Time to Add Large-hearted Vajpayeeism to Govt and More of Upadhyay's Credo to Party
Amit Shah with Narendra Modi
Two weeks ago, I wrote in my column that the real target of the attack on select Union ministers and BJP chief ministers is the Prime Minister. In the past few days, many penmeisters and opinion organists have proved me correct by making collaborative comments on the political scene. Some have even raised querulous questions on the credibility of Narendra Modi vis-à-vis Lalit Modi, the controversial Cricket Samrat. By no stretch of imagination can they be compared except by their last name. Ironically, that too also separates the two. Prime Minister Modi is an austere Gujarati, while the Cricket Commando Modi loves to “live life king-size”, as goes the slogan for Four Square cigarettes, produced by the Modi family-owned Godfrey Phillips. Picking Lalit Modi to tar the image of the PM is the stepchild of twisted logic. NaMo is the BJP’s most powerful brand, marketed as a political product, which is miles ahead of its nearest rivals. The PM’s detractors would love to demolish this brand, which will dent the BJP.
You will agree that it is after many decades that the Sangh Parivar has found a person who can capture the political market with his style and substance. But now, millions of BJP karyakartas and adhikaris have to protect his value by functioning as a vigilant marketing team. You have broken the record by enrolling the highest number of members for the BJP, making it the world’s largest political party. You have also broken records set by your predecessors by covering almost all the 29 states and all the Union Territories. You are in the process of creating a band of young leaders who believe in NaMo and your leadership. But it is your responsibility to insulate the Modi government from vicious attacks emanating from inside the party and outside. The government publicity machinery has failed to reverse the current anti-NaMo perception. Cosy dinners with media mavens, columnists and opinionated intellectuals haven’t paid dividends so far. In fact, the tone and tenor of the MSM have ratcheted up the virulence after prolonged talk fests over gourmet food. Perhaps, what transpired afterwards influenced the minds of the media barons and celebrities. Ironically, a leader, who provided a corruption-free government for a year, is being blamed for violating public probity. When the government apparatus is drowning in a flood of insinuations, it is the party’s job to come to the rescue of its leader.
The time has come for you to step in. The BJP needs to choose its friends carefully and monitor enemies with an eagle eye. There seems to be an attempt to ignore the party’s core constituency and woo those who dine with you but whine with your worst enemies. If you too indulge them, the victims will be the party and PM. The new leadership is yet to acquire credibility with the cadre, in spite of its cutting-edge instruments of communications. Because of your perennial peregrinations, your accessibility to middle-level ministers and office-bearers is limited. They neither have the acumen nor the ability to counter the bombardment of biased opponents directed at NaMo by opponents who flaunt facetious facts with delicate diction in TV studios. The BJP and its government are confused over the target audience of these talking televisionistas. Party insiders notice a covert but ominous conflict between the ersatz liberals in the government and the BJP, and committed nationalist right-wing cadre. Even the PM has acquired the image of a nationalist Leftie who promotes nationalism with welfare state nuances. NaMo and you are ideologically uncomfortable with Nehruvian culture and politics. Both of you are pure Bharatiyas who smell Bharatiyata, practise Bharatiyata and promote Bharatiyata. This has put you in direct conflict with those who hold Indian passports but project themselves as only global citizens. So when you promoted yoga, they adopted an antagonistic posture against the PM’s Indian cultural idiom. When NaMo does his Mann ki Baat, they snigger over cocktails. The BJP’s pronounced policy of Indianising culture, heritage and curriculum threatens the survival of those whose understanding of the Bharatiya way of life is flawed. They stand to lose their elite status acquired through elitist education and luxurious upbringing. If the Bharatiya becomes stronger, they lose their relevance as theoretical tautologists.
The sustained attack on some leaders is to weaken those carrying forward, rightly or wrongly, the Hindutva agenda. Ministers like Smriti Irani and Sushma Swaraj have become eyesores for secularists because they have shaken a system that was controlled by Left-wing intellectuals and Nehruvian acolytes. Irani has dismantled much of the previous academic infrastructure, which was used to sabotage Indian heritage, literature, economics and sociology. She has inducted those who can effectively flush out imbalanced internationalists. Swaraj has helped restore India’s dominance in international affairs. Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has been hyperactive in cleansing the state’s corrupt and indolent establishment. So, it was no surprise that he was targeted viciously for a fabricated act of negligence. Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje may have committed an act of indiscretion in the Lalit saga, but her fall will weaken the BJP in the state. The campaign against MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju is aimed at destroying the credibility of a government, which is the first to focus on developing the Northeast. NaMo and the BJP had dictated the agenda and terms of public discourse during and after the polls. Now it is the reverse. A coalition of disjointed political parties and retired, tired and fired self-seekers are defining the terms of engagement.
You are going to be the next target of your adversaries, who have inflicted a sliver of slight on the PM’s stature. So far, you have won important elections and revived the party. But ever since the BJP’s devastating defeat in the Delhi Assembly polls, questions are being raised about your organisational skills and capacity to win votes.
Your detractors hope Bihar will be your Waterloo. If you fail in Pataliputra, they would take pride in the fall of a colossus who is NaMo’s most powerful general. You have to be careful in choosing your point-men in Bihar. It is possible a part of the current crisis of credibility is due to your heavy dependence on those who have moved up the party ladder mainly by their loyalty to certain leaders. Delhi was lost because you walked into a trap by choosing outsider Kiran Bedi as the CM candidate over more deserving leaders from within. In Bihar and UP, you have been bubble-wrapped by a cabal to prevent you from receiving contrarian views from all. Those who are loyal to the saffron creed and have faith in NaMo’s leadership are getting isolated. As the party president, it’s time for you to add a bit of large-hearted Vajpayeeism to the government and more of Deendayal Upadhyay’s credo to the party. Any attempt to make the BJP inclusive by including party-hoppers and globetrotters would pose a cataclysmic challenge, eclipsing the one being posed by Gandhi Parivar. Modi won the war by demolishing them. You shouldn’t lose the next one because of them.
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