[dropcap]N[/dropcap]itin Gadkari has been training his guns against the leadership of the Modi-Amit Shah duo. It began with the revelation that the election promise of Rs15 lakh being deposited into the account of every Indian out of the proceeds of black money seizures was made on the basis of the feeling that the BJP had no chance of being voted to power. More recently he attacked the leadership of Amit Shah for the poor performance of the party legislators.
Obviously, Gadkari has become more vocal. But this dissenting voice comes from the RSS. He has broken the silence within the BJP and RSS about the Modi-Shah duo’s mistakes.In normal circumstances, the RSS should have done it on its own, but it was left to Gadkari to air it. “Leadership should have the vrutti (tendency) to own up defeat and failures. Loyalty of the leadership towards the organisation will not be proved till the time it owns up responsibility for defeat.”
As Modi and Amit Shah have been dictating the political and ideological line, Gadkari’s statement is a direct attack on the duo with the aim of salvaging the situation. During the last four years no BJP leader of any stature has mustered the courage to criticise them openly. It is also a fact that older leaders of the BJP, most of them now relegated to the Margdarshak Mandal, which itself is mocked at as an ‘old-age home’, are visibly unhappy.
If party sources are to be relied on, Gadkari did not participate at the World Hindu Congress in Chicago as he did not endorse some of the ideas and issues suggested by Modi. In fact, Modi had objected to his participation. In October, the Union minister ran into a controversy when he said that the BJP rode to power by making ‘tall promises’ another dig at Modi, who made those promises.
Gadkari might have been having his own issues but the fact cannot be denied that Amit Shah has miserably failed to provide a direction to the functioning of the party. While Modi must own up the failure of his government to deliver, Amit Shah’s eulogization of Modi and insulting the leaders played a role to decimate the party. Gadkari was not wrong in saying that BJP chief is responsible for the poor Assembly election results; “If I am the party president, and my MPs and MLAs are not doing well, then who is responsible? I am.”
With Gadkari hitting the bull’s eye, many voices have started surfacing inside the party seeking removal of Modi and Amit Shah. The party cadres are removing the impression that both are indispensable for the party.
In a letter addressed to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi, some state leaders have alleged that the BJP’s defeat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was an outcome of the arrogant leadership, which implemented decisions like demonetisation, GST and increased fuel prices.
The Modi sycophants have been creating euphoria, constantly feeding the impression that under BJP rule everything was right and the economy is doing well. Stability and growth rates have been impressive. But this is purely a wrong proposition. India has suffered the worst in terms of job creation notwithstanding Modi’s promise to create 2 crore jobs.
The restlessness in the saffron brigade over the 2019 elections is quite visible. The restive leadership is ready to go to any extent to salvage the situation. It might not come as surprise if the RSS and BJP decide not to project Modi as the star campaigner and replace him with some one else. He has already alienated the rural poor and disenchanted the urban middle class.
Four months away from the next general election, the party urgently needs to restore its electoral fortunes. But the moot question is who is to do this task and how. BJP is a badly divided house, with some leaders waiting to re-enact the 1977 action by Jagjivan Ram and H N Bahuguna, to float their own saffron outfit.
The Indian people by and large have come to realise that Modi is not suitable to rule the country and there are alternatives. The BJP itself has created this impression. Even in Modi’s case he was not known to the electorate before 2013.
(The author is a political commentator)