Modi’s Decline Might Begin!

Right now Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be feeling on top of the world. He has humbled his opponents in his party. He reigns supreme in the BJP. He is issuing advice to the central government. He struts like a potential prime minister. But this situation may change. Readers might recall that a few days earlier I had cautioned the BJP about allowing Modi to flout discipline in order to preserve the party’s unity on the eve of the impending Gujarat assembly elections. Unity at the cost of discipline, I had warned, might prove costly and self defeating in the long run. I wrote: “At what cost has temporary unity been achieved? The days ahead will reveal that…Perhaps RSS has sacrificed (Sanjay) Joshi for temporary reprieve to confront Modi at a later more suitable time.”

Things are moving even faster than was anticipated. Former chief minister and Modi’s adversary Keshubhai Patel has not wasted time. He has cobbled together the disgruntled BJP elements opposed to Modi in order to counter him during the polls. These include the former chief minister Suresh Mehta and several former ministers and powerful leaders. Significantly among them is also RSS leader Bhaskarrao Damle. Would Damle have been defying the RSS to attend the meeting? The former minister for home Gordhan Jhadafiya dispelled all confusion on this score by stating: “We may belong to any political party, but at the end of the day we are all swayamsewaks of the RSS.” Keshubhai Patel is not only a senior RSS hand. He is the leader of the powerful and influential Patel community in Gujarat. Many members of this community from the Congress party will also be lending a hand to his endeavor. 

Should this development worry Modi? Well, his supporters have started to circulate an old Wikileaks cable of 2005 ridiculing Keshubhai Patel. That will have little or no impact on voters in the current context. But its circulation betrays a trace of nervousness in the Modi camp. So will the Keshubhai group succeed in defeating Modi? Very likely not. But will it succeed in derailing him to significantly reduce his majority. Very likely it will. That is what would most suit the RSS. Without losing grip of the Gujarat government it would strive for weakening Modi to the extent of compelling him to accommodate opponents. In the event, would he oblige? That remains uncertain. That is why commenting earlier on the expediency displayed by RSS in flouting discipline in order to retain unity I wrote: “Such rationalization and compromise never delivers good results.”

Modi has displayed a basic flaw that argues against his continued success. He ignores the old and useful adage: always leave your enemy a line of retreat. Even a cornered mouse can turn into a dangerous rat. Modi’s approach may suit dictatorial regimes. In democratic politics the ability to accommodate opponents and rivals and knowing the appropriate time to do so is is an invaluable asset. Until now Modi has given no indication of displaying this quality. Events may compel him to accommodate his rivals. It would serve him and his party much better if that were done before the Gujarat poll than after it. Would Modi attempt that or would he prove too brittle? The next few months will reveal that and the fortunes of Narendra Modi post the Gujarat poll. The RSS may well regret its decision to ignore discipline for the sake of maintaining the BJP’s unity.   


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3363      Comments: 4

Comment Modi is what he is. He is shrewd and sound. He knows what lies ahead.
He is always toward his goal. He does what he means. His goal is better
India through better Gujarat. This makes him great.
His gurus are Swami Vivekanand and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He worships
Mahatma Gandhi.
He will sacrifice anything for greater good of Gujarat.
BJP will fall not because of Modi but because of internal strife. BJP will rise
if its goal is India and not self-isms. BJP leaders' moto should be UNITED WE
People want heath and wealth through golden gate education. Stop pollution,
stop over population, stop corruption.
Swami Vivekanand took BHARAT JYOT wherever he went. Sardar Patel
united India. Both have won hearts, yours and mine. I am sure that Modi will
not forget them, and not India and Gujarat

Pranlal Sheth
04-Jun-2012 08:59 AM

Comment Modi is driving Gujarat to prosperity, nobody has seen in past. I wish him all the pest in this pperseverence. Keshu must challange him so that a better leadership which is lying dormat will emerge. Interestingly people will be entertained by talks between them.

01-Jun-2012 04:04 AM

Comment Nothing is clear from reading this article.
Keshubhai Patel, Govardhan Zadaphia, Suresh Mehta etc are all abject failures who have achieved nothing EVER.
What party discipline/procedure could Modi have ignored? Kowtowing to fools?
I suspect that this bunch needs to be given a bone once in a while, because they want something to do. Fat slobs, who want a stage without ever doing anything for it, like the other jobless fool-- Shankersinh Vaghela.
I took a tour of Gujarat by van with all family members for 12 days; things were perfectly bovine, even boring.
Gujarat is substantially cheaper than Maharashtra in all respects. The condition of some parts of even the bigger cities made one's heart sink.
But there was no tension ANYWHERE. Our tour operator was a muslim with some 30 vehicles in his possession. Where are Rajcreep Turdesai and Burqa Dutt's cowering, scared muslims? Oh, slanderous world.... Everyone had praise for Modi, but on the street is was as always, quintessentially Indian; dusty, hot,dreary etc. Even the malls in Ahmedabad were relatively ordinary. Obviously, after zero work in the Chimanbhai Patel era and Keshubhai's tenure, it is going to take some real hard work to change a somnolent, laid back state.

01-Jun-2012 00:50 AM

Comment Yes - "Modi has displayed a basic flaw that argues against his continued success. He ignores the old and useful adage: always leave your enemy a line of retreat."

And it is to be seen if person at 60 years age and seasoned in politics can change the way of working because it requires change in mindset sometimes to overcome natural instincts.

But I don't see a better hope for India than Modi becoming PM, after all democracy is about choosing among the available alternatives. Most of the time, it is about choosing 'bad' over 'worse'.

If Modi comes to power, at least India's immediate decline will stop, which is otherwise not expected in congress regime. Modi's accent to PM will likely not bring fundamental changes to the system that is essentially needed towards long term solution, but it may pave way to bring fundamental changes at later stage by stopping the decline and rising new hopes.

Western powers and other enemies are uncomfortable with idea of India reaching a state where fundamental changes can begin (that will in turn mean their reduced influence on the world) !

I hope it makes sense to readers ...

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
31-May-2012 23:37 PM

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