New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rendezvous with Bollywood star Akshay Kumar cunningly devised as non-political or apolitical affair has sent very convincing signals that the brand Modi had to desperately bank on the cine icon to stop his failing popularity in the midst of election fervor in the world’s largest democracy.
The downfall of Modi’s popularity had started much before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. His party’s poll debacles in the set of by-elections and assembly elections last year were the pointers to it. After the completion of the first three phases of ongoing Lok Sabha polls on April 23 covering as many as 302 seats making almost fifty five percent of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats, Modi is not in a comfortable position and quite unsure about his second term dream.
Modi’s high voltage public rallies, roadshows and personal appeals to the voters seem to have little impact on the electoral prospects of the BJP. Political trends show that the saffron party has fared badly in several states including its key strongholds like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra. Its performance was disastrous in the states such as Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
Modi’s attempt to cover up widespread economic hardship, agrarian distress and simmering anti-incumbency against the NDA goverment through his motivational speeches did not work well as expected by the BJP. What was earlier considered his charisma is now seen as arrogance and bravado.
The sings of worriedness are apparent in the BJP camp in the run-up to the remaining phases of polling. As a public relations as well as vote-catching strategy, Akshay Kumar was roped in all in a sudden to conduct a pre-scripted interview with the Prime Minister to get past the ban on the release of the much-hyped Modi biopic.
It is not surprisingly to see that Modi's interview was crafted in a manner to allow him to relate to the common man and resonate with the hinterland with an aim to boost the BJP’s vote bank.
It is well known in the media circle that Modi, who did not hold a single press conference in the last five years, prefers one-way communication like Maan Ki Baat style of programme where he speaks and others listen. Apart from it, whatever interviews he has given earlier, they are all pre-scripted! Even the Prime Minister’s Office has set the questions to be asked in those interviews telecast earlier.
The claim of Modi’s interview with the cine star a non-political sounds quite illogical. At a time when the political atmosphere of the country is fully charged up, even a silly thing said during election time is bound to be political in one way or another.
Regardless to it, at the moment, Modi tried his best to touch the emotional chords of voters through this interview, but how far it will be effective time will determine.