Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How will the BJP use Modi

The three day Sadhbhavna fast under taken by the Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi has finally managed to push him on to the national stage from where he will look to play a more pan-India role.

The decision of Modi to abstain from food for three days to promote  unity in the state came at a time when the octogenarian and the BJP PM in waiting since time immemorial, LK Advani had just announced his decision to go on an all India Rath yatra to highlight corruption in the country .

This much televised and massively twitterized fast of Modi has managed to take the away the hype and the buzz that the announcement of Advani had generated.

Political commentators feel that the decision of RSS to  support Modis fast rather than Advanis yatra has made it clear as to how much clout does Modi  enjoys in the RSS circles.

Lk Advani who was the face of the BJP in the last general election failed miserably in countering Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. And it is unlikely that the BJP will be repeating the same mistake. The BJP needs to bring Modi to the national screen, because like Rahul Gandhi, Modi too has a charisma which attracts either  love or hatred but it becomes very  hard to ignore him completely.

Ever since Modi, riding on his image of a pro-development leader won the assembly election in Gujarat for the second time in row, the call for giving him a larger role has increased.

One of the reason for this is the fact that Gujarat has set an impressive example of how good governance can usher in prosperity spanning all religion.

Its been nine years since the riots took place but Modi is yet to accept that it was a failure on the part of his government to stop the riots and asked for forgiveness, as alleged by many inside and outside Gujarat who see him as a fundamentalist monster.

Similarly his criticizers are also yet to accept the fact that governance and development has considerably healed the wounds of 2002.

The predicament with  Modi is that he is not sure as to how things will unfold if he accepts that he failed in his duty when Gujarat burnt in 2002, as alleged by his detractors,who are quite sizable in number and constitute social activists,journalists and jurists apart from the ubiquitous politicians.

If he accepts his act of turning a blind eye to the riots then the opposition party will pounce on him  and say that he is a Hitler who was trying to be a Gandhi all these years. Secondly and more importantly, Modi would not have forgotten as to what  happened to LK Advani when he praised Jinnah in Pakistan.

But if Modi aspires to don a bigger role he will have to walk the difficult path and accept that things would have been different if he would have acted in a way that was expected from the Chief Minister of the state.

Modi’s image in public is that of someone who will walk the talk, someone who is not afraid to take the hard decisions and someone who will stick his neck out in the times of crisis rather than being bowed down by it. If he accepts his shortcomings during 2002, this image of his will grow more brighter and larger and prove more beneficial in the long run.

But he will have to be careful in choosing his partners who he wants to take along in the journey to 2014.

Even though 2014 is still three years away, yet it seems difficult to believe that the NDA will be able to arrive on a consensus candidate for a PM by then. Specially when one we take the views of JD(U), a critical ally of NDA into  account.

The JD(U) has categorically said that they are against projecting Narendra Modi as the Prime ministerial candidate.

Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister, on any given day is a more ‘Politically’ acceptable PM because of his image of being a ‘Moderate’.  His role in pulling Bihar from the nadir to a much better position now is well known and if it comes to governance mark- sheet he can easily say that he has done much more than what Modi has done, simply because Bihar was in a much more weaker position as compared to Gujarat when Nitish kumar took over as the CM.

The BJP and the JD(U) are running a coalition government in Bihar and even though the BJP performed stupendously in the previous assembly elections, it will be a bit too hard  for the saffron party to repeat the same magic in the general elections if it decides to go alone.

The senior BJP party leaders have to realize that many of their party candidates won the election in Bihar because people wanted to see Nitish Kumar again. Even Muslim dominated areas saw the victory of BJP candidates because the electorates were keen on giving Nitish a second inning and not because they wanted the Lotus to bloom.

The fact that Narendra Modi has been cozying up with Raj Thackeray and his MNS will definitely alienate the BJP vote bank in the state of Bihar,Jharkhand and UP. More so if the RJD,SP,BSP and the Congress decides to politicize this, which they will surely do.

The BJP may be able to weaken Shiv Sena in Maharastra by forming an alliance with the MNS but to think that the electorates in the North India state will ignore this and forget the hooliganism that MNS resorted to  on ground of regionalism would be expecting too much.

Though its been three years since Raj Thackeray launched his anti-north Indian tirade yet those senseless violence are still fresh in the minds of the people and seeing Modi and Thackeray hugging each other is sure to reopen the old wounds.

The BJP will have to act smartly in deciding as to how much risk it can expose itself to by going with the MNS and thereby alienating the considerable population of North Indians in Maharashtra itself and the other states of North India. But how to deal with Raj Thackrey issue is a minor headache.

The bigger issue for them right now is how to use the Modi-mania. Perhaps, the answer to this question is something that only the time will tell.

For all of us.

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