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Thursday, April 18, 2013

A sacrifice the BJP cannot afford

With the party’s rank and file squarely behind Narendra Modi, a parting of ways with Nitish Kumar may now be impossible to prevent

By Swapan Dasgupta

For the past two months, India’s powerful Left-liberal Establishment has been in a state of dejection on account of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.  

First, following his third consecutive election victory in Gujarat last December, Modi’s tag of untouchability was ceremoniously cut off. Corporate India, diplomatic missions and particularly the media which had hitherto shunned him, now joined the aspirational classes in seeing him as a possible saviour, a leader whose steely determination could enable India to realise its full potential in a globalised community. For the past month, Modi has carpet bombed the country with his infectious ‘India can do it’ message. He has certainly found many new converts but, more important, he has aroused considerable curiosity in parts of India that hitherto had only a hazy idea about the man. In the process, he has galvanised the BJP rank-and-file and given them a new-found political purpose.

Secondly, contrary to a pre-conceived notion of what constituted Modi’s appeal, the Gujarat Chief Minister has focussed exclusively on the twin themes of economic development and governance. True, his quasi-Thatcherite message of a minimum but purposeful state has been contested. But despite the criticisms of the “Gujarat model”, Modi has set the terms of an emerging debate. He has carefully steered the focus away from his earlier reputation as an icon of sectarian politics and into bread and butter issues—themes where he clearly outscores the Congress’ would-be challenger Rahul Gandhi.

It is in this context that a nervous Establishment has breathed a sigh of relief at Bihar Chief Minister’s robust intervention at the Janata Dal (United) convention last Sunday. In devoting almost his entire speech to the importance of a Prime Minister with unblemished “secular” credentials and a more inclusive development strategy, Nitish Kumar unambiguously expressed his big ‘No’ to the idea of Modi as a prime ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance. In short, as a long-term ally of the BJP, Nitish resumed the debate on Modi as a possibly divisive figure, a man who couldn’t carry both the pugree-wallas and the topi-wallas.

That Nitish’s tirade against Modi stemmed from his long-standing belief that the latter’s presence in Bihar would be a liability is well known. With Muslim voters accounting for more than 16 per cent of the electorate, Nitish was mindful of the Muslim antipathy to Modi. A Modi-led NDA, he believed, would lead to aggressive Muslim voting to defeat anyone associated with the BJP, a situation that could potentially benefit his main rival Lalu Yadav. Nitish has also believed that if he was perceived as the man who punctured the Modi balloon, it would lead to Muslim voters seeing him (rather than Lalu Yadav) as the great champion of the community. And, if the RJD’s Muslim support was substantially eroded, it would make the JD(U) the dominant party in Bihar, much like the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa. Nitish was in effect attempting a socio-political realignment that would either nullify his dependence on the BJP or even allow him to break with it altogether.

In his private negotiations with the BJP, the Bihar Chief Minister has steadfastly maintained that he values the NDA and that he would have no problem if the BJP chose a leader who is more in the Atal Behari Vajpayee mould. Other JD(U) leaders have stated that the party is completely agreeable to L.K. Advani being given another throw of the dice in 2014.

On the face of it, this may appear to be a case of a coalition partner counselling the BJP against a decision that could potentially be inimical to his local interests. However, it is not as straight forward as it may seem. There are enough grounds to believe that Nitish’s public disavowal of Modi and his implied threat to quit the NDA was a consequence of his belief that his intervention would muddy the waters for the Gujarat Chief Minister and, in the process, leave the BJP deeply divided. It is a matter of conjecture whether Nitish was actually egged on by some BJP leaders to be assertive in his rejection. But there is no doubt that it was silently welcomed by those BJP leaders who are uncomfortable with the idea of Modi. The needle of suspicion invariably points to one individual.

In politics it is impossible to anticipate every outcome. Nitish, it would seem, grossly over-estimated the magnitude of the misgivings over Modi inside the BJP. The rapidity of the BJP’s sharp rebuttal of what it saw as gratuitous advice may well have taken him by surprise. Equally, it is unlikely he anticipated the sharp reaction of BJP karyakartas who are convinced that their best hope for 2014 is Modi.

A large part of the BJP rank-and-file anger against Nitish may well have been emotional, but it is worth remembering that the BJP has always depended on emotions for political motivation. In 2005, it was the emotional antipathy to Advani’s comments at the Jinnah mausoleum that led to the titan being displaced.

Nitish’s anti-Modi utterances have had the same impact. First, it forced the BJP leadership to overrule the do-nothing leaders and come out strongly in defence of Modi. In short, it once again reaffirmed Modi’s status as first among equals. Secondly, Nitish’s December deadline has egged on the more enthusiastic sections of the Modi fan club to demand an end to the ambivalence over the choice of the BJP’s public face for 2014. It is becoming increasingly clear to all the BJP stakeholders that any attempts to deny Modi his overriding role will lead to a grassroots revolt. Finally, Nitish’s Sunday speech which was preceded by many sniper shots directed at Modi, has vitiated BJP-JD(U) relations to the point of no return. It may prove extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prevent a formal parting of ways in Bihar in weeks rather than months. 

Maybe this is what Nitish actually desired, since it gives him a clear 10 months to forge a realignment of forces in Bihar. But no realignment can be one-sided. There are forces in Bihar that could make the outcome of a triangular contest in a Lok Sabha election terribly uncertain. The implications of trying to derail Modi on the strength of a sectional veto may have its own logic that could even override entrenched caste loyalties.

The Hindu, April 18, 2013


Anonymous said...

Spot On!

/!\"HimaLayaN--SwaStikA"/!\ said...

Dada, as always.. awesome article.. I like your intellectual response..

Anonymous said...

Bihar , UP , Karnataka , Tamil Nadu,
Andhra Pradesh the entire Bharath is important for us HINDUS.

Petty politicians like nitish kumars,mulayams,rajasekara reddys, rahul gandhis come & go. We HINDUS ought not to overestimate their importance.

It is Holy Ganges , Gaya , Kaashi Visvanathar Temple , Manjunatha Svami, Kollur Mookambika , Chamundesvari , Lord Venkateshvara,Narasimha Svami who loom before my mind at the very mention of the aforemntioned States.

Certainly not laloos & nitish kumars. As HINDUS it is extremely imperative we stand united voting Sri.Narendra Modi to power. This entire country belongs to us HINDUS.Let us not let our strength get dented by verbiage like secoolar, multiculti, different paths leading to different gods yada yada.

Middle Eastern countries are ISLAMIC yet well governed. No bomb blasts targetting hindus ever happen there. Bangladeshis do not get bogus ration cards & citizenship IDs conferred on them.As they don't have crafty unscrupulous p.chidambarams.

Bomb blasts targetting Hindu Temples & HINDUS take place only in India. It is time we HINDUS also govern our country by taking not one but several leaves from ISLAMIC countries.

As Subramaniam Swamy said why not disenfranchise indian muslims?? This is the ONLY way we stop them from functioning as one monolithic votebank & blackmailing us HINDUS.
BAN eevangelical conversions asking them to QUIT Bharath for good. All that they do is steal , steal , cheat & USURP. We would be better off without their churchianity.

Prof N.K.Singh said...

There is no question of HIndu and Muslim as our Constitution by which we swear is secular. Modi will be defamed if he is painted as defender of Hindus.He has recently in his three speeches outlined governance and economic development as clear ideology. He can be supported for this as first time BJP will have clear goals and India needs these most. Nitish is over played and over assessed.He is good administrator but of late he is trying opportunism

Saurabh Rai said...

And who does the needle of suspicion invariably points to ?

Rajkiran Panuganti said...

"the needle of suspicion invariably points to" ... whom ?? Advani ???

P V Rajeev said...

It is possible Nitesh Kumar breaks away from NDA and lead a federal front of regional parties which include the breakaways from NDA and UPA. Such a front could emerge victorious in the 2014 elections winning by a small majority. Such a possibility cannot be ruled out

ajay bhandari said...

If Mr kumar believes he has done wonders in the state of bihar made it the most progressive state why afraid

Seetharaman Srivatsan said...

the blacksheep is yashwantsinha

Anonymous said...

I am plainly disgusted with the often repeated words "secular" "constitution of india" by ill informed Indians.

The constitution was written by one ambedkar who later confessed he wrote it to cater to the whims of British & that it needs to be incinerated. "Secular" was inserted by the wily Indira Gandhi with two muslim husbands.

In Indian context this word "secular" is potently loaded against HINDUS allowing the rest to ride roughshod over us HINDUS.

I do concur with the sentiments of Sri.Praveen Togadia in this context. The muslims of india have the luxury of having the cake & eating it too unsheathing their swords or resorting to bomb blasts. Ample money pours into India from certain ISLAMIC countries exclusively meant for the muslims leading to proliferation of too many mosques.

Ditto with christians. What is it the christians do not monopolize in India ? They also have too much of money to convert thus grabbing land , its resources including precious water.

It is the pathetic eunuchy HINDUS who do not even know what their Holy Book The VEDAS decree.

In the field of education which is very crucial any detailed study of Hindu Scriptures gets shot down by secoolarists & leftists with the phrase "saffronisation of education". I wrote in detail how health care has been hijacked by allopaths in India. When we have our own indigenous Ayurveda , Siddha & trustworthy Homeopathy too. As allopaths are unscrupulous mercenaries furthering the agenda of missionaries.

Though we have a grossly OBESE parliament the MPs are mostly clueless about everything save corruption. Had they been endowed with profound knowledge would never have allowed genetically modified crops , terminator seeds & carbonated fizzy coke & pepsi to make inroads into India.

Sushma Swaraj deceptively hindu being clad in saree sporting a bindi might make some noises only to be silenced & wooed back to fall in line by WILY kamal naths of congress.

Anonymous said...

The tragedy is evengelicals have been frenziedly stealing everything from HINDUS' Vedas , Upanishads , Thirukkural , Thiruvachakam , Kaivalya Navaneetham , Vishnu Puranam , Srimad Bhagavatham misleading all telling everything was told by (sic) Jesus Christ.

No wonder today you find icons of Jesus Christ in padmasana holding rosary beads & kamandalu. A sizeable chunk of HINDUS' land has already come under the vicious grip of evangelicals.

Take Shahnaz Hussain who presides over a cosmetics industry empire making huge profits all owing to HINDUS' AYURVEDAM. Here muslims do cherry picking but never agree to uphold the sacredness of COWS told by the same VEDAS. The most important cardinal principle of Ayurvedam is:-

" NEVER treat a Ssivadhrohi".

Click on the link below to read how the word "secular" is benefitting all INIMICALS of HINDUS.

Anonymous said...

Land in India has become extremely scarce. Once upon a time Tamil Nadu had lots of lakes , ponds & water bodies. Greedy real estate mafia covered them all with landfill building apartments. In the process we lost precious greenery too.

Today again you find the same ABHORRENT & ARROGANT kamal nath smuggler of crystal & foreign liquor having passed a bill on "land acquisition for industrial projects". Apparently sushma swaraj has given the nod.

Already we have lost our self adequacy in various crops including pulses. Why acquire more land when existing churches can & OUGHT to be demolished to procure land.

Enormous quantities of grains & water get used up for the production of a tiny piece of meat.
It is the meat eaters of India who are the onerous odious burden compared to the vegetarians. Hence as a pious HINDU I feel HINDUS like me should insist on having separate banks so that our earnings & taxes do not get wasted on meeting the calorie requirements , housing , education, water requirements etc etc of HINDUS' INIMICALS.

In India "secular" means egregious mollycoddling of muslims & christians.
Whereas HINDUS GOD SRI.RAM & The SETHU built by HIS DEVOTEES & Aanjaneyar are (sic) laughable juvenile "mythology".

Juxtapose the "cartoon riots" wholeheartedly supported by Indian muslim MPs, MLAs, congress , dmk, dk & leftists with heavy machinery brought from Norway to chisel away & damage Sri.Ram's Sethu.

Muslims, christians, atheists , agnostics & secoolarists barkha dutts , prakash karats are not going to lose their sleep.

Hence I recoil with horror at the word "secular" in Indian context.

Anonymous said...

As an Indian citizen I ought to feel for the well being of Indian Army etc. However does our Army really care for Rama & Krishna & Vedic Ethos ? The black cat commandoes encircle protecting anti Ram anti Vedic politicians of India.

That is the ONLY reason I wrote I feel very happy when I hear of China preparing to "attack" India. Or any tragedy befalling Indians.

Why should I pray & care for those Indians who do not care for HINDUS'
Ram & Krishna.

Anonymous said...

Hindus have become such mental slaves of the West that our Ramayanam & Sri.Ram & Aanjaneyar no longer suffice for us to oppose “sethusamudram project of tr baalus. We wait for opinions from West & satellite pictures of NASA. Many secoolarists flinch at the mention of Lord Ram & various Deities preferring to go for “scientific explanations”. On scientific scrutiny what are these secoolarists & scientists but ashes to ashes & dust to dust. Nothing but a mixture of pancha bhuthas.

When ALL that needs to be said & known have already been enshrined in HINDUS Spiritual Scriptures we ooh aah when some scientists talk about creationism , God particle, the existence of various galaxies expansion of universe etc.

It is HINDUS' VEDAS that gave such potent strength & conviction to Swami Vivekananda who caught an evangelical by his collar ready to throw him out of a moving train when that insolent christian ridiculed Hindus religion.

Swami Vivekananda did not consult ambedkars , kamal naths , conshtityooshun of india.

Pramod Mathur said...

I think Nitish is a smart politician. He got half of what he wanted from very much stressed Congress...some 12000 crores, he will wait for the other half of his demand...the special status for Bihar... when there is a change of guards at the center. Modi is actually not an issue for him...this was a bogey that he launched to fool congress party. He knows it well enough that he is not in a position to blackmail BJP about Modi. BJP will do exactly that they will like to do when it is time to decide the Central leadership. A third front has no chance at all. Many single MP parties like Paswan and Lalu will be no where on the radar after the next elections.

Anonymous said...

Next in line waiting to arm twist & demand heavy compensations / financial packages yada yada is Kerala’s converted christian leftist CROOK OOmen Chandy.

As Arab countries including Saudi Arabia are very firm ( Thank God!) in deporting back lots of Indian expats irrespective of their religion bollykolly nautanki presented. It is mostly Keralities who are going to face problems. As clannish malayalis have sedulously ensured bringing in a huge influx of Keralites.

Now suddenly they have discovered “we are all Indians”. Oomen Chandy & several Keralites have always been virulently hostile towards people of Tamil Nadu. Both within & without India. DMK also pampered them a lot by letting them smuggle cattle , milch cows , sand from riverbeds , rice , vegetables & fruits. Keralites flush with petrodollars have long given up agriculture & meaningful pursuits. Like Bengalis have always been fiery fanatics resorting to hartals , riots , communist ideologies , strikes.

As a preemptive move Oomen Chandy has started making noises that Tamil Nadu also should be included in bearing the cost of “compensating & rehabilitating” the SELFISH keralites. Congress would never antagonize them for political short term gains. Thank God , smart Jayalalithaa is the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

I am all admiration for no nonsense ARABS. They have seen through the CORRUPTION & nepotism of Keralites & bangladeshis also. Arabs can effectively contribute a lot towards fumigation of useless corrupt parasites overpopulating their countries & India.

Jitendra Desai said...

Nitish is behaving like a true socialsit party breakers of yore.[ Madhu Limaye,Mrinal Gore...]Fact is with BJP in alliance in Bihar he need not worry too much about Muslim votes.Alliance was doing fine.It is this congenital urge to break up that is goading him to rake up a non issue.
Though you are right about BJP's internal issues.There are many in BJP who actually do not want BJP to cross 100 seats.Reason? With 100 seats they can strike bargains with likes of Nitish and be happy.But with 200+ it will be Modi all over! These guys are fighting their last battles to save their small fiefdoms.Oh pettiness! thy name is BJP -Delhi leadership.

Anonymous said...

brilliant analysis.

Anonymous said...


"With Muslim voters accounting for more than 16 per cent of the electorate, Nitish was mindful of the Muslim antipathy to Modi."

Just imagine what would be the state of affairs if partition hadn't occurred. Of course, thanks to the decisions made by Indian leadership at the time, people in India will not have to leave it to imagination indefinitely.

- Pessimist

quantum4907 said...

Wonder how many have read Modinama by Madhu Kishwar. Her comments against media and press demonising Modi are worth reading. She gives facts and figures to support her argument and not cliches.