The “Modi”’fication of the Bharatiya Janata Party has finally began. Narendra Modi after being first inducted into the Poll Panel is now expected to be its chief campaigning for the BJP for the 2014 general election. The BJP national executive currently under session at Panaji is likely to make a declaration to this effect.
Narendra Modi and the modification of BJP has been a case of intense speculation since a year which attained momentum after the successful Gujarat assembly polls and lately after the sweep of the BJP in the Gujarat and after the change in the President ship of BJP from Nitin Gadkari to Rajnath Singh.
On one side it is an acknowledged fact that the BJP is in a major stage of leadership transition. It is similar to the transition of the BJP which we witnessed in the early 90s when L K Advani started the Rathyatra which resulted in the emergence of BJP as a national political party in India. In all such transition there is always a state of dissent and the resultant media speculation. If you recollect the 90s, when the baton was moving towards Mr Advani, there was speculation of an hard-line Advani camp and the Vajpayee camp. While the moderate Vajpayee camp disapproved of the hardliner’s Babari masjid campaign, the rest is history. The hard-liners won the election under Advani’s leadership, and BJP became the principal opposition party. Subsequently after the formation of the NDA, when the BJP came to power, the “ hardliner” Advani humbly paved way for the soft and acceptable leader AB Vajpayee to become the Prime Minister.
Today when a similar transition is being witnessed, will Mr Modi show the same audacity and humility to pave way for the veteran leader Mr Advani to be the Prime minister and he occupy the home minister’’s role? Well that is yet to be seen. However there is much debate on who should be the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Today in a media managed election campaign when Modi is at the helm of BJPs election needs’, an analysis is necessary, especially for my overseas readers, of what makes or unmakes Modi as far as far as the Prime Minister ship is concerned . As a general secretary and spokesman of BJP, Modi in the early 90s was sent to his home state of Gujarat to counter the severe infighting, corruption and nepotism within the then BJP in Gujarat epitomized by the vagaries of two leaders viz Keshubhai Patel and Shankar Singh waghela. The state of Gujarat was also traumatized after the killer quake of 2001 . There was enormous caste anarchy with the Patel community ruling the roast. It is into such a socially and politically turbulent atmosphere that Modi was sent. His background as an RSS pracharak in Gujarat had given him a strong insight of the social fabric and its sensitivities. Three months into his position, Gujarat saw the worst communal violence of the time predominantly a retaliation of the Hindu fundamentalists against the incidence of the Muslim radical’s attack on a train killing nearly 57 Hindu men and women. The uncontrolled and unabated violence left nearly 2000 people killed. The involvement of the BJP cadre led by local leaders , and the inability of Mr Modi to quell the violence – making Vajpayee warn him of following Raj Dharma or Statecraft – indeed resulted in the “”monstor-ification “’ of him as a fascist iconoclast and inimical to the essence of secularism and national unity. Well whether he followed Raj dharma or not is not the purview of this article, but since then Modi ruled Gujarat with a single point agenda of development of the economy and bringing up the Gujarati asmita or pride. His successful re -election and the development in investment and infrastructure thereafter and most importantly the connect of the common people with him increased his popularity as we stand today.
However this achievement does make him a PM candidate. Yes as well as No. The reason he is clamoured as a future PM is primarily due to the leadership crunch faced by a nation. He is a man who has proved to be a leader and thought about the nation and his State beyond his self Interest. He is astutely principled, non – corrupt and a strict disciplinarian. Moreover he is accessible to the common man sans his security needs. The nation requires a PM who is decisive and tough and a strong implementer unlike the current PM. While this makes him eligible what lacks in him is the pan national acceptability, shrouded image of a hardliner Hindu radical, above all inexperience in national level administration and statecraft. This can happen if he follows his mentor LK Advani, by winning an election and abdicating the desire to be a PM, and instead be a Home minister paving way for the nationally acclaimed patriarch LK Advani to be the PM only to be accepted later as a national leader later in life. What happens is yet to be seen, but wishing Narendrabhai all the best