By Sushil Kutty
Last weekend a piece in a top newspaper asked “who will challenge Narendra Modi?” implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no alternative other than himself. However, even as the post posed the question, the answer had been out twisting in the wind for months. A section of Modi’s Hindutva vote-bank had been drifting away, hugely disturbed with the trajectory Modi and his so-called Hindu nationalist government was taking “Bharat” along.
Trust in the lapsed Hindu icon had been diminishing in line with the diminishing returns for the Hindutva-inclined from voting the BJP again, and again. Recent events and government decisions had given an urgency to this agency. There was a growing belief that Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot be relied upon to spearhead ‘Sanatan dharma’ to glory.
With every decision and action, political and administrative, Modi was seen to be colluding with the minority Muslim vote-bank that he was so assiduously wooing at the perceived cost of Hindu aspirations, and Hindu interests, fully backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Muslims’ so-called nightmare, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
However, an alternative for the BJP had been found; an answer to the question “who will challenge Modi?” The premise is that Modi can be challenged and beaten only by a party of Hindus which works only for furthering Hindu interests. The ‘Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal’ will be launched from the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar on April 23, and it will be a political party “of Hindus, by Hindus, for Hindus.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party is at a loss for words. The Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal dug up the BJP’s constitution and found the words “secular”, and “Gandhian socialist” in it. Also, in 2015, LK Advani confidante Sudheendra Kulkarni had raised a ruckus over an NDA government advertisement without “secularism” and “socialism” in the preamble of India’s Constitution. This is not Vajpayee’s Constitution of India, he told Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reminding Modi of his “commitment” to “secularism”.
Modi is extremely sensitive when Vajpayee is mentioned. It goes back to Gujarat 2002, and PM Vajpayee’s insistence on following “Raj Dharma”. The taming of Narendra Modi began from that moment 20 years ago. Then, as he tried his best to follow “Raj Dharma”, he also decided that he would not let his past cast a shadow on his present. In a manner of speaking, Modi dug his own grave.
The Frankenstien is now asking for its pound of flesh. Sections of Modi’s Hindutva vote-bank that made him Prime Minister twice see hope in the ‘Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal’. Suddenly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a weak doddering leader. Criticism is Modi’s Achilles Heel, from ever since Modi started drawing flak for Gujarat 2002, though all through he kept the myth alive that he was ‘Hindu Hyridya Samrat’ and benefited greatly from it.
No longer is the case. Modi is suddenly seen as more secular than thou. Millions of Hindus believe he is a maulana in disguise. Lakhs others think he is calculative, ruthless and entirely without scruples; so much so, he would be okay with trading 10 percent of Hindu vote for 20 percent of Pasmanda Muslim vote if this would return the BJP to power and make PM for a third time.
The people behind Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal speak of BJP President JD Nadda asking BJP leaders to refrain from mentioning “Hindu Rashtra”. They point to PM Modi’s advice to BJP leaders to reach out to Pasmanda Muslims even if they would not vote for the BJP. The ESBD says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has beaten Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in “Muslim appeasement”.
In fact, the backers of Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal say Prime Minister Narendra’s “Muslim-prem” is not limited to “tushtikaran (appeasement)”, but has taken on the “dangerous form of triptikaran (satiation)”. For the “rewakenedsanatani Hindus”, Modi’s game is up. And it’s time the Prime Minister is exposed. Otherwise the damage done to the majority community would be irreparable.
Hindus were being stopped from celebrating their festivals. Such wasn’t the case in the 60 years of Congress rule. In fact, the BJP was increasingly trying to become Congress-like without having the skill-set to rule a multi-cultural, and multi-religious country. Fact is, the Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal is a slap on the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party; especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, at the end of the day, is neither here nor there. Muslims will not vote for the BJP in 2024. And the Hindus are thinking… Hindu seers and Hindu godmen are speaking of the Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal. So are the thousands-strong BJP YouTubers community. The ESBD has plans to contest the 2024 general elections. (IPA Service)