By Sushil Kutty
Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party keep talking about “appeasement”, accusing the Opposition, especially the Congress, of “minority appeasement” and coming to power time and again on that plank. The notion was drummed into the electorate that the BJP never engaged in appeasement of any sort. The accusation has now come back to bite BJP in the rear.
Big numbers of Modi’s diehard vote-bank are accusing Modi of going out of his way to appease—in Modi’s own estimation—a “small section” of the farming community. Modi’s rightwing accusers say Modi cannot be trusted; that if he can throw the “majority of farmers” under the bus for the sake of a “small section of farmers”, what else can he be capable of?
And if this was not appeasement, what is? In fact, they say Modi’s “appeasement politics” goes deeper — stating that after winning the 2019 majority, Modi has been taking his rightwing support base for granted, and that Manmohan Singh only said that the minorities have the first right on national resources, Modi actually practices it.
Modi, these people assert, suffers from an acute case of “Inferiority Complex”, which makes him crave for “acceptance” from left-liberal counterparts. They are absolutely sure that Modi is weakening ideologically under the influence of his western peers. Everytime an Angela Merkel avoids a Modi handshake, or the UN chief shuns a “Modi bear-hug”, Modi is all the more eager to “become like them”.
Modi, they state quite seriously, is of no use anymore to the rightwing cause. “Bring Yogi Adityanath,” they chorus. This is not bunkum, this is hard truth — a bunch of the rightwing ecosystem is voicing these thoughts. Folks in this group say they fell for Modi’s “jhaansa” in 2014—and in 2019—but not anymore. And they are increasingly voluble.
Among them are mainstream media journalists as well so-called “citizen journalists” on Twitter and on Facebook—also retired bureaucrats and rightwing social media influencers. They are convinced Modi has deviated from hardcore Hindutva and that if anything can get Modi on the back-foot, it is the accusation that he is a fanatic Hindutva amplifier.
At the same time, people surrounding Modi—babus as well as BJP netas—believe that Modi is setting himself up for PM-for-life a la the President-for-Life in the country north of India. Therefore, Modi can afford to rile the majority and bow before the “few.” The majority of the 37% who voted Modi in 2019 are angry he succumbs too easily to pressure groups.
There is apprehension in the minds of the hard rightwing that Modi will give in to those who are asking for a repeal of Article 370 and the CAA. Cries for the reinstitution of 370 and scrapping of CAA are already being heard. Also, the “few” who Modi chose to apologize to and appease are in no mood to relent. They have tasted blood, say Modi’s rightwing antagonists. “They know Modi gives in under pressure.”
In fact, the rightwing disappointed lot are adamant that the triumphant farmers, before whom Modi sunk his head in his 56” chest, have become emboldened to “blackmail” him, and that Modi continues to appease the ‘blackmailers”—that Modi’s craving for “acceptance” from the left-liberal is chronic.
They say Modi, right from when he became aware— i.e., post-2014—is hungry for approval from the likes of Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, especially seeing his “Gujarat record”. The ‘bhakt’ will not go anywhere—cannot as long as TINA rules Modi’s stars. The rightwing lot eager for quick implementation of the rightwing agenda believes Modi wouldn’t go away himself.
He has to go, though, say the newfound Modi-haters. “But how?” TINA has to be neutralized. There are two ways. One, the BJP should be made to realize that unless the party debunks Modi, they can kiss goodbye to power in 2024. The “Oust Modi” cry should come from within the party. Party leaders other than Amit shah should be targeted and made to feel desperate to boot Modi out.
Modi must be made to realize he is no longer rightwing darling. “We have given him the power to overrule us, the electorate that got him the chance to enjoy the perks of power, of all the tughlaki farmaans, it is too rich to digest,” the “andhbakhts” are absolutely sure that Modi has to be edged out. Modi’s appeasement politics has to be nipped in the bud. (IPA Service)