By Arun Srivastava
The political spectre looming over the country points to bad days. The recent political actions of Narendra Modi without any ambiguity underline the threat of India turning into an authoritarian state. Modi has turned so self-aggrandizer that he is reluctant to stand to his critics belonging to his own party.
He is on the drive to weed out such elements, though done behind the veneer of revitalising the party and honouring the stalwarts. What made Modi to suddenly realise the importance of rehabilitation of the old leaders whom he had removed from the scene is really intriguing. The fact cannot be obliterated that Nitish Kumar’s jolt has unnerved Modi and he has been using all kind of machinations to boost his image and position.
Claims by his friends that in his speech from the Red Fort he has unveiled a new vision is an instance. But these people could not cite even one tangible instance. Even his friends cannot deny that Modi is in the prevailing political situation is held in low esteem. Obviously, the reply lies in the wisdom that he has failed to fulfil the popular expectation of the people that he would come up to their expectations and provide good governance and maintain personal integrity.
He has come to nurture the feeling that he is even superior to the RSS and he instead of taking calls from the RSS leaders could dictate them. Modi who already nursed egotism become more arrogant. He did not like to have any adversary even in his dreams. The latest move of dropping efficient union minister Nitin Gadkari and MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan from the Parliamentary Board of the party is a candid example.
In a major reshuffle ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP on Wednesday reconstituted its two top decision-making bodies, 11-member Parliamentary Board and 15-member Central Election Committee dropping Nitin Gadkari and Shivraj Singh Chauhan, indicating their diminishing stock in the party. Undeniably omission of Gadkari from the powerful board signals a major generational and political shift in the highest echelons of the BJP in the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah era. Modi has sent a clear message that he was not willing to tolerate any kind criticism to his leadership.
Gadkari is also a former BJP chief and by virtue of this he should have find a place in the board. The party keeps former presidents in the decision-making process. Gadkari is also known for his proximity to RSS, closer than Modi. The party made six new entries, including Punjab cadre IPS officer Iqbal Singh Lalpura and Haryana leader Sudha Yadav, in the Parliamentary Board. Headed by President JP Nadda, the two panels include who’s who of the BJP — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh.
Significantly former Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa and union minister Sarbananda Sonowal have found place in the new committees. Yediyurappa was forced to resign as the Chief Minister on the allegation of his being involved in corruption. Though his induction points to Modi’s desire to expand in South India, it also aims at countering the domination of RSS.
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, who led the BJP to an unprecedented second term in the state, has not been “rewarded”. He is not on good terms with Modi-Shah. It implied that he has no role to play in the decision-making process.
Modi was working on the design to combine the RSS’s traditional sense of organization with the populist nature of politics. Initially he succeeded to a large extent but now in the prevailing situation he is finding himself in a bind. Precisely this is the reason that he is trying to present his image larger than the image of the RSS. Modi had helped the party to win municipal elections. But these utterly lacked the economic issues. It was purely based on caste equations. In a way Modi has mastered the art of using caste and communalism. And this has doing in the prevailing situation too. Using his skill, he strengthened the party’s electoral base in Gujarat.
Modi has been blue eyed boy of RSS, but his desperation to outgrow has of late strained his relationship with the RSS. The most recent example is his call “Har Ghar Tiranga”. This move of Modi had actually put the RSS is an embarrassing situation. Just ahead of the final day, August 15, some of the RSS leaders put flags on the houses. This ambivalence of the RSS leaders had prompted the Congress leader Jairam Ramesh to say; “We are putting DP of our leader Nehru with tricolour in hand. But it seems that the message of the prime minister did not reach his family only. Those who did not hoist the flag in their headquarters in Nagpur for 52 years, will they obey the prime minister?”
It is a fact that Modi’s endeavour to flood social media profiles with the national flag has not moved RSS. It also did not obey Modi’s directive to change the display profiles to the tricolour to mark the 75th year of Independence. The mood could be made out from the observation of a senior RSS functionary: “We don’t take any decision under anyone’s pressure. If the display pic of our official Twitter handle has to be changed, it will be in due course of time.”
The RSS leadership is beleaguered with the sense that BJP leadership has been trying to deny its inherent right to oversee the BJP’s morals and manners and it does not like drafting of the senior RSS leaders into the BJP. The party leadership is pursuing its own independent political line which are not approved by the RSS though it provides foot soldiers to ensure the victory of the BJP candidates in the elections. The feed backs received from RSS cadres working at the ground level has been quite disappointing and it feels that the BJP is losing ground, though Modi is the only vote getter. (IPA Service)