Skip to main content

Modi music, AK remix: Two wrongs don’t make a right but they make a good excuse


By RK Misra*
Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. If Narendra Modi, the saffron soul-boy, shows inspirational traces of Indira Gandhi-India’s most hardwired political personage, then Arvind Kejriwal, the anti-corruption crusader-turned-chief constable of India’s capital seems to be following in the footsteps of the national captain.
In 2001 when he took over as the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi was a lilliputian. He initially grew in girth through communal cleaving.
After 2004 when the BJP’s NDA gave way to the Congress-led UPA, he gained traction by the simple expedient of a million pinpricks to bleed a slumbering Goliath which was oscillating between smug overconfidence and perilous management of inner contradictions. In Gujarat, Modi operated on three fronts simultaneously . He emerged as the Hindu heart throb (hriday samrat) through rank majoritarianism, sheared and subjugated rivals within, even as he went about neutering the opposition without , while constantly engaging in deft perception management. Combative to the core, aggression was central to his political strategy as he carried hindutva in his pocket and wore the lexicon of ‘development’ on his sleeve.
Hardcore hindutva icon Balraj Madhok once created a stir of sorts when he termed BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a practitioner of Nehruvian politics. Similarly Modi has picked up many a verse from Indira Gandhi’s book of political practice. Big names or huge reputations never overawed her. Whether in her own party or without. She went into battle with rank novices for soldiers and won the day. She worsted the syndicate comprising of the likes of Morarji Desai, Sanjiva Reddy, Nijalingappa, Atulya Ghosh, and SKPatil. Ejected from power, post-Emergency, she banded together a new team and was soon back in the saddle where she remained until her assassination.
The saffron agenda apart, one notices many strains of the Indira style in Modi’s strategisation. Always combat ready, moving rapidly into rival territory to take on them on their own ground with startlingly successful results. The same scenario played out in Gujarat, then taking on mentor LK Advani on home pitch and thereafter the Congress on its own turf in Delhi with similar results to bag undisputed national power.
The old order always gives way to the new and if Modi improvised or inspired ,to suit himself, it is now AAP supremo, Kejriwal’s turn to do so. First the similarities. Both Modi and Shankersinh Vaghela were the driving force that brought the BJP to power in Gujarat on its own for the first time in Gujarat in 1995 with veteran Keshubhai Patel as the chief minister. Vaghela rebelled, not as much against Patel as is generally believed but against Modi. Vajpayee brokered peace, banishing Modi and replacing Patel with Suresh Mehta, but Togadia and Modi conspired to break the truce and Vaghela quit. After Modi assumed the reins of power in 2001,many of the old guards were either forced to quit or sent out to pasture. These included chief ministers, Keshubhai Patel, Suresh Mehta, veterans Chiman Shukla, Narsinh Padhiyar in Saurashtra, Kashiram Rana in Saurashtra, AK Patel in north Gujarat to name a few.
Kejriwal’s return to power in Delhi has seen a similar churn within his own ranks. The mild mannered IITian of NGO stock who spoke a language of camaraderie did not take too long to bare his autocratic fangs, once in the saddle. The purging began in right earnest soon acquiring a gladiator like fury. No room for dissent. Out you go. Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Prof Anand Kumar, even ombudsman retired admiral Ramdas and activist Medha Patkar, to name a few.
If Modi used the media and subsequently abused the media once in power, so has Kejriwal bared his fangs. The man who hung on to the coattails of Anna Hazare to gain popular legitimacy for political power and was the biggest gainer of media largesse now wants to hang the media. Don’t like the message, kill the messenger. In power, how different is Kejriwal from Modi?
If criticism of Modi and his government in Gujarat was tantamount to insulting the five crore(later six crore) people of the state, a criticism of Kejriwal and his government is a BJP-Congress conspiracy against the people of Delhi. In Gujarat earlier, and now at the Centre one hears Modi and his men repeat to death about the burden they have been saddled within decades of misrule. In Gujarat, all Modi rule self-glorification statistics began with 2001 discounting the fact that the BJP came to power in the state in 1995 ruled up to the end of 1996 and was back in power in 1998 and Modi moved in only three years later in 2001. But,for all practical purposes BJP rule in the Modi almanac begins only thereafter in Gujarat. So, for all statistical purposes, ’achche din’ for India will begin only post 2014!
If the pioneers of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ abhiyan, by their own admission, are now busy in national cleaning of the accumulated garbage of 65 years, they are themselves facing the same combative politics that their own leader initiated a decade back while based in Gujarat. Modi would then rail against the Congress led Centre for shackling and meting out injustice to Gujarat. Kejriwal is now doing the same against the Modi led Centre today in relation to Delhi.
The BJP rode into Gujarat on a mandate for a different sort of politics. The veteran watchers of the Gujarat scene see no perceptible difference including in the corruption index, only that Modi managed to move on. Kejriwal, who heads a glorified municipality going by the name of a state, is now challenging the very same challenger, seeking the very same powers from the very same man, who once wanted the very same say.What goes around, comes around. The future would be interesting to watch. As they say. two wrongs don’t make a right but they make a good excuse.
Let’s watch.
---
*Senior journalist. This blog has also been published in http://wordsmithsandnewsplumbers.blogspot.in

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.

Story of a foot soldier of Gujarat riots coming from a vulnerable community, Chharas

By Rajiv Shah
He is one of the more prominent "foot soldiers" of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Suresh Jadeja, alias Langdo, alias Richard, is indeed a well-known name in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons were killed on February 28, 2002, the first day of the riots that shook the nation. Ordinarily, such a person should have been subjected to sociological scrutiny. What have here is a keen journalistic account, with clear political-ideological overtone.