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Reconciled to its defeat, Opposition now wants to deny BJP a clear majority

Monday, May 13, 2019
By Virendra Kapoor

Even if reliant on allies, not in Modi’s nature to run an indecisive government

Having seen  the writing on the wall, and most reluctantly reconciled themselves to Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar, the Opposition seems to have shifted the goal-post. Now it hopes to deny the BJP a majority of  its own.  Even if it cannot defeat Modi,  it would like a weak prime minister, dependent on  allies for survival. A prime minister, hobbled by allies from outside and senior party colleagues from within, is the next best thing for the anti-Modi elements in the absence of a coalition  of various non-BJP, non-NDA constituents.  A weak Modi    would have to  necessary yield   the Opposition, which has felt suffocated and marginalized  these past five years, some space rather than steamroller it as he did in the last five years. At least, this is what the Opposition  seems to think.

Also, the BJP winning majority on its own sends shudders down the spines of most Opposition leaders, particularly those who are on bail and/or those who are obliged to run to courts every few weeks  to get protection  against arrest on account of on-going investigations into their sleaze and scams while in power.

Even the regional parties would have reason to fear the return of a strong prime minister since he would not  play ball on the terms prevalent in the promiscuous political environment  before 2014. Having built up his image as an incorruptible leader, Modi cannot be expected to cut underhand deals with the likes of Mayawati and Mulayam Singh both of whom  face multiple corruption charges.  

A strong and decisive prime minister’s  authority is unchallenged domestically while foreign powers deal with him with due circumspection and respect. A strong prime minister can pull off feats, such as the launching of surgical strikes against a recalcitrant neighbor, or global blacklisting of Azhar Masood, to cite but only two recent examples. A prime minister constantly looking back at his shoulders fearing backstabbing by allies or ambitious  colleagues cannot  feel confident.

Now, whether the voters will grant the Opposition its wish will be known only May 23. The BJP is  confident  of repeating  2014. Those who  do not see the 2014-type wave  had failed to see it last time as well. Post-result discovery of a wave is an ingrained habit of the media everywhere. As against 2014, this time you can clearly notice a strong undercurrent in favour of Modi. Even Modi’s visceral critics  have reluctantly acknowledged  a  Modi wave even in the remote villages of UP and Bihar, MP and Rajasthan. 

But let us return to those whose heart bleeds for a weak coalition,  even if  headed by Modi. A prolific commentator wishes to see Modi heading  a Manmohan Singh-like coalition.  Quite clearly, he  fails to take into account the diametrically opposite  personalities involved here.  Modi’s  mental make-up, the political ethos in which he grew does not have anything in common with Singh’s. It is like comparing  chalk and cheese.  Singh by nature is  submissive,  meekly  doing someone else’s bidding. Modi, on the other hand, is assertive, resistant to dictation.  Even if Singh  were to be  prime minister in his own right rather than being nominated, Singh would still have  difficulty  getting   a handle on  government, or in preventing   colleagues from raking it in  by the bushelfuls.

' Modi, on the other hand, has an ingrained aversion to corruption. He is a control freak.   Even if he falls short of a majority,  and heads a NDA  coalition, it will be  hard to rein him in, to curb his freedom of action. Because unlike Singh, who, come to think of it,  has never been without a job  since  he first joined the Punjab University in 1957 as a lecturer,  Modi  has never held a steady job. He   became  chief minister of Gujarat in 2001. While we are still at it, let me add that Singh’s bank balance, all legit, of course, is multiple times that of Modi.  Modi simply has no use for money, having been brought up on a meager stipend of a  RSS pracharak. He has no use for any kind of monetary accoutrements.      

Therefore, those who are hoping for a weak coalition do not reckon with the Modi persona. Whether the BJP has  a majority, or  requisite numbers are made up by its allies, so long as Modi is  prime minister his authority would be hard  to curb.  Modi is even different from the avuncular   Vajpayee who was rather laid-back as prime minister while his trusted aides took care of the routine chores. But  Vajpayee was blessed with a talented team, something the Modi Sarkar has lacked somewhat. Hopefully, in his second term Modi will fill this lag, also to avoid mistakes that stem from arbitrary decisions .

Mask of secularism shed for Hindutva façade
Digvijay Singh  has for all practical purposes forfeited  his claim to be the torchbearer of secularism-liberalism. For someone who shed tears at the `fake Batla House encounter’, for someone who unfailingly addressed Osama bin Laden as Osamaji, for someone who  endorsed Islamic preacher-cum-patron- of- terrorists, Zakir Naik,  for him to proclaim from housetops about seven temples in his house, of being a devout Hindu,   exposes the hollowness of the entire secularist-liberal crowd. Their `progressivism’ is a façade, a mask  worn only to allow them to feel superior to those whom they abuse as `communalists and reactionaries’.

But when it comes to the crunch, they immediately tear away the liberal mask to reveal their true colours. ( Remember the 1984 pogrom. Almost everyone in  the ruling party justified it, arguing that Sikhs had to be taught a lesson … jab bada ped …) We  have seen how Rahul Gandhi, the darling of the  liberal-leftist media tribe, overnight became a Shiv Bhakt, a devout janeaudhari Hindu, hopping from temple to temple. But not a critical word was heard from these secualrist warriors who 24x7 wire venom against the RSS-BJP.  Hypocrisy and double-standards is the second name of the Indian secularist-liberal. 

Imagine what the poor Muslim voter in Bhopal would be thinking when Singh competes with Sadhvi  Pragya  havan for havan and mandir-for-mandir, and when he  lines up a huge caravan of saffron- clad babas to buttress his claim to be a practicing Hindu. Why, if the Muslims in Bhopal  feel orphaned, with no party willing to embrace them publicly, they should  know who is to blame.

As a keen observer commented, for the secularist leaders Muslims are like the ~twaiaf~ whom they all want to visit  but only after dark.  Singh desperately  wants their votes, but does not want to be seen wooing them for fear of tearing the mask of a devout Hindu. If only the Indian Muslim had pride, he would teach these pretenders a lesson by exercising his vote to punish deceit and fraud. Better an enemy who fights openly than a self-avowed   well-wisher who stabs them by stealth.

A modern-day Mirasi
Apropos  Navjot Singh Sidhu. Like the Mirasis of old Punjab, he can be made to sing paeans in praise of whichever party he happens to be at the moment. Often you have to only replace  names of leaders and party while the text of his speeches virtually remains unaltered. A couple of his speeches in which he is heard  describing Modi as an angel- on-earth are now doing the rounds on various social media sites. To be fair to the loudmouth Sardar, who was once staring at time in prison on a charge of second-degree murder, he gives it his  all whoever he is tasked to support at a given time. All bluff and bluster, at the end of his speech one is invariably left wondering  what message,  if any, it had sought to convey.

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