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Monday, June 3, 2013

Modi or no one, there is no third choice

By Swapan Dasgupta

During my college days when high intellectualism and profanity went hand in hand, there was a crude Hindi phrase that became shorthand for a phenomenon that can best be described as the hype-that-never. It is possible that the high-minded disciples of the venerable Dr Raghu Vira in the BJP have never allowed such disagreeable colloquialisms to sully their speech and thoughts. This may explain why this repository of high culture has titillated itself with unending foreplay—a perversity that is fast becoming a bore.   

The allusion is to the tortuous prevarication that has greeted the intense all-round pressure that the BJP end the uncertainty over the leadership question. The speculation over the role to be played by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the general election has been hanging fire for nearly six months. Now, as the political game enters the proverbial slog overs stage, the impatience of those who are demanding a formal decision is approaching boiling point. They want a decision, preferably at the meeting of the National Executive in Goa later this week.

The choices before the BJP leaders are simple: either they project Modi as the face of the general election campaign or they adopt a lofty stand that the party is more important than any individual. There is no third path. The suggestion, periodically mooted by sundry individuals, that the old war-horse L.K. Advani be given another throw of the dice amount to very little and would probably constitute an affront to an India that is demographically more attuned to the 21st century. Equally, the wild-card proposal to anoint the previous party president Nitin Gadkari as the chairman of the party’s campaign committee is just a transparently sly bid to stop Modi at all costs.

In reality, the BJP has no real choice but to bite the Modi bullet. Anecdotal evidence—which counts for a great deal in India’s political decision-making—has quite clearly indicated that the BJP’s natural supporters are enthused by Modi in the same way as they were by the Ayodhya issue in 1991 and by Atal Behari Vajpayee’s leadership in 1998 and 1999. More to the point—and this is privately conceded by the leaders of non-NDA parties—the Modi buzz has infected sections that, in the normal course, are not partial to the BJP.

The anecdotal evidence is backed by opinion polls that point to a significant Modi bulge for the NDA parties throughout the country but particularly in northern and western India. The findings suggest that if the downhill slide of the UPA-2 Government persists and the other side isn’t debilitated by self-inflicted wounds, a Modi-led campaign would enable the BJP and its allies to maximise its seat tally from its traditional areas of influence. This is particularly appealing to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh where it has been struggling to re-establish itself since 1999. It may even prove an attraction to parties who are still outside the NDA fold, as the Vajpayee factor did in 1998 and 1999.

In a country as vast, diverse and differentiated as India, there is no single explanation for the dramatic surge in the popularity of a regional leader without any dynastic claim. To a vocal minusculity, Modi is the standard bearer of Hindu nationalism. But beyond this fringe, his appeal rests on other factors: as the proverbial no-nonsense, strong leader who can check India’s drift, as a champion of economic resurgence and as an epitome of personal integrity.

To these perceived attributes is a curious addition: caste. Modi has never flaunted his social origins and that he comes from a small backward caste is still relatively unknown. But throughout northern India, the bush telegraph is resonating with the news that, for the first time in living memory, there is an OBC aspirant to the post of Prime Minister. The potential emotional appeal of this is incalculable.

These may explain why, if the BJP leadership persists in dithering, we may witness an Indian variant of Mao’s famous call in 1967 to “bombard the headquarters” when a staid leadership was upstaged by raw enthusiasm of the Red Guards. For the BJP, Goa could witness either a celebration or an insurrection. 

Sunday Times of India, June 2, 2013


Prasanna said...

It is amazing how far off from ground reality a political party like the BJP chooses to be. Devoid of power at the center for the last 10 years, the party should have gone at all costs to revamp itself for the next general elections. Unfortunately, the "top" leaders are still not able to outgrow their inflated egos and are killing the party's prospects. Recent comments by LK Advani are really unfortunate. Instead of understanding that he is spent horse now and giving way to younger blood, this old man is still clinging on to his dream of becoming a Prime Minister. If he could not do it until now, I don't know what makes him to believe that he can pull it off this time around. The reality is even his own party workers are not going to listen to him. I am eagerly waiting for the Goa session of the party. That will be a very crucial time for the party. If the party could give Modi a larger role, then there can be some fight from the BJP to the cash-fat congress, otherwise the writing is clearly on the wall.

Anonymous said...

I have AAAAALWAYS HATED L.K.Advani , sushma swaraj , vajpayee & lots of useless people like them.

I got it much much earlier which journalists are getting ( or pretending) only now.

That vajpayee , advani , abdul kalams -the whole bunch of indian terrorists inlcuding DMK terrorists , the grate congress terrorists , the communists terrorists , the journalists tv media most useless aam janata are all ANTI Narendra Modi & ANTI Jayalalithaa also.

It is so elementary. The wicked will never like GOOD. The thief will have no love for the Policeman. As my favourite author James Hadley Chase puts it in charming English " as much as the fly would love FLIT".

So why sit & analyse & analyse worry & worry.

One's character NEVER changes. THis advani the most WILY CROOK is now fornicating Madhya Pradesh chief minister chauhan who is a known Narendra Modi hater.

Tell all the Indian women about this chauhan & his wife who took FREE beauty parlour treatments in MP. And that this chauhan sent his footsoldiers to vandalise & destroy them calling them "hedonistic , apasanskriti". It is men who want Sridevis , jayapradas,namithas , shreyas , iliyanas , anushkas as their partners in BEDROOMS for sex.

Why is this advani still alive is my very important question.

Puneet Goel said...

Really nice point of view. I love to read your blogs Mr. Dasgupta

Anonymous said...

The issue is not at all complicated as news reports & columnists imagine.

Yediyurappa by default summed it up which predictably went over the heads of all idiots among aam janata. There has never been any magic or charisma or anything edifying about congress EVER making them some monolithic party destined to rule over us HINDUS & MUSLIMS. It is the dynasty's fair skinned allegedly aristocratic posterior that makes all others rally around it.

Any phoren posterior invariably makes us all go mush. This dynasty posterior is remote protected further from britain - vatican cocktail.

The newly elected vatican custodian is the same as ratzinger & the earlier predecessors. This anti VEDIC vatican custodian allegedly preferring to stay in a hummmmmmbllllle hut has sent birthday greetings & wishes to DMK karunanidhi the TERRORIST shumba nishumban of Bharath.

This shumba nishumban dmk anti Hindu God Sri.Ram has the GALL to demand (sic)sethusamudram project be renamed "Ramachandramurthy" project & digging desecration be resumed. To benefit tr.balu clan.


Sri.Dawood Ibrahim , Chhota Shakeel & Sri.Pervez Musharraf have NEVER stooped to such levels. They are incapable of doing so even in their dreams & thoughts.

DMK is heavily christian. Uses MUSLIMS by attending their Iftar parties goading us idiot hindus fulminate at MUSLIMS instead of the real CULPRIT christian terrorists of this world.

Why do hindus again grovel like beggars expecting a Rajnath Singh to nominate Sri.Narendra Modi ??

BEWARE ! The same rajnath singh is no STATESMAN. Very very provincial & petty as nitish kumars & chouhans of Madhya Pradesh. Earlier rajnath singh OPENLY supported rahul gandhi to settle petty ego scores with Mayavathi of UP. Never forget that.

Sri.Narendra Modi & Jayalalithaa should emulate Mulayam Singh Yadav by learning from him. I would not blame Mulayam Singh Yadav as an out & out unpredictable unscrupulous person. He alone knows how very treacherous rest of the politicians are.

Hence KUDOS to Sri.Mulayam Singh Yadav for consistently refusing to let others take him for granted. I don't find him & his son Akhilesh Yadav bad AT ALL. All said & done they are PIOUS HINDUS. Would never sell themselves to vatican CROOK.

Anonymous said...

dear swapan: the most creative use of the concept of KLPD i've come across in years. trust you :-)

Anonymous said...


On a different note, I checked who was Dr. Raghu Vira and was impressed both by the breadth and depth of his achievements as documented at: It is unfortunate that the contributions of so many great intellectuals such as Dr. Raghu Vira is unknown to many of us. I also wonder how many of BJP's own leaders know about him and his works.


Satya said...

Comment above by an Anonymous shows that uncivilized activities do take place in cyber world.

Anand Kumar said...

It is said that "the attitude determines the altitude at which one desires to operate." Our so-called BJP leaders strongly believe in "IT's MY WAY or HIGHWAY." In order to satisfy their personal egos, these leaders are playing into the hands of Congress in reality 10, Janapath, New Delhi.

khnovember7 said...

agree. I have a compromise formula. Narendra Modi for PM and L.K. Advani for next President. Since all NDA parters are OK with Advani, the BJP led NDA in power should not have any difficultly in promoting Advani for President. Jaswant for Vice-President ! Truce could be bought with the old guard !

Kirar from Hyderabad said...

Sir, I read this article after seeing ur TV interviews after advani's resignation, blasting him the way he expressed his opposition to modi's elevation. Also, I heard u saying about strengthening BJP first then allies will come by themselves. My point is 1) do u really think Modi can get 272 loksabha seats for BJP even if entire party rally behind him, seeing him as messiah.

If u think he can get dont read further.

But if u think he cannot, I ask u what kind of allies Modi can attract to get himself become PM, apart from SAD and SS who are natural supporters of BJP. JD(U) is ruled out, and if the allies from WB and TN does come on board, I don't think there would be any difference between current UPA and MODI led NDA. Coming to strengthening of BJP by Modi, how much time did he have before 2014 election, considering non representation of party in South and East. My point is If BJP cannot come to power this time with or without Modi, can you imagine what would be the status of party after that. It is an era of coalition of governments and we have accept the reality. Putting all eggs in one basket may not be the right strategy. Promoting both Atalji and Advaniji worked out well especially when there is strong dissent over congress ruled government, which is also the case now. In the current scenario Advaniji may or may not have promoted himself for the top post, but definitely he wished another candidate who can appeasing to allies be simultaneously promoted.

According to me he, expressed his dissent over not heeding to his suggestion of promoting another candidate, in the way he feels, will have larger impact for the good of the party.

BJP_supporter said...

there used to be speculation on who constitutes dilli4 - LKA himself!

yesterday swapan talked about LKA trying to use his NDA chairmanship as a veto over bjp after resigning from all BJP posts.

there is NO NDA when BJP scores less than 150 seats in the lok sabha. good riddance to NDA too. state level alliances will continue with or without NDA based on local needs.

Dhrashtu said...

Hi Swapan,

I have always enjoyed your analysis and I liked the latest on Advani the most. They are direct and most convincing.
I met this BJP MLA from MP on my journey from Bangalore to Patna and he said if BJP had gone with Modi in 2009, the party would have done much better.
Why is the BJP not letting Advani go ?