Narendra Modi: BJP-bashing a surrogate for RSS-bashing
Having cut his own nose to spite his face in 2009, Narendra Modi is now doing what lesser men do at such frustrating moments – bash up somebody / something else. Usually the punching bag is a weaker person or entity that cannot / does not hit back. So, because he dare not openly lambast the RSS stalwarts in Nagpur, Narendra bhai sulks by boycotting the BJP national executive meeting in Delhi, where leaders of lesser stature valiantly cover up for his absence by mumbling something about a navrata fast.
The reason for Narendra Modi’s anger is stark and simple, and difficult for a man of his colossal ego to digest – the RSS has decided it will NOT back him as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate whenever national elections are held.
And since Modi has done ZILCH for the Hindutva constituency in all the years since Godhra, he has no cards with which to force their hand in this matter. He is no V.S. Achuthanandan who can inspire the public pressure that can force the establishment to back track, and he has only himself to blame for it.
Worse, the RSS Dark Horse is visible in the wings – party president Nitin Gadkari, who has firmly nixed the candidatures of all wanna be PMs in the BJP.
The above statements require explanation.
From the time the Gujarat riots erupted in the wake of the massacre of Hindu pilgrims from Ayodhya at Godhra in February 2002, Narendra Modi became the prize hate of anti-Hindu activists the world over, and conversely, Hriday Samrat (king of hearts) of Hindus fed up of being at the receiving end of secular cant and the rising menace of jihad. Recall that then Modi was only a stop-gap CM installed to contain public ire against Keshubhai Patel’s inept handling of the Bhuj earthquake.
Narendra Modi became the Political Face of the riots because of spontaneous Hindu Self-Assertion. Many of us saw his rise as the return of the Kshatriya element in Indian polity. We hoped he would change the grammar of public discourse and make it difficult for political parties to misuse Hindu society and pander only to minority votebanks to come to power.
But Narendra Modi lacked the courage or the conviction to walk this path. Despite wholesome support from the state’s educated middle class, rich, poor and even tribals, he quietly abandoned the movement that could have legitimised the nation’s civilisational ethos as bedrock of our national life. This was quickly noticed by discerning observers (inc. the writer), but all warnings fell on deaf ears.
Modi came up with an alternate mantra – Development, FDI – and a noisy cheer group of Gujaratis-with-American-citizenship drowned all voices of dissent. Barring the first post-Godhra election in Gujarat, he studiously avoided any and all issues of legitimate concern to the Hindu community. Modi was so committed to this Gujarati-American constituency that he was willing to let the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) visit Gujarat in 2009 (dropped after a sharp exchange between Kanchi Acharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati ji with Vatican’s Cardinal Tauran in Mumbai). It is pertinent that Modi never rebuked the puny Fr. Cedric Prakash when he said Modi would need American endorsement to rule!
As three successive victories boosted his self-confidence – he could win despite opposition from BJP, VHP and RSS leaders in the state – he never realised that he was simultaneously diminishing his stature in national politics. First, his development-as-progress mantra was picked up by others, causing him to lose his USP. Second, his over-emphasis on Gujarati asmita (honour) confined his stature to his home state.
Third, and most appropriate karmically, by denying a ticket to Haren Pandya in 2002, he showed himself as too petty to rise above differences. Though Modi could not realise it then, he nixed a popular leader who could take charge of the state in the event of his moving to the Centre. Pandya might not have been assassinated if he was still a minister, and though Modi was in no way responsible for the murder, his aura was much diminished by Pandya’s bitter father (now deceased) blaming him for it.
The final nail in the coffin of Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial ambitions came, ironically, with his recently concluded Sadbhavana Mission which was supposed to launch him into this stratosphere.
Sadbhavana: sad denouement
As the writer has stated previously, the fast was a success only as a political manoeuvre to outclass L.K. Advani’s obdurate bid to claim the slot of BJP-candidate-for-PM in the event of a mid-term poll. But it turned out to be unnecessary because RSS had already decided against Advani as candidate, and when he went to Nagpur to seek support for his corruption yatra, he was unceremoniously told not to even contest the next Lok Sabha election!
However, given the manner in which the Sadbhavana fast actually unfolded – and given the fact that RSS dark horse Gadkari burst on the national stage two years ago with a pledge to attract TEN PERCENT MUSLIM VOTES to the BJP – some points may be made briefly:
- The RSS will be making a big mistake if it does not realize that no amount of bonhomie with non-mainstream Muslim individuals or groups can yield Muslim votes for the BJP
- RSS must ask itself if seeking Muslim/minority votes is an admission of its failure to espouse Hindu causes honestly and sincerely
- RSS must explain why its so-called ideologues are adamantly opposed to the espousal of Hindu causes and virulently opposed to wooing Hindus as the core community of the nation
- Narendra Modi’s fast was a FAILURE because, despite the presence of men with skull caps, beards and clean-shaven upper lips, and women in burqas, there was NO presence of Sunni Muslims in the gathering, only Bohras and Sufis
- Sunni Muslim orthodoxy decides, whether one likes it or not, what Muslims will do. That is why Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi of Gujarat lost his job as Vice Chancellor of Darul Uloom, Deoband. It is surely pertinent that the Maulana, despite believing that Modi had done much for the Muslims of Gujarat, stayed away from the fast venue
- Even Sufis have to conform to Sunni orthodoxy. The Maulana who seemingly innocently offered a skull cap to Modi – which is generally worn only at the time of namaaz – was mischievously making him an offer to convert to Islam (deen ki dawat). Modi had no choice but to refuse, but he cannot blame anyone else for the controversy that followed because he created that drama of artificial communal harmony
- This should come as a WARNING to the RSS against chasing minority votes to make up for deficiencies in the BJP vote share
- At a time of rising concern against home grown jihadi networks, pandering to overt Muslim sentiments at Batla House, Azamgarh, or Bharatpur, is a surefire recipe to drive Hindu voters away
- RSS must explain why the campaign against illegal Bangladeshis in north-eastern states, which yielded results in the form of a return of many illegals to Bangladesh, was called off abruptly
- RSS and BJP must admit that they have ditched the Hindu community by failing to espouse Hindu causes. Coming out with a law to punish cow slaughter after one decade of power in Gujarat, and wantonly destroying Hindu temples in state after state after making a plaything of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, will not impress
- RSS must openly tell people why it is not supporting Narendra Modi’s claim as PM-in-waiting. Is it only because of his colossal ego and refusal to listen to anyone in the Parivar or party, no matter what the issue, or it is because RSS has a better blueprint for the nation, which Modi is refusing to accept?
- In what way is Nitin Gadkari a better choice over Modi, and how is he going to be an asset to the Hindu community when he is so overtly in favour of getting Muslim votes?
2009: Modi dares not nix Advani
Two interrelated issues will surely haunt Narendra bhai to his dying day:
- failure to take a stand against Advani and the Delhi Coterie after the ignominious defeat of 2004, and thereby settle the issue of PM Candidate for 2009 in his favour
- failure to ensure the defeat of L.K. Advani in Gandhinagar constituency in 2009, and thus push him out of the reckoning while automatically elevating himself as BJP’s natural choice in the event of opportunity knocking at the door
Narendra Modi was explicitly advised by persons outside his coterie, well in advance of the 2009 elections, that the only way to get rid of the uncharismatic Advani was by ensuring that he did not win from Gandhinagar. He did not do so, not because he respected Advani but because he feared him, which seems to be the case with the rest of the party as well, for reasons unknown. As it turned out, in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi raised the BJP tally in Gujarat from 14 seats in 2004 to a mere 15. Had he but found the nerve to lose Gandhinagar and concentrate on winning elsewhere, the party’s political trajectory could well have been different.
Now, he must gracefully accept that Time and Tide wait for no man. The BJP Gujarat tally in 2009 was widely perceived as a failure of the Strongman, across the political spectrum, even though he was not the BJP prime ministerial hopeful at the time. In 2011, he has no tangible political success under his belt to warrant the slot.
It remains to be seen how BJP fares under the leadership of Nitin Gadkari. At the recently concluded national executive meeting (Sept. 30 – Oct. 1), he made it clear that his position that Advani was not the BJP prime ministerial candidate was the final word on the matter. He did not need to say this for Narendra Modi; the latter had already played his cards very badly (discussed above), and had virtually clinched the issue by staying away from the meeting. Now, only a miracle can revive his candidature.
Narendra Modi probably missed his last chance at claiming national leadership when, this March, he squandered the opportunity to take Advani and the BJP parliamentary leadership to task for secretly agreeing to help the Congress to pass Budget 2011 on the last day of the first half of the budget session.
Instead of availing of the recess month to study the budget, which was scandalously pro certain business houses, and had nothing for the poor or the middle class, the BJP helped to pass the budget by voice vote and thus ensured the survival the lame duck UPA regime.
Narendra Modi proved unwilling to wound and afraid to strike. He has failed to seize many a moment; now RSS has decided to do without him. But RSS must know that the people regard minority-wooing parties as ‘dysfunctional’ as far as the national interest is concerned.
Now, as the monsoon session exposes fresh murky episodes on 2G that endanger the regime, the BJP is belatedly trying to put an act together. Yet in their recent joint press conference, both Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley were at pains to point out that the government would fall only from the weight of its own contradictions and not because the BJP wanted it to!
Interestingly, the NDA has much in common with UPA-II. The BJP ministers of the NDA were always in some controversy, and were renowned for their ‘arrogance, smugness and intolerance’.
Where the NDA coalition differed was in maintaining the status of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as someone above the fray. Despite his non-controversial nature and clean image, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been denied this protection because of sniping by proxies of the Gandhi family, which had similarly made life difficult for his mentor P.V. Narasimha Rao. Dr Singh’s only hope of salvaging his honour is by bringing down the whole edifice of corruption and going for a mid-term poll.
Meanwhile, Hindu society desperately needs a leadership that can articulate Hindu political goals and save it from the predations of Mosque and Church and their powerful international mentors. We do not see any such formation on the horizon.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this writing are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of League of India, its Editorial Board or the business and socio-political interests that they might represent.
This article was first published on Vijayvaani website here