After running a rather successful campaign over the last year and half, changing public perceptions of the BJP from that of a party of right wing fruitcakes to a party geared to take India into the 21st century, the BJP has been faltering over the last week, just a fortnight before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
First it was the very public debacle that occurred during the ticket distribution process, with senior leaders such as Jaswant Singh, L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj going public with their opinions and the induction, then the Wikileaks drama which was soon followed by the appointment and quick removal of Pramod Muthalik from the party, and now the latest instance has been of the BJP’s Rajkot candidate Mohan Kundariya, who walked over the backs of young school children at a public event held in his honor.
What exactly was Mohan Kundariya thinking while performing this rather daredevil stunt? Well his response to a national news channel was “”I am not an insensitive person and would never hurt anyone physically. The students insisted that they wanted to display their physical and mental strength through yoga. As part of this I was asked to walk over a group.”
While Kundariya may have his reasons and excuses, the optics of the event won’t be lost on the urban middle class, who is increasingly looking towards the BJP as a party with a difference and a party that could change their fortunes. But with such tricks they may look elsewhere instead.
Will party members fritter away the huge victories in the perception battle that were seem to have been won by Narendra Modi? Will the BJP in the last two weeks be able to continue the spring to the finish line or make more such nasty mistakes that could prevent them from winning the 2014 national elections decisively?