- Subhash Gatade
It is now time for NaMo NaMo in BJP.
To quote a newspaper, Hindutva poster boy Narendra Modi has been declared candidate for Prime Minister's post by the highest body of the Party.
As planned earlier there were celebrations at different party offices of the BJP spread over the country. It is a different matter that the party could not hide the fact that it was not a unanimous decision rather a majority decision. The ‘tallest leader’ or ‘mentor’ of the party L K Advani made his displeasure clear in a letter the very same day. And not only Advani till a day ago three members of the highest body - whose strength is 12 only - were vehemently opposing the proposal that the candidature be announced immediately and wanted it to be deferred till the assembly elections to five states were over. Two amongst them – Ms Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi - could be persuaded to join the anointment at the last moment only.
The comical part of the whole anointment has been the gentleman who had only a week ago declared that he would like to serve the state - where he was elected CM for the third time - till 2017, had no qualms in dropping all pretensions and rush to Delhi for the coronation. While talking to reporters after his anointment, he might have said that as a loyal soldier of the Party, he has been always ready to shoulder any responsibility which had come his way, but there have been umpteenth times in the past that he had made his intentions clear - with enough theatrics - what does he want to achieve. The latest in series had been his address from a model of 'Red Fort' in Chattisgarh. Two years back he had organised Sadbhavna Fasts in different district centers of Gujarat - to package/present himself in a more amiable image – of course, at the public exchequer's expenses.
The decision by the Party has been met with mixed reactions. Undoubtedly, the most exclusive institutions in India - namely the corporate world and its adjunct the media and the plethora of godmen/women - seem to be extremely happy with this coronation. One still remembers how the corporate honchos were declaring from rooftops since many years that NaMo is 'PM material' - thanks to the corporate friendly ambience in the state with the trade unions put under leash. It is a different matter that it was the strength of Indian democracy and the millions and millions of people participating in it, that they did not pay heed to this advice till date. It is also not difficult to know why the godwo/men had been rooting for Modi. Look at the innumerable controversies which accompany all of them, ranging from encroachment of public land, engaging in hawala transactions, murders, sexual assaults and what not and look at the fact that how the state government has been very accommodative towards them. Take the case of Asaram Bapu, who is cooling his heels in Rajasthan these days for his alleged sexual assault on an adolescent girl – thanks to the daring step taken by a Congress government - and look at the number of cases lodged against him in Gujarat itself and the government turning a blind eye towards him.
But the man most smiling at this anointment - with his smile getting drowned in his typical moustache - happens to be Mohan Bhagwat, the 'young' Supremo of an old organisation which still asks its followers to wear period dresses. He has achieved the unthinkable where his predecessor late K. S. Sudarshan had badly failed. It is now history how Sudarshan wanted that Vajpayee and Advani both to retire from BJP and the RSS establishes full control over it once again. The 'debacle of 2004' wherein the BJP was ousted from the reins of power in Delhi was understood by the Nagpur honchos as BJP's deviation from core agenda of RSS and had felt that with the duo in control of the party, they would not be able reset it. One can refer to that period and see for oneself how Sangh insiders had even started talking of forming another political outfit supposedly to further the core agenda. While Sudarshan looked and proved foolish in his moves, with all the controversies which accompanied his irresponsible statements and interviews and was slowly eased out, Mohan Bhagwat has proved smarter.
The 'royal snub' to Advani – delivered at the time of coronation disregarding his reservations about Modi’s name being announced before the assembly elections - was planned well in advance. Just recall the flurry of activities in the Sangh-BJP circles and one can know that it was sort of a 'payback time' from RSS itself, to the 'mentor', who had tried to put spanner in the RSS gameplan vis-a-vis BJP. Advani's absence from the Goa meeting of BJP which crowned Modi as the campaign chief and his subsequent resignation - which he later withdrew meekly - was enough indication to the RSS that Advani will not easily submit to the diktat. Sangh Supremo knew that the generational change, which was being envisaged for the BJP with a 'popular leader' at the front would be resisted by him till the last moment. Taking into consideration all these aspects, the moment he arrived in Delhi few days back, Mohan Bhagwat went according to the script. He told that RSS wants Modi as the PM face of the party and then one by one everybody in the party was 'convinced'.
While a section of the commentators have refused to comment on the role of the RSS in this coronation of Modi - taking a very legalistic position that it is an internal matter of the party - it is high time that the way things unfolded before us and the way RSS took upon itself the job of 'micro-managing' the affairs of BJP are brought to the fore in greater detail. We can easily discover that all its claims that it is a cultural organization are sheer humbug.
Why should the activities of a political party - which has ruled this country for six years and is running governments in many states and is yearning to come back to power at the centre again, - should not be put under scrutiny ? If the Congress led UPA dispensation is rightly criticised for following dynasty kind of politics, should not we question the fact that here we have a political party which fights elections, claims to abide by the constitution but is being guided/led by the nose/ remote controlled by a formation which believes and propagates a worldview which is inimical to the constitution itself. What does the very idea of HinduRashtra signify ? The second supremo of RSS Golwalkar in his writings puts it very blatantly, he condemns a significant section of the population – namely Christians, Muslims as ‘internal enemies’. It is the same RSS, whose many activists were found to be involved in terror acts and are languishing in Jail right now. A look at the findings of the enquiry commissions which were formed to look into riots in post independence India, make one thing very clear. Here also RSS has received enough opprobrium from its contemporaries for his dubious role in precipitating communal tension.
And thus while ordinary people are being asked and exhorted to chant NaMo NaMo, the sound which is coming out of it is akin to the RSS prayer ‘Namaste Sada Vastale Matribhume..’
Subhash Gatade is a New Socialist Initiative (NSI) activist. He is also the author of Godse's Children: Hindutva Terror in India, and The Saffron Condition: The Politics of Repression and Exclusion in Neoliberal India.