By Gyan Pathak
The political turn of events unmistakably indicates that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the crossroads, where he stands solely with his own wisdom and strength, and his bête noire Rahul Gandhi in wonderland.
Modi has been trying to break the shackles of the Sangh Parivar he is bound with by creating his own support base so that the Sangh Parivar or his party cannot think of a BJP win in the next general election without him. But this is not something the RSS can accept. That is why the RSS is now signaling the yellow sign to sound the warning. The recent Togadia episode is only one such signal.
The decades old enmity between Narendra Modi and Togadia is public knowledge. It is also in the public domain that Sangh Parivar had recently refused to elevate Modi’s choices as executive president of VHP in Bhubaneswar and instead installed Praveen Togadia in the post. Within weeks of his assuming charge, Togadia came out with several allegations against Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, including the alleged conspiracy against him. He also alleged that the party leadership was not doing enough for the Hindutva cause.
It cannot be entirely his personal grudge against Modi, because VHP activists are planning to start agitations throughout the country, particularly in the BJP-ruled states, where the Sangh Parivar has registered large number of cases against Hindutva activists. They allege that the ruling establishments have implicated those who belong to the opposing groups within the Sangh Parivar along with miscreants making trouble in the name of cow protection.
VHP is the largest and richest outfit within the Sangh Parivar in terms of organization and support base in India and abroad, receiving large amount of donations for its social activities.
Next to the VHP, the other two most important wings of the Sangh Parivar are Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS) and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM).BMS has already voiced its concerns about the labour reforms and other policies of the BJP government, claiming that they are anti-labour. SJM has claimed that the FDI policy is hampering the growth of domestic industries. There are around 300 organizations under Sangh Parivar, which may come out openly to voice their concerns if Modi does not listen to the dictats of the Sangh and chooses to go his own way.
The BJP will be presenting its last budget in February before going to general elections. If Modi chooses to ignore the signals, he and his political associates would meet the same fate as Atal Behari Vajpayee and his associates met in the 2004 general elections and afterwards. However, if Modi and his friends mend their ways, and follow the line of the Sangh Parivar, he stands to benefit from its patronage.
Sangh Parivar wants to preserve its support base among the trading community, which is presently unhappy over the way demonetisation was done. It is now perceived in the Sangh Parivar that it was solely done to create a halo around Modi as a hero against corruption and champion of good governance. It was, however, detrimental to the economy. The policies followed thereafter, like GST without sufficient preparedness, further antagonised their support base. Modi needs to do something in his budget for this class of supporters of the Sangh Parivar.
The political mind of voters may be quite different from the personalities they vote for. The dismal performance of the Modi regime has affected the voters, who feel that the government has made their lives difficult. The only hope for Modi is that he has managed to put the thought in people’s mind that the difficulties created are temporary and the promised ‘good days’ would come. However, Indian voters have always been unforgiving of arrogance and impudence, the twin disease with which Modi seems to be afflicted with.
RSS has clearly conveyed its desire to effect a change in the BJP working style in view of the infighting in the party as well as the fast changing socio-political equations in the country. The lately acquired OBC and dalit support base is at risk. Growing unemployment among the youth is another area of concern, along with distress in the farmer community. The four top posts – the President, the Vice President, the Lok Sabha Speaker, and the Prime Minister – are already acquired by the Hindutva brigade, but the Sangh Parivar is unhappy that Modi could not keep his ‘promises’ for Hindutva. On the other hand, voters are disappointed that the BJP miserably failed to fulfill its electoral promises. Merely slogans can not keep them in good humour any longer. Voters have already spent over three and half years on assurances and hopes.
All this will probably trigger political realignments within the BJP, the Sangh Parivar, and other inter and intra political outfits. It is here that Rahul Gandhi may find himself in a political wonderland with shifting loyalties of leaders and voters. People would watch him with much curiosity. His performance in Gujarat elections was promising, but it will be put to further test in the run-up to the elections. (IPA Service)