The big let-down

he huge gap between promise and performance marks the first anniversary of the Narendra Modi government. There is also growing opposition within the party and Sangh Parivar outfits against the Modi-Amit Shah-Arun Jaitley triumvirate, which acts as the power centre. By VENKITESH RAMAKRISHNAN

TWO political anecdotes recounted by a senior Delhi-based Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader at different junctures in the one year of Narendra Modi’s regime denote the trajectory charted by the government, the party and the Prime Minister. The two accounts are starkly different in character and in many ways represent the soaring political hopes and aspirations as well as the striking disappointments and disillusionments that have come up within the BJP and the larger Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)-led Sangh Parivar in the past 12 months.

The leader shared the first anecdote a few days before the completion of 100 days of the Modi government. It essentially related how Amit Shah, who had been nominated president of the BJP a few weeks earlier, had started taking tuition to learn more about the people and culture of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Shah was also apparently picking up rudiments of Tamil and Bengali as part of this process.

A few associates of Shah made certain political projections with regard to this learning venture. These were that Modi would rule India for the next 10 years and during that period the BJP would emerge in its own right as a strong political force in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, shaking off the historical baggage of lack of growth in these regions. The projections were that with this the BJP would become a comprehensive replacement for the Congress and become the only dominant national party. Shah himself expected to lead this political-organisational drive from the front with the skills he would develop through the dedicated coaching. Of course, the natural interpretation was that once he had effected such path-breaking growth for the BJP, Shah would be chosen to lead the government post-2024.

As he recounted this, the Delhi leader, who had also come up the BJP hierarchy around the same time as Modi, K.N. Govindacharya and the late Pramod Mahajan, was a picture of confidence and jubilation. He went on to explain that Modi and Shah together formed a purposive political phenomenon that had shown other leaders of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar that with careful planning and methodical implementation the so-called impossible and unthinkable could be achieved. …
The big let-down | Frontline.

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