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Can Shah revive BJP in UP?

Today is Tuesday, the day designated to perform Hanuman puja in celebration of the famous character from Ramayana. Hanuman epitomises trust and loyalty. The Hindus believe that Lord Rama would not have succeeded in tracing his kidnapped wife, Sita if not for the efforts of Hanuman. He became indispensable to Lord Rama and carried out the task of bringing back herbs from the Himalayas that were required to save the life of Rama’s brother Lakshman. Hanuman is taken in high esteem by his devotees who have also been observing fast on Tuesdays. Hanuman-like characters have been dominating our political scenario in our democracy. Our political parties and even the tallest leaders feel proud in keeping their Hanumans around them and to make use of their capabilities to achieve their goals.

Raj Narain used to act as Hanuman to Chaudhary Charan Singh who adorned the post of prime minister from 28 June 1979 to 14 January 1980.  A close confidante of the great socialist leader – Ram Manohar Lohia, Raj Narain was the first leader of opposition in UP Assembly. He served two terms in the Assembly, first during 1966-1972 and represented UP in the upper house of Parliament from 1974 to 1976. He unsuccessfully contested as a Lok Sabha candidate from Rae Bareli against Congress candidate, Indira Gandhi, but came into national limelight in 1975 when Allahabad High Court quashed Gandhi’s election to the seat while deciding his petition.  He finally defeated Indira Gandhi in 1977, then prime minister from the same seat.  Raj Narain was appointed as health minister in the Janta Party government headed by Morarji Desai. Narain became super active and started working as ‘Hanuman’ to the then Deputy Prime Minister, Chaudhry Charan Singh.

The socialists along with Raj Narain started Janta Party. This brought together MPs who against Desai on the issue of dual membership of party members. Raj Narain also organised the largest rally at Boat Club in New Delhi, wherein farmers gathered to celebrate the birthday of Chaudhary Charan singh.  A former Deputy Minister in Nehru government, SN Mishra while addressing the rally described it the largest ever and predicted that such huge gathering would never assemble at Boat Club. Indira Gandhi being in jail at the time sent a bouquet of flowers to Charan Singh in the rally. This resulted in intensified efforts of Raj Narain in the fall of Morarji government and installation of the Charan Singh government with the support of the Congress party. It is to be acknowledged that Raj Narain, the Hanuman was instrumental in mobilizing a large number of Janta Party MPs in favour of Charan Singh. The Charan Singh government lasted only seven months and Raj Narain started losing his influence gradually.  He breathed his last on31st December 1986.

Thakur Amar Singh, ‘Hanuman’ to former Defence Minister and UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav left him on 6th January 2010.  Together they worked hard to strengthen Socialist Party in UP.  Amar Singh also strived hard to get a strong support by the Rajput community for the party when he served as General Secretary.  His words, idioms, shlokas and shayari helped his party to advance in politics. His chaste Hindi and proximity with the tinsel world used to attracted headlines quite often. Amar Singh was first elected to Rajya Sabha in 1996 from Uttar Pradesh.

It is possible that he got perturbed about the dominant role of Mulayam’s family in the party and decided to part ways forever. However it has to be said that during his association with the party, Amar Singh did his best as ‘Hanuman’ to benefit Samajwadi Party, despite being involved in the offences of bribing the MPs and tapes controversy.

The RJD Chief and former Bihar Chief Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav also enjoyed the dedication of his Hanuman, Prem Chand Gupta. Gupta had earlier served as the Union Minister of State and as the Cabinet Minister for Company Affairs in Deve Gowda and Gujral governments. It used to be talk of the town that Lalu Yadav depended on Gupta in getting his political missions accomplished.  This might be the one of the reasons for the steep rise of Gupta.

Amit Shah is now being termed as the Hanuman to the BJP Campaign committee Chairman and Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi has assigned him a herculean task of reviving the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Will this Hanuman do a bit of miracle to boost the chances of his party in UP during Lok Sabha elections in 2014?  The man, who might have an apprehension of being included in an FIR of the Ishrat case, is presently heaving a sigh of relief. Shah is expected to conduct a similar style of campaign to the one he did for L K Advani in Gandhinagar during the Lok Sabha elections. Will Shah be able to negotiate success for the saffron party?  Would Lord Rama bless bounties on Shah to prove his worth and mettle to Modi? Only time will tell.

Satpal is a communication consultant
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