News Analysis

‘One-Upmanship’ Politics of Narendra Modi

Hamid Ali Khan

The three-day national executive meet of the R.S.S. at Kochi that concluded on Sunday last assumes significance in the context of Narendra Modi’s utterances at the public rallies in different parts of the country. These are at variance with the stand of the R.S.S. on various issues, like the construction of a grand Ram mandir at Ayodhya, scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granting special status of Jammu and Kashmir and a common civil code for all the communities. The national executive meet began on the note to strive for the success of the prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the hustings due in May next year. The national meet is more of a brainstorming session to devise ways to ensure BJP’s success in the Lok Sabha elections 2014. This underscores R.S.S. articulation to back the BJP in order to catapult it to power. As the reports suggest, the R.S.S. was forced to anoint Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The R.S.S. is skeptical of Narendra Modi’s clout as a recalcitrant leader who could defy R.S.S. diktat at will. The R.S.S. leash on the BJP is aimed at charting out a course for itself to enforce the Hindutva agenda in the country. This explodes the myth being spread by the R.S.S. to be a cultural organization. The R.S.S. is pursuing the same agenda in India as Hitler did in Germany and Musolini in Italy. While Hitler persecuted and got killed a large number of Jews in Germany and in other small neghbouring countries, Musolini silenced the opposition by incarcerating them and demolishing democratic institutions. The R.S.S. too wants to replicate Hitler and Musolini by spreading ‘hate minorities’ (read Muslims) campaign and engineering anti-Muslim riots in the country.

Several enquiry commissions have concluded that the R.S.S and its frontal organizations have systematically organized riots by spreading rumours that sparked off communal violence. This is the time-tested formula to indulge in hate campaign against the Muslims. Narendra Modi is gradually going into his image makeover as a solo campaigner. Some of his remarks at public meetings are not liked by the R.S.S. This is reflected in the statement of the R.S.S. joint general secretary Dattareya Hosable, who, briefing the press on the second day of the meet, differed with Narendra Modi over Rahul Gandhi’s statement on ISI’s attempt to lure Muslim youths in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar. He said, “Rahul Gandhi’s claim at a poll rally in Indore is right to an extent. The UPA government needs to take firm action against such tendencies”. It may be recalled that Narendra Modi on October 26 last at a rally in Jhansi had attacked Rahul Gandhi over the latter’s claim that intelligence had told him about ISI’s plot to recruit some Muslim victims of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar. Commenting on Rahul’s remark in Indore, Narendra Modi said, ‘Sahebzade Saheb should either reveal the names of the youths who you say are in touch with the ISI or should apologies publically for maligning the image of youths from the Muslim community”.

The use of this mocking reference to Rahul Gandhi sounds ambivalent. One can deduce from his remark that Narendra Modi is undergoing an image makeover as a Hindutva icon and is offering an olive branch to Muslims to engage with him. This has kicked up a debate among Muslims if the posturing of NaMo is a bait to entice them to the BJP. Several clerics have softened their stand on NaMo citing that no communal clashes took place after the pogrom of 2002. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmud Madani went on to say, ‘In the past ten years, more than 48 communal clashes have occurred in Rajasthan while 102 have been reported in the past one-and-a-half years in U.P. The number of Muslim youths in the jails of Maharashtra and Rajasthan exceed those in Gujarat’. Prominent Shia cleric, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq is also ready to accept Modi if he shuns his communal agenda. In order to placate them, NaMo avoids raising issues that may offend Muslims. Putting the real agenda under wraps, he harps on good governance and development as witnessed in Gujarat during his rule. The Gujarat model he is marketing is an extension of the model that existed much before the ascendancy of NaMo. It may be called a Gujarati model, instead of a Gujarat mode. Being a littoral state, Gujarat can boast of possessing good ports and better connectivity with the outer world. Over the centuries trade and commerce thrived in the state due to sea route to the Middle East and the African countries.

At the conclusion of the RSS three-day national executive meeting, the Congress-led UPA government came in for attack. Assailing the UPA government, the RSS held it responsible for scams and corruption, rising prices and called upon the people to vote in good numbers for bringing about a change RSS general secretary Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi criticised the government for retrieving the Communal Violence Bill dubbing it as “anti-harmony” draft legislation. RSS thus thrives under the garb of being a nationalist and cultural organisation. It very much meddles with the affairs of the BJP and takes decisions on crucial issues like policy formulation and key appointments.

After dumping his political mentor, L.K. Advani, NaMo realised that RSS alone could not catapult him to power. Thus he enlisted the support of big business houses. He doled out favours to them by allotting prime land for setting up industries. The fertile land belonging to less important farmers was seized and sold to big industrial houses for a song. The big business failed in its bid to project NaMo as a rising star on the Indian political firmament. NaMo may not carry conviction with all the communities due to his dictatorial attitude and the style of functioning. Though his diatribe against the Congress is becoming more shrill day after day, his prescription for ills plaguing the country is yet to be unveiled.

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