Originally Published 2012-09-13 00:00:00 Published on Sep 13, 2012
With every day inching closer to the penultimate battle of 2014, the lines ar e being drawn and rules of the game getting clear. Political leaders are maki ng their preferences clear about PM candidates. And with every announceme nt, any chances of Na-rendra Modi making it to 7RCR are receding.
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With every day inching closer to the penultimate battle of 2014, the lines are being drawn and rules of the game getting clear. Political leaders are making their preferences clear about prime ministerial candidates. And with every announcement, any chances of Na-rendra Modi making it to 7RCR are reced-ing. There are six reasons for this:

First, Modi is trapped in an image. He has positioned himself as the poster boy of Hindutva politics post 2002 Gujarat riots. The NDA loss in the 2004 general election is attributed to Gujarat riots and the promise by Sonia Gandhi of a healing touch subsequently. As per Varshaney and Wilkinson, "Gujarat 2002 was pogroms, not riots". They call it the "worst carnage of India’s independent history... much worse than the states of North India, of-ten associated with awful Hindu-Muslim relations in popular perceptions". But, the image has helped him to climb up in Guja-rat BJP and become the undisputed leader from being a small time RSS prachark. It’s this image of Hindutva poster boy which is proving the main stumbling block on his way to Delhi.

In spite of the best efforts from his spin doctors, he has been not able to shake up this image. Perhaps even Narendra Modi on 28 February 2002 did not know that it was ’one-way traffic’ and Vajpayee’s fa-mous advice to follow ’Rajdharma’ was the only sane advice he received then.

Second, in spite of the best efforts of Nitin Gadkari to keep the BJP flock togeth-er, the party is unraveling from the top. Prime Ministerial aspirations of several top leaders are not hidden now; BJP lead-ers are going through a one-upmanship contest. As per a recent media report, the most prominent Muslim face of BJP in re-cent times Shahnawaz Hussain, is appre-hensive about the prospect of Modi as pm candidate. In fact, as per the report, he is contemplating to switch over from BJP to Congress. His recent praise of Rahul Gan-dhi has been seen in this light.

Third, Modi-RSS relations are worsen-ing by the day. The split is wide open. RSS is not happy with Modi as he had tried to stall the effort to strike a compromise be-tween him and former chief minister Ke-shubhai Patel and his Parivartan Party be-ing brokered by Suresh Soni. It is in light of this episode that, he was denied a meet-ing with rss chief Mohan Bhagwat during a RSS functionaries’ meet at Kayavarohan near Vadodara on 8-9 September. The rss meet was significant, as it is not an an-nual ritual but a strategic meet to discuss significant issues, including 2014 general election. Indeed, to everyone’s surprise, VHP had issued a statement condemning the Modi government’s handling of 2002.

Fourth, Modi shares an uneasy relation with NDA partners. Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) is the most important component of nda. But, it is well known that the two don’t see eye to eye. Both have political aspirations for the top job. Recently, Nit-ish Kumar asked for a secular leader to be the prime ministerial candidate of NDA in 2014. Nitish Kumar’s decision to support UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee for the Presidential election was seen in the light of the ongoing battle between the two. Post the 2010 election, the tension be-tween JD(U) and BJP is even more sharp and bitter. JD(U)’s decision to contest 35 Guja-rat state Assembly seats in the upcoming election on its own has made the differ-ence between the two sharper than ever before.

Fifth, the Naroda Patiya verdict has tightened the noose around the culpabil-ity of Modi’s government in 2002 riots. His once trusted lieutenant Maya Kodnani be-ing punished for her role in the riots has come at the worst time for Modi. In spite of best effort to maintain his deadpan ex-pression, the pangs he felt on Kondani’s sentence are evident.

Sixth, Modi’s style of function-ing has often been touted as that of a CEO of a company. His hyped up NRI meets and in turn investment promises have been linked to his efficient corpo-rate kind of functioning. Indeed, indus-trial leaders and corporates have a lot of praise about his decision-making ability. But, deep down in his heart, he knows very well, the corporates don’t elect leaders -it’s the people of India. He doesn’t need to be a CEO but a leader, who is respected by all. He needs to shed his Hindutva im-age and had to combine a dogmatic confi-dence in secularism with the development agenda.

Modi needs to understand that secu-larism is not a philosophy, but a tempera-ment, a comfort with country’s diversity and sense of imbibing the idea of India into self, a virtue essential to being the Prime Minister of India.

(The writer is an Associate Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi)

Courtesy: thetehelka.com

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