Rajdeep Sardesai’s “2014 The Election That Changed India.”
Indians are obsessed with politics is a known fact. All of us have our strong views on everything in politics. Most of us have our strong perceptions about politicians. We have views on things that we do not really understand. The 2014 elections and run up to those are recent history. We all have witnessed it. Still reading Rajdeep’s book is a great value addition to understand about these elections, the run up as handled by various players on the stage and of course the political parties.
If you are on Tweeter you will know that all Modi Bhakts hate Rajdeep from their heart. They abuse him day in day out. The language used by these people is terrible. To Rajdeep’s redit he Retweets many of these and more importantly does not react to them. After the Madison Garden incident the hate quotient only went up. A feeling is created that he hates Modi.
I now suspect most of these haters have definitely not read the book. In this book Rajedeep has analysed Modi’s emergence from 90s in most objective manner. That he got to know Modi then is an advantage. He has maintained cordial relationship with the man whom he strongly criticized in 2002. Yes Modi did get peeved but it seems most have moved on. It must be noted that the entire media was against Modi post Godhra and very few of his Bhakts came out in the open to support him then. Many of course were mere toddlers then and were voters in 2014!
Rajdeep’s views on the rise and rise of Amit Shah is worth reading.Amit Shah’s rise is one of the most exciting stories of this election. The planning done by Modi Sha and their various teams was so meticulous that there are huge lessons in them in all management students as well as working Managers. The detailed planning, clear objectives and most crucially execution of all these plans is astounding. Getting a team of dedicated people to work for them is a major achievement of the duo. There are many instances in the book to illustrate how adverse situations were converted by them to their maximum advantage!
The use of IT and Social media by Modi and Shah was of course unbelievable. They used it to great benefit even before the rivals had realized what hit them!
Rajdeep has been very objective in his writing. He has also made it very interesting with some anecdotes. The incidence in Gujrath in 2002 while he was returning after interviewing Modi is frightening. Today as we see utterance by many BJP MPs and supporting cast that are at complete variance with Modi’s development agenda that incidence sounds as a real warning that hardliners will try everything to undermine Modi himself for their narrow goals.
Rajdeep’s critic of Rahul is true. It is strange that Congressmen do not gun for him at all. May be it is a tacit acceptance of his analysis!
He has also commented and analysed all other major and minor players like Mulayam, Mayawati, Jayalalitha and Mamta. His view on Sharad Pawar also make interesting reading. He writes very little about Manmohan Singh but of course is highly critical about his complete silence and inaction during UPA-II.
What I am most pleasantly surprised with and also very happy with is his views on the Electronic Media of which he is an integral part of so long. He admits that the standards are slipping and newsworthiness is now determined increasingly by TRPs than anything else. He has been highly critical of the media at various times. This is very refreshing indeed. Of course it remains to be seen if he does something about this on his new assignment!
Journalists like Rajdeep will always be better informed than you and me. They have contacts everywhere and they work really hard to cultivate them for years. So he can get from them various views. Rajdeep has used this very well in telling the story of 2014 elections. At times he has quoted people and many other times he has not named people but that is understandable.
After reading the book I am more convinced than before that creating a wave or a tsunami as Shah insists it to be on the back of expectations can be a boomerang. We have already witnessed voices saying nothing much has happened in the last seven months! Seven months is not a lot of time but because expectations were raised unrealistically the dismay may set in much earlier than may be it is warranted. This strategy has won an unprecedented victory for Modi. Modi is now BJP. Congress has been a family run proprietorship company. BJP was not so, but now BJP is a Partnership company where Modi is 80% owner and balance 20% is held by Amit Shah!
I would encourage all of you to read this book because you will know many things that happen behind the curtain.
Big thank you to Rajdeep for an objective, analytical, fair and interesting book!