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Modi’s hitler approach may not work

Presuming Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister, how will he behave; what will be his priorities, both high and low? Will he reflect both good and bad traits of his strong personality in governance and be more assertive than his predecessor? Let us first have a look at the good side. He will be assertive, do things differently and better than what is being done at the centre or even in some of the BJP-ruled states. As per his strong personality, Modi will not adopt consensus approach to resolve contentious issues. Not only is he derisive of his party’s leadership but feels that the BJP has become out of tune with changing times and most of its principles are compromised.

Modi may try to impose on India, what has come to be known as Gujarat model of development and fail miserably. He is supposed to be endowed with such outstanding leadership qualities that he would try to transform India in the same decisive manner, as he did to Gujarat but would fail. An element in Modi’s leadership is the personality cult. As a matter of fact all chief ministers get to dominate their governments. Strong personalities like Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee, Navin Patnaik, and earlier Mayawati, define the tone and tenor of their state’s governments and their working habits and practices. Modi is steps ahead of them.

Modi may also attempt to be as authoritarian in the centre as he was in Gujarat. Now that Modi and his cheer leaders have decided to field him in the national arena, questions would be asked about his commitment to democratic values. He has given sufficient indications that his model of leadership means absence of institutional restraint and accountability. The new edition of Lok Ayukta passed in the Gujarat Assembly is only a curtain raiser, say observers. A strong leader will not tolerate any check on his powers. Modi’s leadership model simply means an unalloyed corporate raj. The ‘economic miracle’ that he performed in Gujarat is predicted on the working assumption that it is primary duty of the administration to make it possible for the corporate houses to make profit, whatever the social dislocation or cost. And much to the delight of all his corporate admirers, he has done an admirable job of silencing all dissent.

Modi is, doubtless, the chief minister who presided over 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat. In the event of his becoming the PM, will he repeat the same pattern in India? Will he isolate minorities, not only Muslims, but others also and give them the same treatment as did Hitler to Jews in Germany. He may not succeed because India is not Germany and in this country the ethos and culture are different. Modi may meet fate of a dictator, if he
follows Hitler’s model.

Now coming to reality than Modi’s imaginary role as the prime minister. BJP’s organisational revamp sends a few clear signals; Modi is set to play a bigger role outside Gujarat.  L K Advani’s hold on the party is diminishing and Yashwant Sinha faces political wilderness for challenging RSS-backed Nitin Gadkari’s leadership. Sinha, the first senior BJP leader to push for Modi openly as PM, puts it well; there is strong feeling among workers that declaring Gujarat CM as prime ministerial candidate would benefit the party. The sentiment is echoed by many an Indian industrialist and foreign ambassadors because of Modi’s good governance and growth record in Gujarat.  

Of the five BJP chief ministers, Modi is the only one to get into all-important parliamentary board that decides the BJP’s policies as well as the central election committee that selects candidates for every election.

Modi comes with a baggage; his questionable role in 2002 killings of Muslims and autocratic style of functioning. Modi’s impact is clear from elevation of those who keep pleading his case for the post of prime minister; Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitaraman, Meenakshi Lekhi, C P Thakur and Rameshwar Chaurasia. Rajnath Singh has tried to cash Modi’s growing popularity among party workers and sections of the society, and project Gujarat model of development for the country. He has also induced into the central team Uma Bharti, the so-called
Sanyasin
with Ram temple agenda. What message the party is sending out with the choice of Amit Shah, who faces trail in two fake encounter cases? The selection of Varun Gandhi, who was recently acquitted of hate speech, is obviously to counter the appeal of Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav among the young voters of Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP shake up has left moderate leaders like Jaswant Singh, Shanta Kumar and Novjot Sidhu in the cold. How correct the top leadership decisions are will be tested in the coming elections – state assemblies and the Lok Sabha? As the main national opposition, the BJP needs a mature and less belligerent leadership capable of moving the party from practicing politics of disruption to working for larger good of the people. (IPA)
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