The State Of Affairs At State Level
A lot of hope was rekindled in the BJP two months back when it decided to muzzle all dissidence and present a united face for electioneering. The monsoon session infused fresh energy: BJP parliamentarians found enough ammunition to attack the government on issues of corruption, the worsening state of the economy and matters of national security. With the Lok Sabha polls barely nine months away, the downslide of the UPA (despite the little boost provided by the passage of the Food Security Bill) must become the BJP’s surest bet to turn up trumps. But there may still be a long distance for the party to travel between building itself as the only alternative, cobbling up the required numbers and managing both the strident voices keen to project the BJP as a one-man—that is, Modi—show and the vocal doubters.
While some senior leaders in the BJP are wont to periodically voice doubts, more or less subtly, over projecting one leader as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls, the worry over the issue has spilled over even to the RSS headquarters. The Sangh is likely to discuss the matter threadbare in Delhi next week, when it congregates in the capital for a high-level meeting.
Sources confirm that senior leaders at the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur have been deep in discussion about Modi’s conduct and the current tone and tenor of the cadre support for him. Nearly two months after Modi was declared the chief of the campaign committee, Sangh leaders are debating if the Modimania that seemed to have enthused and fired both the BJP and the RSS cadre in June is just as crackling now. The RSS senses a dent in the surface. A senior pracharak voices the doubt: “What was the need for Modiji to do a US presidential campaign-style retort to the prime minister’s speech? If (Sitaram) Kesriji was called a man in a hurry, will this not make Modiji look like a man in a hurry? The sense of disappointment is not just limited to us but can be seen in the cadre as well. Modiji’s two recent speeches, first in Hyderabad and then in Bhuj, haven’t gone down well.” Many in the BJP also agree with this view, calling Modi’s efforts an “unnecessary petty exercise.” Modi’s August 15 speech not just found a veiled criticism from party veteran L.K. Advani but even alliance partner Shiv Sena. Sanjay Raut said, “We have the entire year ahead of us to comment on what the prime minister says. Today, we must listen to him and let the criticism be for some other day.”
Rajnath, sources say, was worried on two counts: losing his ability to set the pace/control the game, and the genuine likelihood of a Pandora’s box being opened. “The admonition was necessary. It would have set a bad precedent. How will we stop other state units from demanding prime ministerial nomination for their leaders tomorrow?” asks a senior leader. The Rajnath camp articulates his fear thus: “You allow this and 29 states will propose 29 different names for prime ministership.”
As usual, the Bihar unit responded to the reprimand with the argument repeated ad nauseam at many of the party forums now: “The resolution was adopted in deference to the sentiments of the party workers from Bihar and vociferous demand by the delegates.” As the state unit battled to hide behind cadre sentiments and leaders in Delhi mulled its implications, for others the “shock value” of Modi’s politics, once again on display from Bhuj, became a reiteration of the belief that whether the BJP’s parliamentary board makes that all-important declaration or not, Modi is the man of the moment this election season. Yet, a section in the BJP believes that Modi may be getting trapped in his own PR overdrive. They argue that while Modi may have veered away from how politics is traditionally carried out in India, at the end of the day, the challenges before the BJP under Modi remain huge and daunting. Among the challenges, the chief one would be to cobble up the numbers required to form a government at the centre. Even as 2014 is being billed as Target 272 (the number of seats aimed for) to party members, BJP-watchers argue that the party is actually seriously contesting only in about 270 seats out of the total 543. A 100 per cent strike rate would be impossible to achieve despite Modi leading from the front.
The party’s hopes hinge on ‘harvest states’ like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, representing about a 100 seats. The electoral arithmetic in the states is not a dead cert, though. In many ways, the BJP’s performance in the assembly polls will be seen as reflecting on Modi as the man anointed to lead the party in the general elections. For Modi, therefore, there is much at stake here.
With three of the four major assembly (Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) polls looking dicey for the BJP, lack of allies at the national level and the absence of an absolute electoral calculus may finally prevent Modi from conjuring the magic that he has so far promised. ‘Should Modi fail to deliver’ is the thought that’s lending strength to the perpetual intrigue and individual aspirations of Modi’s erstwhile rivals in Delhi. Among those who stand prominent as possible challengers are party chief Rajnath Singh, L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. For now, aligned with Modi, Rajnath not only nurses a quiet prime ministerial ambition but has also positioned himself as one of the three leaders in the party (Jaitley and Modi being the other two) who should remain relevant in party affairs in the months to come.
Set against this scenario, the BJP seems caught between a rock and a hard place. There are some in the BJP who argue that Modi’s ambition for 2014 actually stems from the realisation that this would be his last chance to push himself centrestage. A senior leader says, “Modi knows that the numbers will fall short. The effort therefore is not so much to grab 7 Race Course but to strengthen his own position, capture the party in Delhi and then purge it.” If that be true, the future will be shaky for a party heavily dependent on cult creation.
Apropos of Bit Players’ Scripts (Sep 9), Narendra Modi's denial that he dreams about occupying the PM’s chair should be understood in the context of D.G. Vanzara’s letter bomb and the lukewarm enthusiasm shown by his senior party colleagues in defusing it. Make no mistake, Modi’s ‘overvaulting ambition’ will ensure that he stays in the race but it may be asking too much, an impossible dream in a vast, pluralist country like ours. Also, the majority of the people know that for all his bravado and patriotic talk, Modi is a leader propped up by the privileged classes and corporate honchos to further their interests and that he has little concern, if any, for the “less fortunate” among his countrymen.
Admittedly Prarthna did this write up before the recent ABP News- Nielson survey came along , however it is quite instructive to see how far off her assesment of the situation is from what the real voters think. I won't recap those results here, suffice it to say that UPA is set for a crushing defeat.
If democracy is unfallible,why are we in need to know who the electorate have elected, after they are elected as the political representatives? The electorate just need to poll the votes, and until the next five years, it doesn't matter who the members of the Lok Sabha are. People vote for Ms. Sonia Gandhi, and Mr. Advani, not for the candidate who is the local representative. The local representative might be different in the future, as he is either indisposed, or replaced. The local political body, does not work as individuals but as a group. Apparently, the person who is chosen as the leader, is not chosen unanimously, by all body members, and the unity and the opposition is experienced in this situation, also. In factuality, there is no leader, only the representative of the party, at the local or national level. The U. S. citizen did not know, who their senators were, and a large section of U. S. citizens didn't know Ronald Reagan was a political representative, when he was President of the United States.
How many times we have to read articles about some people in BJP not happy with Modi? THis must be article number 439923 in Outlook alone.
Narendra Modiji will become the Prime Minister of India. Sonia Gandhi will be arrested and tried for treason.
Will Outlook's journalists please make up their mind - Modi is anathema to RSS - RSS is pushing Modi for PM - RSS highly dissatisfied with Modi, and all this within a space of two or three months. So what is it?
Is Modi the RSS' candidate for PM or is he a candidate despite RSS? Those who constantly moan that the BJP is merely a front organisation for the RSS should welcome the latter position, but it seems that they can never be satisfied.
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