Congress plans sleaze campaign against Modi (Sunday Guardian)
MADHAV NALAPAT New Delhi | 15th Jul
Narendra Modi waves at the crowd during the 135th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad last month. PTI
arendra Modi is the target of a disinformation campaign run by a task force set up for the purpose in September 2011. This has been revealed by two of the Congress strategists involved in the initial phase of "Operation No Namo", which is designed to ensure that the Gujarat Chief Minister remains confined to his home state up to and during the 2014 parliamentary elections.
"Operation No Namo" is designed to reduce the BJP's seat tally in Gujarat to lower than three figures, ideally less than 90. "Any tally below that would be seen as the defeat of Modi," the source claimed, adding that "such a result would ensure that he remain confined to Gujarat". Should the BJP tally fall to around 90, Congress strategists calculate that the push within the BJP to bring Modi to the Centre will lose momentum. "The Congress leadership wants to avoid Modi becoming the BJP's Prime Minister alternative in the next Lok Sabha elections, hence the effort at seeing that the Gujarat CM remain confined to his state", a source claimed. Op No Namo's political strategy follows the "Uttarakhand and Karnataka models, of developing contacts within the BJP so as to incentivise dissidents into acts of sabotage against their party's chances", on the principle that the most effective foes are those within a party.
Congress leaders in Gujarat are giving "logistical and other help to anti-Modi elements, including within the state BJP". Keshubhai Patel is seen as the best bet. "Should Keshubhai damage the BJP, at least 17 Assembly seats will be lost to the BJP. This will enable us to succeed in keeping his tally to about 90 seats," a Congress source claimed. A bare majority in the coming elections would make it much more difficult for Modi to spend more time outside Gujarat. Strategists point out that the BJP got only half the total votes polled in the 2007 Assembly elections, and that in 109 seats, the Congress came second to the winning BJP candidate. "Our operations over the past nine months have had a huge effect on Modi's image, which after all is the trump card of the BJP."
More controversially, Operation No Namo has also a component designed to "blacken the personal image of the CM". Congress strategists, despite considerable effort, have failed to come across corruption by Narendra Modi or his close relatives, all of whom live in modest circumstances. They are, therefore, turning to the personal. A key strategist claimed that "a secret task force is engaged in using modern technology to create CDs" that purport to show the Gujarat CM in a bad light. According to a source, "An NDA office-bearer from Punjab and a starlet from Tamil Nadu have been incentivised to supply affidavits about their contact with Narendra Modi." The source claims that "both the women have been given flats in Mumbai, while the NDA office-bearer has also been given property in Chandigarh and the starlet roles in two Tamil movies", to induce them to agree to digitally-created CDs being released. Those familiar with modern technology say that it is "relatively easy", given sophisticated equipment, "to create whatever digital images or voices as are needed". Similarly, computers can be hacked into so as to create records of surfing pornography on the net, or lewd messages can be sent from a designated computer (belonging to the target individual).
Clearly, the Congress in Gujarat is taking its cue from Dirty Picture while working on strategies to reduce the BJP tally to 90 seats or less.