By Arun Srivastava
Two autocrats cannot survive on the same political plane and the RSS was using the political contradictions between the two Hindutva icon of the country is playing to consolidate its own grip on the ideological frame work which was threatened by their personality contradictions, by putting one against the other. The meeting between prime minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday in New Delhi but the outcome, whatever it is, may be fragile.
In 2017 when Yogi Adityanath was parachuted to Lucknow to take charge of Uttar Pradesh, the state which represented the Hindu aspirations, the Hindutva fanatics perceived it as their major victory as it would prove to be a major boost to give a shape to their philosophy of India turning into a Hindu Rashtra. But they forgot to comprehend that political economy of India does not allow a smooth passage to the autocrats and their style of functioning.
Both Narendra Modi and Yogi Aditynath aspired to lord over India and its people. By virtue of being the prime minister, Modi is in an enviable position, but Yogi is also aware of his importance in making a future ruler. It’ is a fact that none has imagined that their contradictions would surface in public domain so soon. It was the arrogance of the two autocrats that was responsible for culmination of the crisis.
It cannot be denied that RSS played the crucial role in giving a vent to their feelings. This is manifest in putting a restrain on using Modi’s face during the assembly elections to UP and five other states. It is really unbelievable that how could the person who till recently was the mascot of the party lose the favour of RSS. It is also interesting to note that the RSS has for the first time openly come to accept the fact that the BJP lost the elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bengal due Narendra Modi. This is not less than RSS passing a stricture against Modi.
The RSS which was earlier sure to win the next election to the UP assembly has turned sceptical after a survey which the BJP has sponsored, found that it would not be able to win more than 65 seats, a steep decline of nearly 240 seats. It obviously implied that the people of UP, especially the Hindus have lost their trust in Modi and Yogi. Though it has put a barb on Modi, by not projecting him as the party’s face, it would invariably replace Yogi by other upper caste leader. In the existing situation the most reliable and dependent face is Rajnath Singh, the Thakur veteran.
The RSS is also working on the design to forge an alliance with BSP of Mayawati. It is sure that he would be a willing partner and would muster courage to drift away with a number of corruption cases against her brother being investigated by CBI, ED and IT. She has no other alternative but to buy peace by agreeing to enter into an alliance.
The major reason behind this move has been the RSS intends to assuage the sentiments of Dalits who had to suffer immense state torture and repression during Yogi raj. The RSS-BJP would send the message that the person who perpetrated torture is no more on the political scenario. Dalits joining the upper caste Thakurs and Bhumihar brahmins would be the most potent force to win the election.
Meanwhile the RSS-BJP has started working to wreck the peace attained by the Muslims and Jats in the wake of the farmers’ movement after a long period of seven years. Already some stray incidents of violence have started taking place in western UP. It is not that this development has gone unnoticed by the farmers’ leaders. They have been striving hard to maintain this much precious bonhomie. They have alerted the jat villagers.
The Hindu bigots have already started claiming the symbolic significance of Kashi and Mathura as performances of Hindu Unity and as a wedge around which to consolidate a communal consciousness. This is a project they will prefer to launch well before the Lok Sabha elections. These places fantasise the rank and file of the BJP and Sangh Parivar.
At the other end, to throw a major challenge to the BJP and ensure that it loses the elections, the SP, RLD of Ajit Singh and Bhim Sena of Chandrashekhar Azad have decided to join hands. They are working out the detail formalities.
But as it appears, the sufferer in the game would be the Congress with SP and Azad unwilling to share seats with it. Though after the rout in the Bengal election, the Congress president Sonia Gandhi had said the party should take note of its serious setbacks in assembly polls, and face the reality to draw the right lessons, it does not appear that it has been well received by the Congress leaders of UP. The party failed to win back power in Kerala and Assam, besides losing Puducherry. The party only got substantial seats with the help of its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu.
After the debacle a meeting of the top Congress body was convened to deliberate and introspect on the party’s poor performance in the elections, but no tangible gains have been made so far. The one person who has to take lessons from the debacle is Rahul Gandhi. No doubt he has badly exposed Modi and caught the imagination of the people of the country. It remains the fact he is yet to have firm grip on the functioning of the power. Rahul depends on his handpicked aides and has no wide working relation with the state leaders.
Priyanka has been relentlessly campaigning in UP, but the number of panchayat seats the Congress won does not reflect the quantum of her efforts. BSP gained more than the Congress. Neither the Dalits nor the upper caste people appeared to have reposed their trust in Congress. Chances of revival of Congress are quite bleak in UP is also manifest in Jitin Prasad, son of late Jeetendra Prasada, the adviser to Sonia Gandhi quitting the Congress and joining the BJP in the midst of acute crisis of survival the saffron party has been facing.
Jitin shifting loyalty to BJP has put a big question mark on the leadership quality of Rahul Gandhi. Earlier the senior Congress leaders deserted the party. But during last one year those quitting the party have been close aides of Rahul and have been members of his youth brigade. It obviously implied that Rahul may have been embarrassing Modi by putting critical questions, but he has failed to reinvent himself. In fact this is not unknown to Modi or other BJP leaders. Basically this is the reason that neither the BJP leaders nor the Congress men have not been taking him seriously. His failure to rejuvenate the party and its rank and file have been the biggest factors for opposition leaders not taking Congress and its leadership seriously.
The 2022 assembly election would be more crucial for the survival of the Congress. A failure would lead to dissipation of the party. The nature of the political dominance in Indian politics is known to everyone. With 80 Lok Sabha seats the BJP would like to consolidate its hold on the state through the 2022 elections. The politics of Hindutva which the RSS-BJP has been experimenting throughout India is the gift of UP. If the BJP managed to come to power in 2022 no force can stop the RSS in transforming India into a Hindu Rashtra. All the democratic institutions would turn irrelevant and dissipated. In fact the identity of India would be eroded.
The RSS leadership would not have preferred to change the balance of power. But it is compelled by the circumstances and incompetence of Yogi. He is the right leader to arouse the Hindu feelings, the communal violence and the fantasies, but that is not enough for victory of the party. The government must appear to be in command and presents the façade of governance. Yogi has been found to be completely failure on these counts. During his rule every village has lost five to ten people to the corona. Ganga was flooded with the dead bodies which gave a bad name to Modi and his government at the international level.
Narendra Modi and Amit Shah may share the same ideological ambitions as Adityanath. But their war of attrition would witness emergence of new political force and equation in the state. Traditional caste equation will undergo major changes and after a long period the farmers, this time a combination of Junkers and farm labourers, would challenge the political hegemony of the rightist forces. The electoral battle of UP will also make the warring saffron camps to clarify their political narratives and contour of the Hindutva politics. The massive drubbing in Bengal that has immensely hurt the BJP has made the RSS leadership rewrite the implications and meaning of Hindutva. (IPA Service)