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Would Namonitis become fatal for Congress in 2014 Polls?

Immediately after the conclusion of BJP National Executive meeting at Goa this evening, a very senior BJP leader quipped “we don’t know if making Narendra Modi as the Chairman of  Campaign committee for 2014 polls is a master Stroke or a monumental blunder but we  have taken the plunge and let us see how the history unfolds from here”.

This is very interesting statement which can be interpreted in many ways and different kinds of conclusions could be drawn from here. In one way, it could be a classic case of inventing a regional satrap into a national leader. In another way, it could be termed as the frustration of a national party which finds no other person suitable to lead it from the front.

At the same time, it would also be interpreted as a clever move to checkmate a behemoth called the Congress party which has started losing its sheen and shine in public eye because of a plethora of scams and the BJP needed someone as pungent and arrogant to  take the Congress head on with his bitter barbs and jibes.

The conclusion of Goa BJP National Executive presented a rather bizarre sight. People of the country were expecting the BJP to come out with its views and resolutions on a series of serious issues confronting the nation. But the three days jamboree was more like the NAMO NAMAH mantra chant and everything else was given a go by.  Goa may have been unlucky jinx for the Congress party as it was just after the 1965 Congress Plenary session which resulted into a vertical split between the Indiragate and the infamous Syndicate led by Bramhanand Reddy.

But Goa seems to have been rather lucky for Narendra Modi for the second time as well.. During the last BJP National Executive meet held here in 2002, Narendra Modi had a close shave with destiny as he almost lost his Chief Ministership in the wake of post-Godhara riots. Despite Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s famous statement that Modi should follow ‘Raj Dharma’, it was the Arun Jaitley –LK Advani team which dexterously orchestrated the ‘Save Modi’ campaign from the backside and stoned –walled Vajpayee’s move to sack him. Today, Advani must be ruminating over his blunder and regretting that moment to save Modi because it was the ‘same shishya who have comprehensively ruined his Guru’s chance to become the BJP’s Prime ministerial candidate in 2014. It is the same Narendra Modi who did not even bother to take Advani’s name even once to acknowledge the gratitude. Perhaps the history of Modi and Gujarat would have been entirely different had Modi been sacked in 2002. But then there is no armor against destiny and Modi has become the mascot for BJP and Advani would be fast hurtling into the dustbin of BJP history very soon, thanks to the machinations of those whom he nurtured and nourished during his tenure as the BJP President for three terms. But BJP has a long road ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls and before that it would have to calibrate and carefully calculate many thorny issues.

Contrary to the statements of many political pundits that Modi’s elevation would result in a virtual split into two camps, the BJP would have to be extremely careful to ensure that it does not bleed from within. Modi may have had the last laugh at Goa today but  he would be stupid enough to think that the road to Delhi would  as smooth as the cheek of Hema Malini as RJD leader  Lalu Prasad always use to compare with. The Advani camp within BJP may have been sidelined or marginalized at the moment but then Delhi politics is an entirely different ballgame and at the end, Delhi Door Hai for Modi could actually prove true.

No wonder then that a congress leader said that there was no comparison between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi because while the Gandhi scion was an undisputed leader, the Gujarat Chief Minister was a “leader of all disputes”. Modi may have once again proved with the victory of 6 BJP candidates in recent by-elections that he is the King of Gujarat, but then there are so many dark alleys in Delhi politics where Advani and his team is better placed and practiced than otherwise. Secondly, BJP would be facing the wrath of NDA allies as most of them would not like to go to polls under the leadership of Modi. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already made his intentions clear about walking out of NDA if Modi takes command.  It remains to be seen if he keeps his word or chickens out to eat the crow.  It would also be interesting to see how the other partners of NDA would behave now. There was a time when the NDA was a loose conglomeration of 27 parties. But all of them respected Vajpayee and his image and charisma was above board. Third, the BJP may have bowed down to Modi juggernaut because of his charisma and credentials as ‘Messiah of development’ but it would find it extremely difficult to wipe out the stain of Godhara massacre and riots and that is going to work as a huge repellant for  the party at  national level. Apart from Congress party, other secular parties are also going to turn the battle of 2014 Lok Sabha polls as the war between secularism and Communalism and that may weigh too much upon BJP. There are chances that the BJP’s new found love for Modi could as well turn out into an ugly nightmare because then the polarization of votes across the country may not be good enough for the NDA to come back to power in 2014.

Four, Modi’s own image as a high rigid and arrogant and a hardliner may be yet another handicap for the BJP in search for more allies. Given that, many regional parties would have to be won over to garner their support, it is quite doubtful if those regional allies would really agree to opt for him as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in future. It is here that Advani has been more acceptable to NDA allies and would continue to be. But Modi’s rise at Goa is certainly going to give more sleepless nights to the Congress party which would have to prepare itself hard to combat the NAMONITIS. A few senior Congress leaders including Digvijaya Singh tweeted that the BJP has started suffering from NAMONITIS. But then Modi is that kind of person who can turn the table on Congress for its Coalitis (coalgate scam) and Spectromitis (2G scam) The Congress party would have to worry all the more because the BJP would turn this fight as Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi and Modi is going to hit the Congress almost every day from now with new weapons of barbs and jibe. Rahul Gandhi would be no match to Modi in this regard because he is always well prepared and knows how to attract media attention and hog national limelight.  No one really remembers how many times Rahul Gandhi attacked Modi in public on what issues but the people even today remember Modi’s comment on rahul gandhi as ‘a fish in the aquarium’ and the PM as “Maun Mohan Singh” Secondly, the BJP leaders like Advani, Vajpayee and even Sushma Swaraj and Jaitley continue to maintain some decency in their speech when attacking the Congress party. But Modi does not mind hitting below the belt and he has done that in the past. Now, he would be hitting the PM and three Gandhi family more and it would be interesting to see how those 36 Spokespersons appointed by Congress Vice President would fend and defend them. Perhaps what has made Modi the darling of the middle class is the set of issues he picks to hit the UPA II government. It is that which would give him the support of middle class and it is where the Congress party would find it extremely difficult to stop the Modi juggernaut in the coming days. If Modi succeeds in maintaining that tempo, then he is going to prove to be a fatal NAMONITIS for the Congress in 2014 polls. But then, anything can happen in between and too many things which begin with a bang could as well end up in a whimper. No one knows for sure if the BJP’s dream for 2014 would be fulfilled by Modi or otherwise. However, nothing is certain. The fear of NAMONITIS is going to increase the uneasiness of many Congress stalwarts for sure

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