Amit Shah’s date with RSS chief
The image and aura of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah had shone brightly. The party’s unexpected tally of 71 Lok Sabha seats from the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the 2014 general elections were a testament to this fact. Subsequent results of the assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) only proved Amit Shah’s strategic prowess. His so called ‘Chankaya’ strategy as in-charge of UP during the general elections helped him in getting the coveted post of party president. By bagging an absolute majority in the parliamentary election and forming a stable government at the centre, the BJP has since emerged as a political outfit firmly at the centre stage of Indian politics. During his time as party president, he had been expanding and strengthening the party in order to make it an invincible organisation across the country. He was even dreaming of capturing power in the ensuing elections in Bihar, West Bengal, UP and seeking to emerge as a king maker in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The BJP’s long running victory party, however, was about to be spoiled. The drubbing that the BJP received at the hands of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi Assembly elections was the mightiest blow to the winning capabilities of the party president-who was sure of a big win for the BJP in the capital city. The way the party had been decimated was cause of concern to the old timers and the new entrants alike. There was no semblance of saving grace for the party to hide under.
The BJP is still striving to come out of the shock of that humongous defeat and thereafter has been facing the heat due to certain teething troubles in the first ever coalition it has entered into the state of J&K. It seems that these teething troubles are going to persist for a while. The coalition has begun to lose its sheen during the first week itself.
In the backdrop of this entire hullabaloo and the cumulative woes being faced by the National Democratic Alliance government due to its minority in Rajya Sabha, Shah had a meeting with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat at its headquarters at Nagpur on Holi. The discussions continued for nearly eight hours. Though nothing has been divulged, it seems these pertinent concerns were conveyed by the mother organisation to the party president. Apart from expressing its displeasure over the J&K episode and Delhi Assembly results, the RSS warned the BJP to avoid ignoring hard ground realities.
The RSS and the BJP President held in depth discussions on a wide range of issues ranging from the Land Acquisition bill, Labour Laws in Rajasthan, the so-called ‘stiff image’ of the Prime Minister, internal functioning of the party, Union Budget and last but not the least, formation of a coalition government in J&K, etc. Both Shah and Ram Lal were grilled on the various decisions and actions of the party and government. In the end it turned out to be a veritable sermon from the RSS supremo.
The RSS Chief allegedly did not mince words in expressing his displeasure over developments in J&K. The RSS chief, while questioning the long deliberations between People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP, reportedly scolded Shah for not keeping the Sangh informed. The RSS Chief also expressed his displeasure over the controversial statement of J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohamad Sayeed-who in his first statement had expressed his gratitude to those across the border and separatists in the state for making the atmosphere conducive for holding elections in the state. The RSS expressed its deepest concern and stated that toeing such a line is embarrassing for the Centre and the party. The controversial first day statement was followed by another firestorm raised by a few PDP MLAs, who exhorted the Centre to hand over the remains of Afzal Guru. Both these issues have resulted in a severe headache for both the NDA government and the BJP. Even the PM had to address these two issues in the Parliament.
It is expected that the BJP will attempt to do some course correction post this discussion with the RSS. It is time for Shah to take cues from the discussions held at Nagpur and re-emerge as a result oriented master mind of the ruling party.