Today, Modi is Weak, but… by DR. MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM (NOVEMBER 30, 2007)

GUJARAT POLLS-I


Modi’s weakness does not automatically ensure a Congress-led secular front victory, writes DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM


The Gujarat BJP of 2007 is not quantitatively different from the Gujarat Congress of 2002. Back then the Congress Party was a hopelessly divided house, without any clear idea of where it was headed. On the other hand, BJP had the full backing of the Hindutva conglomeration: RSS, Bajrang Dal, Bhartiya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasabha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP), among others.

Today Congress is relatively better organised and networked with secular-minded parties and organisations that want to avoid any split in the secular vote at all costs. On the other hand, the Hindutva Parivar is a house divided against itself.

Modi has alienated not only the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and allied outfits, but also all supporting sadhus, sanyasis and senas. Minus this large network of support he is not likely to achieve much. Even the fire-spouting Parvin Togadia is annoyed and has written to high officials of RSS, VHP and BJP complaining that Modi is out to assassinate his character by planting stories in newspapers.

As of now BJP’s progenitor, RSS, is out of the show. But rabble-rousers like Uma Bharti, who had so far been acting as crowd pullers to the Hindutva road show, cannot be counted upon either. The caste equation of 2002 is also missing. So is the communal ballast of 2002 pogrom that sent BJP riding to power on a hate wave.

Uma Bharti had floated her own outfit, beguilingly called Bhartiya Jan Shakti Party. She had fielded 60 candidates to take Modi’s candidates head on. However, in keeping with her old style she withdrew from the contest on November 29. That has led to a revolt in the newly-formed party. Some of her candidates still might throw the spanner in the BJP works. Shiv Sena, another Hindutva organisation, is fielding over 30 candidates. All this amid assorted sadhus, and sanyasis sulking.

Gordhan Zadaphia, minister of state for home during the 2002 killings, is estranged from Modi today. Influential swamis like Asaram Bapu, Pramukh Swamy and Chaitanya Maharaj are out of the Modi camp. There are at least 70 important godmen like them who would not like to be seen dead in Modi’s company.

With so much going against Modi, it seems as if the Congress Party has already won. No, it’s not that simple.


(Watch this space)

 

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