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Congress' Schizophrenic Lok Sabha Election Campaign

Monday, 14 April 2014 - 8:40pm IST | Place: Mumabi | Agency: DNA

We Indians love slogans. Come elections and we eagerly wait for the political parties to give us memorable and catchy one liners as slogans so that we can chant them hysterically while participating in the biggest festival of democracy called Lok Sabha election. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has given his supporters powerful slogans like, "Vote for India", "Congress Mukt Bharat" and "Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar".

These slogans have found their resonance and they are rolling off people's tongues quite easily. The BJP's campaign sounds more convincing and it has professional touch to it. There is nothing haphazard about the BJP's campaign that seems to have peaked at the right time while taking on a life of its own. 

Another small but powerful player in this Lok Sabha election was the Aam Aadmi Party until the other day. But this party has failed to capture the nation's imagination with anything so far let alone realistic sounding slogans. Its Convenor Arvind Kejriwal keeps the AAP in the news by getting slapped across his face by the Aam Aadmi. This too has resulted in party's dwindling fortunes in this Lok Sabha election. Before writing the AAP completely off, it will be better to wait and watch until May. 

The grand old Congress is struggling quite badly in its lacklustre election campaign. The pressure is on hapless Rahul Gandhi to deliver and it has started taking its toll on him. Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have trained their guns on the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and it is further filling their cup of woes. 

The Congress' campaign for the 16th Lok Sabha election is akin to schizophrenia. Its latest gaffe in the form of toffee model has become the butt of ridicule on social media. Rahul Gandhi comes across as a leader who blindly reads what his speech writers dish out without bothering to cross check the facts. This laziness to do due diligence on the part of the Gandhi family members is hurting their party's electoral chances badly.

Every time one tries to understand the 2014 Lok Sabha poll strategy of the Congress, the one word to sum up its strategy that comes to mind is schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterised by breaking down of thought process and emotional responses. In other words, those suffering from schizophrenia lose touch with the reality. The same applies to the Congress' campaign. It has predominantly negative symptoms of schizophrenia. 

For example, the Gandhis have read the writing on the wall. They know that it is time for them to pack up. But they like to pretend that the Congress will be in a position to form UPA-3 at the centre. This is what both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi proclaim in their election rallies too. This tendency to accept the reality is known as delusions of grandeur. 

Right from sowing seeds of poison to chaiwalla to toffee model every barb that the Congress and the Gandhis have so far taken against Narendra Modi has proved to be counterproductive. Though they end up losing more and more popular support, they continue to do so. They know that this election is a lost battle for them and there is nothing that will turn things around for them. This type of diatribe without goals in mind is known as avolition.

Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are not natural speakers. They struggle to keep the crowd on the edges of their seats with their smart word plays. All their speeches tend to sound repetitive and devoid of nerve touching issues. They are unable to effectively communicate what they have to offer in terms of economic reforms, job opportunities, infrastructure, defence and so on. This poverty of speech is known as alogia.

The top Congress leaders are not relishing this tough fight between the Congress and the BJP's Narendra Modi. They are badly scared of losing and getting humiliated. They are expecting a miracle to rescue them. They are pathetically dependent on the Gandhi surname. This is why all eyes are on Priyanka Gandhi to enter the fray and salvage the pride at stake. They are wishing for this Lok Sabha election to get over as soon as possible. This lack of enthusiasm and pleasure while participating in the election is called anhedonia. 

The thought of losing power has rendered the Gandhi family devoid of any emotions. While watching them on TV, one gets the feeling that there is nothing that can make them either laugh or cry. They are going through the motion of campaigning just like automated machines. Their ideas lack either depth or clarity or conviction. Their expressions also rarely change. This is known as blunted effect. 

Last but not the least, the Congress has failed to both find new allies and retain old ones. In a state like Tamil Nadu, its decision to go it alone is giving sleepless nights to P Chidambaram who is facing an uphill task of sending his son to Parliament. In Andhra Pradesh too the party is in tatters. In Karnataka, the infighting amongst the senior leaders is likely to cause heavy damages in this election. This inability to keep one's house in order is called asociality. 

Needless to say that the BJP is jubilant and the saffron surge looks a certainty because of Narendra Modi's larger than life popularity and the Congress' schizophrenic campaign. 


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