Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Newton’s third law of motion and Narendra Modi….

Newton’s third law of motion states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This is one law that has found many practical uses in science, but in politics, Modi has mastered it like no one else has. Modi has used this before and in November this year, we will see it being used once again.

Modi’s interpretation of Newton’s 3rd law should be seen in the context of his political strategy. Incite the Hindus somehow, so that they vote for him en-masse. No where else in the country is the Hindu voter so united and committed behind the BJP as he/she is in Gujarat. None of the caste politics that pervades much of North India even seems to make a beginning in Gujarat. In fact, the Hindu voter has conferred Modi with the title of “Hindu Hriday Samrat” – something that no other politician has managed to earn.

Trust me, this is not just paranoia. I have observed Modi for many years and I can say this with confidence that his every recent statement and action indicates the launch of one more edition of his proven mantra. Do something that unites the Hindu vote. But how?

Here’s where Newton’s 3rd law comes in: Say something that targets the Muslims; get media and Congress to hyper-react and come to their defence. Gain advantage with the state’s Hindus. In short: “Push out the Muslims. Pull in the Hindus”. Some would say “very smart”. So what if it is “divisive”. Politics in India never bothered about things like that!

Let’s look at what all Modi has been busy with recently.

Modi’s interview to Shahid Siddiqui for his Urdu daily was interpreted by naïve political observers as being an attempt at reaching out to the Muslims. This bunch of naïve political observers thought this was Modi’s steps towards becoming PM. But Modi has already figured out that this is not the time to aim for PM (that time will come after winning the Gujarat elections). This is the time for re-asserting power in his home state by winning handsomely. His focus is only on Gujarat right now. He has enough trouble in his home state. The economy is slowing down (yes yes…..read unbiased articles to understand this fact) and he is getting panned for his state’s Human Development Index figures. If he now loses Gujarat, he loses all chances of becoming PM. On the other hand, if he wins Gujarat, he is without doubt going to be the foremost PM candidate of the BJP in 2014, notwithstanding what Nitish Kumar or others feel.

Let’s analyze what Modi told Siddiqui. The interview provided Modi the platform to announce that he wouldn’t apologize to the Muslims for Godhra because he hadn’t done anything wrong. Sounds strange assuming he was trying to appease the Muslims? Imagine this. Modi talking to the Muslims in their language and telling them on their faces that he wasn’t going to apologize? What were the Muslims expected to do? Howl with anger and pass judgments that Modi was guilty! Siddiqui did that much though he couldn’t save his job with the SP. What is the media expected to do? Scream blue murder. That’s what it did! And what about the opposition? Of course, they all showed how untouchable Modi was. This is exactly what Modi wanted! All this has panned out so beautifully for him. Why? Because what will Gujarat’s Hindus do when they hear so much media, opposition and Muslim criticism of Modi? They will react like Newton said they would. They will ringfence Modi. They will swear to themselves and to each other that they will get their protector elected. Not only in Gujarat as CM. But also at the Center as PM (to the extent they can)! Brilliant, Mr. Modi.

Consider also Modi’s refusal to repair Muslim shrines damaged in the 2002 riots. And his government’s statement to the courts that his government was “secular” and that it didn’t repair any religious institutions; not even Hindu temples! Again, naïve observers may have wondered why Modi wasn’t seizing the opportunity to curry favor with the Muslims. If he really wanted to make amends, why wouldn’t he do just this small bit? But no, Modi’s objective was the same. He was interested in making a statement to the Hindus. Again….push the Muslims….maybe even become a hate figure amongst them…..and earn the votes of the Hindus!

One more example? Remember the controversy during his “sadbhavna yatra” when he apparently refused to take a skull cap offered by a Muslim visitor? Again media sprung to attack Modi. Modi’s sadbhavna is all a farce, it screamed. Again Modi pretended to offer an explanation: the man hadn’t really offered the cap. He was just holding it in his hand when he was speaking to Modi. Modi had shaken his head on some other matter! Brilliant, no? The hearts of Modi’s Hindus would have swelled with pride. Of course they knew what Modi had done! They haven’t still forgotten that Modi hasn’t given a BJP ticket to any Muslim at all uptil now! Now that’s our leader!

Modi is said to be fantastic with PR. I agree. He will use every bit of available opportunity to further gain from Newton’s law. The recent Mehsana verdict of the courts in which some 20 odd people (Hindu fanatics perhaps) were sentenced to life for having murdered a family of 11 Muslims. Modi cannot publicly use this development to whip up support for himself, but in secret rallies, Modi must be telling the Hindus – let me handle this! Give me your vote and I will clean up the courts!

So remember this. Everytime a Teesta Setalvad comes on TV and shrieks herself hoarse against the tyrant Modi, she is actually doing him a great lot of good. She is just the force that Modi needs for his own political strategy to succeed!

People who say that Modi really needn’t apologize to the Muslims because nothing had been proven against him should look at the recent communal riots in Assam. Much panned in media and by political commentators, the fact remains that only 50 odd people died in that state (that’s terrible too….but the number is important). The government acted slowly but even then it managed to contain the casualties. But in Gujarat, when the Government sat watching the carnage unfold, the death toll was in the thousands. Governments are all-powerful. If they want, they can stop such acts. But it they want to fan the carnage, they can wreak havoc.

The real truth is that all fair’s in love and war and politics. And no one can grudge Modi his political strategy. But it would help to know what one is getting into. No one expects Modi not to rely on his Hindu vote bank. There is nothing wrong in that. But one must recognize the downside of such a strategy. For the country and for his own party. Modi may want to ask why his party never won more than 182 seats in Parliament….the answer to that may make him wiser. Wiser than merely knowing Newton’s laws….


  1. Brilliant Perspective...

  2. BJP should kick Nitish out of the alliance after Gujarath elections (irrespective of the outcome). Nitish think too much of himself being the leader from backward state like Bihar. If he really wants who to be BJPs PM candidate he should dissolve his one state party and merge with BJP.