Monday, July 22, 2013

Whether Modi divides the nation or not, he is surely dividing his party!

Two stories in today’s papers suggest that Modi’s ascension to the top of the throne in the BJP has created quite stir. Whether Modi divides the nation or not, he is dividing his party up for sure! The party’s Bihar state unit appears to be crumbling with “50% of the MLAs” wanting to join Nitish as per one disgruntled BJP MLA. At the same time, the MP unit of the BJP has virtually mounted an assault on Modi.

Then there is the latest CNN IBN poll which suggests that the JD(U) is pretty much retaining its vote base and holding on to its tally of Parliamentary seats. The BJP is gaining in vote share; however if the party splits the way it is forecast, most of the vote share gains will dissipate. Also, the vote share gain needs to be understood better. Mathematically speaking, is the new higher vote share simply a result of more seats being contested by the party, or is it that its vote share is genuinely increasing within the seats it contested the last time around? If it is the former, as I suspect it is, then its no big deal. Fighting in more constituencies is bound to increase the number of votes.

Besides, these are the vote share possibilities assuming all parties fight individually by themselves, without any prepoll alliances. Now it’s almost impossible that the Congress will not ally with one of the two – Laloo or Nitish. If it has to enhance the power of its 10% expected voteshare, it has no option. The 10% by itself is meaningless, getting the party only between 0-4 seats, but when added to the JD(U)’s or RJD’s vote base, it can make a huge impact. The Congress finds itself in the driver’s seat, even with a minor presence, just like so many regional parties found themselves in the driver’s seat at the Center, thanks to the fragmented vote shares of the main national parties. Net net, if alliances are considered, the BJP’s seats from Bihar are bound to shrink. What that does to Modi’s PM ambitions is anyone’s guess.

What is really shocking about this 50%-want-to-quit charge is that just a few weeks back when the BJP snapped ties with JD(U), the local party unit tried to create the impression that the whole state unit wanted Modi as its leader. If even a fraction of the 50% dissenters is correct, it shows that a heavy hand alongwith the trademark BJP PR pressure was used to obfuscate the truth. We’ve seen that in Gujarat, where all forms of protest against the government are given the go-by. Looks like the two Modis (Narendra and Sushil) come from the same gene pool!

And what’s with this MP campaign. I mean, if Shivraj Singh Chouhan can put Ananth Kumar’s face up on the posters, surely it cannot be a mere slip that Modi’s face is missing? After all, who is Ananth Kumar? He’s not even anybody major nationally, leave alone in MP. Clearly, Chouhan, egged on no doubt by the Advani/Sushma camp, is attacking Modi. It’s amazing the opportunity Modi has created for the Congress. It needs to do nothing but just wait for the BJP to self-destruct!

And what’s this desperate plea of Rajnath Singh to the US administration to lift the visa ban on Modi. If anything, Modi should have shunned the US, and made that country eat humble pie when (and if) he got elected India’s PM, for it would surely have to invite Modi then. That would have been a real snub for the US. But instead we find Rajnath Singh groveling before the US. Looks like Modi, like all Gujjus, loves the US and will do anything to go there!

As if all this was not enough, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has categorically said that he wouldn’t want Modi to be the PM of India because the minorities of the country don’t trust him. Now BJP trolls will attack Amartya Sen the same way they do anybody who opposes them or Modi. Poor Amartya Sen – a mere economics and philosophy professor – will now see his every credential being shredded by the BJP. He will even be called a Congressi. Just like Jean Dreze, the lead author of the book co-authored by Amartya Sen – has been called the NAC’s spokesperson even though he is no longer with the NAC. Besides, the NAC itself and its members – Aruna Roy for one – has been scalding in its attacks on the government on several occasions. Unfortunately, such fine points miss the thick-skinned BJP members.

Then there was also Anna recently who recanted from his pro-Modi utterances of the past. What prompted him to issue this clarification? Is Modi’s – and the BJP’s – descent so visible that everyperson worth his two bits of fame is rushing to play down any association he had with Modi? I guess when your own party folks speak against you, the signals are pretty clear right? Just a few days back, Yashwant Sinha of “the opposition must oppose” fame, cribbed against Modi for taking the focus away from the Congress’s “misgovernance”. One strong leader Modi is!

The real truth is that the BJP is in disarray. Yet again. This time thanks to Modi. It’s “strong” regional leaders – nay satraps – are starting to pull in opposite directions. The smell of blood from the Congress’s wounds is so strong that it arouses them into attacking each other. In the meanwhile, the Congress itself is on quick repair. Policy paralysis has morphed into policy aggression. Lost ground is being made up. 2G/Coal are issues of the past. The country is obsessed with Modi, and his communal politics. It couldn’t have been better for the Congress!

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