By Sushil Kutty
Has Narendra Modi’s countdown begun? The New York Times took notice of the decision to repeal the three farm laws and pronounced his weakened state. His domination of the Indian political scenario is in shards outside the window he gazes at his peacocks from. November 19, 2021, Narendra Modi was hoisted by his own petard!
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not think twice before he brought in the three farm laws. Old habits die hard. Déjà vu and demonetization. Modi stunned everybody with the decision to dump the three farm laws. He waited 10 months and 700 farmers-dead later. So, is Modi hasty or slow? His legion of supporters were surprised—fooled?
Post his decision to repeal the farm laws, the entire 37 percent who voted him in 2019 are stupefied. They did not think this was their man. Perhaps, an imposter! After all, the Modi masks hadn’t all disappeared. Yogi Adityanath’s election rallies feature them prominently among the crowd.
Point is, Narendra Modi’s macho masculinity is a mask—the 56” chest shrunk to pigeon-size. Think of Kangana Ranaut with the Padma Shree and Instagram bravado. The actor who played Mahakarnika ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’. The one whose memory Modi paid homage to in Jhansi the evening of the morning he surrendered.
On the morning of November 19, Ranaut couldn’t believe her eyes, nor her ears. And she was quick to pounce. “Shameless!” she posted on Instagram. To add insult to injury, this woman who questioned Mahatma Gandhi’s credibility and stature, told Modi he headed a “Jihadi nation”. What a lousy day for Modi, which side of the bed did he get off from?
It is another matter that it was his own policies that got him to these straits. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is no longer strongman—tough guy! He never had a heart of gold to begin with. In fact, most Punjab and Haryana and Western UP farmers thought he never had a heart to begin with, forget gold heart!
The story is how can a politician with such a brute majority succumb to pressure? The NYT calls it “a rare retreat”. Most Indians think of a man who has thrown in the towel. The body language of Yogi Adityanath told the story of Modi’s weakest day on the planet. All the Yogi could do was wring his hands. If anybody lost bigger than Modi, it’s the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
The pressure will be on Yogi. He will have to win the UP elections on his own. His dark looks and voice “yesterday” told the story of a man burdened. Will the Yogi win UP with his boss emasculated? Modi’s acolytes are dejected. They couldn’t have believed in their vilest nightmare that Modi, of all the people, would fold like a pack of dog-eared cards!
Who was the one who said Modi is the sort who gambles to win—Baazigar? Nobody expected Modi to abdicate. Okay, there were some who called him “Surrender Modi”, but those people were rendered asunder, and shut up. Now Modi’s genuine followers— the legendary bhakts—are stunned and comatose.
If Kangana Ranaut stands against Modi in 2024, she will win hands down based on Modi’s November 19 performance. Modi and BJP won 37 percent of votes in 2019; 67 percent voted against Modi. But the BJP won 303 seats. November 19, Modi supporters were wondering whether they could trust this man with their votes again.
They are waiting for Modi to do something so dramatic that his reputation as a strongman is restored in one fell swoop. But they also wonder if the man will ever be able to get out of the rabbit hole of his own making. There is a strong feeling in Modi-bhakts that the Hindu nationalists got their chance and Modi blew it!
The funny part is many are laughing at Modi. “Masterstroke” jokes are doing the rounds and comedian Vir Das is being quoted—especially his “I come from India where 75 year old leaders…” Modi’s stock has fallen to a laughing stock.
Narendra Modi buckled under pressure. Old habit. Modi buckled under pressure in 2002 and “Gujarat” happened. Modi, it seems, is either unfortunate or doesn’t know sometimes what he is doing? Gujarat 2002, his kneejerk actions led to a bloodbath. Now, 20 years later, Narendra Modi has buckled again. They are already asking for a review of CAA and Article 370. And the farmers haven’t as yet called it a day even if Modi has. (IPA Service)