' will vote who they want to vote for. And thus it has happened that 'Vile Parle' is a forgotten vote bank - and besides, they dont even come out to vote. So, politicians focus on 'Dharavi' and how to get its votes.

Over the last few years, I have tried to get involved in the political process - both at a local level and also writing about it. And it has been an eye opening education - thanks to blogs and twitter.

So, when I got the opportunity to attend Narendra Modis meeting in Bangalore, I took it up with both hands. Despite the fact that I had enoughts reasons to not attend, I ensured that I was able to make it (Talk about inspiration).

But I suspect in a lot of ways, this meeting was different. I was amazed to see 'Vile Parle' turn out in strength for the meeting. The meeting was organized very well  and as the speeches began, it almost had a college fest kind of feel.

It had practically all the current legislators in Bangalore. Some of the ministers spoke - notably R Ashok who has done a fantastic job of taking BMTC and KSRTC to being perhaps the best TC and RTC in the country. Bangalore has cracked the upmarket public transport market in this country - which no other city has yet cracked - and moved people from cars and bikes to buses.

Venkaih Naidu spoke - and in his brand of trilingual speech of Hindi, English and Telugu and I kept getting lost - though his humour and rhyming did resonate with the audience.

The star of the show though was Narendra Modi through and through - from the point when he came on stage - the audience only wanted to hear him and no one else. And he had to ask the audience in his own inimitable way (I have come from Gujarat to hear the Karnataka leaders speak and after that I will spend as much time with you as required - and thats it - the audience simply fell in line).

And when he finally spoke, it was an amazing experience. Using a brilliant mix of metaphors, facts he found the mark each time. He spoke about mother and son - referncing Sonia and Rahul, dynastic politics (netas with golden spoons), security, governance. All in all, quite an inspiring presence.

Yes, a rally organized well - can be quite an inspiring and influencing factor. And of course hearing Narendra Modi almost reminded me of  vintage A B Vajpayee. All in all, it was a great experience. See the speech below for yourself.

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