Millennium Post

Uneasy at the top

Nitin Gadkari is fretting and fuming. Who is this ‘ha’ppeny, tuppeny’ guy biting the hand that has been feeding him by lending him so much public and political support? Arvind Kejriwal, who was like Moses to the saffron brigade until yesterday, is suddenly out of favour, especially with the other political novice,  Gadkari himself.

Gadkari’s dreams of ruling India from 2014 onwards had just been ignited and waved, but perhaps reduced to ashes because he sees a conspiracy to wreck his future, albeit political future. He visualised himself as the self-appointed future prime minister of India, with the avid support of his Nagpur based mentors.

If not that, it was reasonable to hope that election to the Lok Sabha from Nagpur or a safer constituency from an RSS or BJP stronghold away from Gujarat, would ensure his subsequent election as the leader of Opposition enjoying the rank of a cabinet minister, to the dismay of the present leader, Sushama Swaraj.

Gadkari has rubbished the charges that he owns 17 companies and is involved in some hydel project or projects. All his wealth is legally acquired, he claims: it is legitimate and hard earned. There are many millionaires in public life, many of them multi millionaires and billionaires even in the BJP circuit. Why should anyone pick on him and try to run him down? He may just be a millionaire and that is fair and square.

Gadkari may expect that the present allegations will be forgotten sooner than later and he will be back in the reckoning in the not very distant future. That is what many in public life have done and he need be no exception. But for the present, he seems to be facing some music in the public eye, much to his own discomfiture.

But there would be many in the BJP, Old Guard and New Guard, who would be quite pleased to see the party boss in trouble and cut to size. That trouble could revive their own ambitions, which are right now at a discount because the khaki wide knickerwallas in Nagpur and Jhandewala of New Delhi call the shots and believe that they could silence Kejriwal and persuade him not to make any future noises.

They might be telling him to beware of his own future and political ambitions. That is just like Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has warned Kejriwal that he has yet to go through the rumble and tumble of public life and he could find the going rough. If he and his ‘India Against Corruption’  has any ambitions of making a mark in UP, he will be given a hot reception, not warm. He might wish to ask him: why are you silent about Narendra Modi? Gadkari has been in Delhi more than two years and he is a different man today from the one who came to the city. Whether he is a quick learner or not but he has been trying to brush himself up like political newcomers do all the time, like young cricketers from the backwaters do all the time.

One gets to grips with the alleys of the big city although he knows Mumbai well and Nagpur is no small town either, even though he might have lived a relatively quiet life without glamour and glitter.

Some of his supporters in Delhi have greatly improved his dress sense from good Nagpur style to rather ‘hep’ metropolitan style as well as the best party going demeanor in colorful shirts or bush shirts or safari suits, even if not yet suit and tie or black tie and dinner jacket, which could be done for an embassy party or world travels: English attire, or equivalent of it, would be easy to acquire on future jaunts. Italian, Parisian or American clothes are absolutely in order, though, nowadays.

The RSS backroom boys appear to have worked hard to improve Gadkari’s style of speaking Hindi from somewhat indifferent, if not near slang, even though not pure or shudh to quite passable.

They also worked hard to improve his use of English, broken at best, to passable English in a Delhi Press conference. But all that may be a bad dream until that dream is erased to autumnal glorious weather.

Much to relief of Gadkari, his accusers including those who made charges against him are also under a shadow. This has forced Arvind Kejriwal to refer their cases to a Lok Pal to be appointed by India against corruption. Many can ask can Kejriwal continue his campaign for long as the credibility gap is growing. [IFS]
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