By Sushil Kutty
For Prime Minister Narendra Modi the Bharatiya Janata Party is the only pan-India party. The rest are all family-administered outfits. He forgot CPM and CPI which are not family-owned. But that is his won’t, strands of selective amnesia. And to think that he hopes the BJP will rule Kerala one day, for which the left-parties need to be ousted first. The Prime Minister was laying the foundation stone for an extension of the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
He was in an expansive mood though he kept his face deadpan. He spoke of the BJP’s journey from two Lok Sabha seats in 1984 to 303 in 2019. “In many states, we have more than 50 per cent votes. “From north to south and from east to west, the BJP is the only pan-India party.” He couldn’t slow down. So, “the BJP is not only the world’s biggest, but also the most futuristic party.”
That settled, the Prime Minister got down to brass-tacks, which was to mount a scathing attack on rival political outfits, none of which was in a position to take on the BJP. And, ominously, Modi warned that don’t expect relief or reprieve, “false allegations” levelled at the government would not halt the “clampdown on corruption; even if some people get angry.”
Comparing UPA’s 2004 to 2014 rule with his 2014 to now, Modi said “they (UPA)” seized Rs 5,000 crore in assets, “our” seizures rose to a massive Rs 1.10 lakh crore.
Then came the quote of the evening: “Opposition parties have come together to launch a ‘Bhrashtachari Bachao Abhiyan’, and are attacking the constitutional institutions of the country.” Meaning, the central investigating agencies like the ED, CBI, and the IT Department, the efforts of all of which were behind the “clampdown on corruption”, which the Opposition considers is a well-concealed conspiracy to cover-up the government’s own, and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s, corruption.
For all the shouts and screams, and the ‘O! No’, one thing is crystal clear, that old dog ‘corruption’ will be the single-biggest election issue through 2023, beginning with the Karnataka assembly elections in April-May 2023, right up to the last vote cast in the 2024 general elections. People want something solid and palpable to dig their fingers in before they get the indelible ink on one of them.
And despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s obsessive silence on Adani, refusing to even take the name of his “friend”, the Adani-Modani-Hindenburg issue will be one side of the corruption coin, and on the other side will be the sum total of all “corruption” unearthed by the central investigating agencies.
Modi, at the inauguration function at the BJP headquarters, spoke of conspiracies to defame “our institutions” and about questions being raised on the judicial system. He kept up the refrain that action against corruption had compelled all the “corrupt” to gang up against the government. Invoking the ’T’ word, Modi called them all “termites”.
And while on termites, the Prime Minister did not forget his own party’s relentless rise. The BJP is today the world’s single largest party in terms of sheer numbers, with a membership of “over 22 crore” and counting; something the West has taken note of and cannot believe their eyes or ears, it sounded so unreal to them. “BJP is not made from the screens of newspapers and TV channels, and is not made from Twitter and YouTube,” the BJP’s iconic PM said.
Maybe, or maybe not. The fact remains BJP is the richest political party in India with assets of Rs 2,700 crore dwarfing the Congress party’s Rs 929 crore. This is recorded in an Association of Democratic Reforms report that pegged the combined assets of 48 national and regional parties at over Rs 7,372 crore. The ADR report placed Mayawati’s BSP, one of seven national parties, at No.3 with assets worth Rs 738 crore or 13.80 percent of the total. The BJP‘s percentage share was over 54 percent.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s distinct pride at the rise of the BJP is only matched by the fears and concerns that run parallel. Especially with the growing realization that the “BJP is not only the world’s most important foreign political party, it may also be the least understood.” And India under BJP rule, along with Japan, will be the “linchpin of American strategy in the Indo-Pacific”.
The Western powers that have noted the increasing clout of India among the comity of nations are also convinced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is here to stay and after 2014 and 2019, general elections 2024 will be yet another reaffirmation of continuing Modi rule. No wonder Prime Minister Narendra Modi strode the stage at the BJP headquarters like he owned the evening, the next morning, and the day after the day after! The Prime Minister may be gloating too much, but he has enough reasons. The Congress and the non-BJP opposition can throw challenge to him through their electoral performance. The Karnataka assembly polls date has been announced. This time for the Congress to show the Prime Minister his place by trouncing the BJP. (IPA Service)