Thursday, January 24, 2013

Modi will find Rajnath no pushover

New Delhi: When it seemed almost certain that the RSS will have its way in installing Nitin Gadkari for a second presidential term, it was also clear that Narender Modi, who had scored his electoral hat-trick in Gujarat in December, will be directing the 2014 electoral battle and that he will have his own team at the party central office as part of his campaign committee. It was a foregone conclusion that Modi will overshadow Gadkari because the to-be second-time president did not win glory for himself in his first time and that he did not have it in him to launch an aggressive campaign. Gadkari would not be able to stand up to Modi. Therefore, Gadkari would be the president, it was Modi who would be the helmsman. Modi will hit the first road-block with Rajnath Singh as the party president. He stands, of course, politically taller than Singh because he is a successful chief minister. Singh was chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the BJP lost the assembly polls in the state in 2002, and he was party president when BJP lost the Lok Sabha polls in 2009. He is also not considered a political heavywight in UP. The difference between an unsuccessful Gadkari and an unsuccessful Singh is this: Singh is a seasoned polician by virtue of the fact that he comes from the byzantine political society of UP where the upper castes, the Dalits and the OBCs and the Muslim minority fight on an equal footing, and where he served as chief minister for a short period. Gujarat is not only a small state in comparison with UP, it is also less compex. Singh will turn his insider knowledge of UP into his political capital in dealing with Modi. There is also the inescapable personality factor. Singh is a proud Thakur who will not like to be pushed around, and he would not hesitate to stand up to any other leader. In his first term as party president, he clashed with senior party leader Arun Jaitley, and Jaitley in turn kept away from party affairs. Singh will be a mellow party leader this time round, even as Modi is a different man from what he was in 2002 and in 2007. Singh will soon be forming his own team which will go into the 2014 polls. Modi will have his unit. The two leaders and their teams will have to work together. The division of labour which could be worked out may not be a neat one, with the Singh team looking at organisational affairs and the Modi unit focusing on just the poll propaganda. There would be turf battles aplenty. Singh will stand his ground and so will Modi. It should be possible for the two war-horses, with different experiences, to work together. There is the common factor that the two have close RSS links and share its value system. Party sources at the moment insist that there would be no differences between party president Singh and party mascot Modi. A majority of BJP admirers believe that Modi can help the party win 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Not many in the party share the belief because the party leaders think that what will help BJP is the non-performance of the Congress-led UPA, and that the presence of BJP in many parts of the country which could help it to emerge as the single largest party. Modi would be an energetic campaigner but nothing more. And Singh will have his assigned role of party president. Singh and Modi will come face to face sooner than later because work for 2014 elections cannot be put off any longer with the Congress already setting its electoral machine in motion with Rahul Gandhi heading the campaign commitee and now functioning as the vice president of the party as well.

1 comment:

Mahendra said...

Broadly in agreement with you, Parsa. Rajnath Singh's return should place some lightweights lionised by the media in a quandry. He is well educated and articulate and can show results if he is able to contain faction fights.

Mahendra Ved

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