New Delhi,24 March-2014,Anant Rangaswami: A month ago, the BJP looked to be on a roll. Opinion polls suggested that they would make big gains at the cost of the Congress. Media projected Modi as the next prime minister.
Image credit: PTI File
The United States said that it “would welcome” Modi if he became prime minister of India. Reuters Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi was interviewed on Times Now and quickly became the butt of social media jokes. Things couldn’t be better for the BJP and worse for the Congress. It looked like Modi would be a shoo-in. Then things began to get unstuck.
First was the unseemly public washing of linen on the issue of Lal Krishna Advani which has been widely interpreted as a ‘warning’ to another BJP PM aspirant, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as well.
Then came the denial of a ticket to Jaswant Singh – and the consequent comment by another BJP leader, Sushma Swaraj, that she was ‘pained’ by the denial. If things weren’t bad enough, the late Rajiv Gandhi’s MJ Akbar friend joined the BJP, Firstpost was quick to remind Akbar of his earlier, published views on Modi. “Modi is an ideologue, with a difference. The difference is hysteria. It is an edgy hysteria, which can mesmerise; and it easily melts into the kind of megalomania that makes a politician believe that he is serving the larger good through a destructive frenzy against a perceived enemy.
In Hitler’s case, the enemy was the Jew; in Modi’s case the enemy is the Muslim. Such a politician is not a fool; in fact, he may have a high degree of intellect. But it is intellect unleavened by reason, and untempered by humanism,” Akbar had written.
An organisation, whose members ‘raided’ a pub in Mangalore in broad daylight in 2009, chasing, pushing, shoving and beating up women to make sure they are reminded of their place in the world according to the Sena – that of being a doormat to be trampled over by noble men such as them as and when required,” Firstpost’s Piyasree Dasgupta wrote.
Faced with protests and objections regarding the induction of Muthalik, including one from the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, the BJP did a flip-flop and decided to withdraw the welcome. “Senior BJP leader and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier told CNN-IBN, “His membership should be cancelled, I have told central leadership that he should not be in the party.”
And if you thought all was well, along came a new, needless controversy over the slogan ‘Har, har Modi’ in Uttar Pradesh – a state which, arguably, is the most important one to win. “Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth, Swaroopanand Saraswati was unhappy over the traditional chant ‘Har Har Mahadev’ which is raised to hail Lord Shiv being ‘modified’ into ‘Har Har Modi’, to spruce up Modi’s campaign,” we reported. Modi had to request his followers to stop using the slogan.
Senior leaders of the BJP, all involved in unseemly and untimely embarrassments – with their principal enemy, the Congress having no role to play in them.