"Modi is the representative of the party as the Prime Ministerial candidate. And whenever a dynamic person moves with the support of the party, he creates a very strong sympathy and support for him, because of the track record. So it is not a highly personalized thing, it is a representative wave”, said Murli Manohar Joshi, when asked about the wave of Narendra Modi that everyone seems to be talking about. He further went on to say that he did not favour a "straitjacket" model of one particular state as far as development was considered.
Unsurprisingly, the statement spurred a controversy. It would have done so with any other leader but the context of Modi sidelining Joshi to contest elections in Varanasi, not long ago, added some spice to it. It was also insinuated that the delay in manifesto of BJP was due to the differences between Modi and Joshi.
The rift within the party has been spoken about for quite some time now. Precisely since Modi was declared the Campaign head of BJP.
Since taking over as the campaign head, and then being anointed as the Prime Ministerial candidate, Modi has been running a self-obsessed campaign. His speeches are all about mein, mera, mujhko. Even in Gujarat, he is not only the Chief Minister but has many more portfolios like home, industry, information, ports, general administration, science and technology, climate change, Narmada, Kalpsar and all policies. It is technically a one-man show. In a rally in Gujarat, Advani said, ‘Ab ki baar, Bhajapa sarkar’ but the crowd roared back, ‘Ab ki baar, Modi sarkar’.
Aakar Patel said that Modi is a very insecure person and that is why he has not allowed any leader in Gujarat to grow and if he becomes India’s PM, the next Chief Minister of Gujarat will be Modi’s choice.
Moreover, Five-time sitting MP, Harin Pathak, was replaced by actor Paresh Rawal from Ahmadabad. It would be a handy reminder that Pathak is an Advani loyalist. This brand of politics seems akin to Indira Gandhi. Janardan Thakur, in his book ‘Prime Ministers’, has written, ‘She maneuvered her personal party favourites to become her satraps in the states. The traditional local-level politicians and their mahanths were thrown aside.’ One commentator had written, ‘she is the only eagle in a political community of twittering sparrows’. Had he seen Modi today, he might have used similar words.
This dictatorial tendency of Modi seems to have made BJP’s senior leaders insecure. While it will be a lot tougher for Modi to replicate this in Delhi, his love of power is manifest.
It seems more than just a coincidence that Modi’s growth in stature has been directly proportional to the growing rift within the party. BJP’s patriarch LK Advani resigned but then relented. His disillusionment came forth on two occasions after that. Jaswant Singh was denied the ticket from Barmer and he went on to say that the party is now split between ‘real and fake BJP’. Sushma Swaraj too, explained her sadness over it. She was quite candid on twitter as well, expressing disappointment over the inclusion of BS Sriramulu in the party. Plus, the announcement of Shyama Charan Gupta as BJP’s candidate from Allahabad Lok Sabha seat left veteran leader Keshri Nath Tripathi livid.
Modi keeps harping on the theme of uniting the country. However, if he becomes India’s PM, the initial task he might have to undertake is uniting his own party, which seems polarized because of the man himself.
The views are writer's own