The crushing defeat of caste politics is what many would like to remember 2017 with. What Atal Bihar Vajpayee failed to do, Narendra Modi did for the RSS, i.e., effectively defeat the perception that it is representative of upper castes alone by winning Uttar Pradesh.
Under Modi’s tutelage and effective leadership, BJP has become a powerful force that it always aspired to be, but couldn’t become, till now.
While other parties went after Muslims and Christians and made them their solid votebanks, somehow BJP was unable to do the same, this even after L.K. Advani said that Jinnah was secular, apparently to appease the Muslim community.
But even after taking a huge dent on his Hindu statesman image with the secular certificate to Jinnah, he was unable to woo the Muslims effectively. However, despite this fatal failure, he did not give up ambitions for the PM chair banking on the old TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor.
And he wasn’t wrong either! At that time there was hardly any leader who could have been presented as the Prime Ministerial candidate against Manmohan Singh (MMS) whose leadership and integrity in the first term ensured that Congress, even with a scion like Rahul Gandhi who was uninterested in politics, remained the number one party.
But things changed in the second term after it became apparent that MMS would sooner or later pass the baton to Rahul Gandhi. And yet, still, the BJP had no face that could counter Manmohan+Gandhis.
It is then, that Narendra Modi, as an unapologetic Hindu face of the party made a splash!
Narendra Modi: How RSS sealed his PM candidature against Advani
Let’s rewind to the year 2012, the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi joined forces with Bollywood hunk Ajay Devgn for a Google hangout chat with the audience. The chat was a massive hit and was the first sign of his popularity. Gujarat’s development stories were already being spoken about during that time but it was still L.K. Advani who was the king in the waiting.
While all this was happening, it was also becoming clearer that it was Narendra Modi and not Advani who had it in him to lead the party.
But despite everything going in his favour, Narendra Modi got approval from BJP only after the party’s Parliamentary Board, which L.K. Advani skipped in anger, was forced to agree on his nomination.
RSS had to push the Parliamentary Board to anoint Narendra Modi after making it clear that it would rather go with the Gujarat CM, than with ‘Jinnah is secular’ mouthing Advani, even if that meant ‘defeat.’
What could have happened if the RSS wouldn’t have stepped in? Could BJP have agreed on Modi’s candidature without the push from RSS?
The party didn’t have the guts after getting defeated twice at the hands of MMS and then it also had too many ‘PM chair aspirants’ who had almost similar experience as Narendra Modi in public life.
Names of leaders like Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Raman Singh, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj (who was able to get the blessings from Shiv Sena’s late supremo Bal Thackeray himself!) were doing the rounds.
And at that time these stalwarts had seemed to appeal more to the urban populace than someone like Modi whose rustic image also had dark spots of Godhra train burning and Gujarat riots of 2002.
But it was RSS which stood like a rock behind Narendra Modi, seeing in him potential as an administrator and as an able strategist.
Today, when BJP is returning to power after a vanvas of almost a decade and a half in Uttar Pradesh, RSS must be feeling vindicated for standing by Modi.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar congratulates BJP for UP & U'khand victory says,opposing parties ignored that demonetisation gave satisfaction to poor pic.twitter.com/3IZuAFeLPl
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 12, 2017
With this win, Narendra Modi today is perhaps even more powerful than even Indira Gandhi.
But his humility in his reply to Rahul Gandhi makes it evident that he isn’t going to be anything like her which makes him perfect for an organization like RSS whose ranks are filled with people from mostly middle and low-income groups.
Thank you. Long live democracy! https://t.co/hJoGsO5lGA
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 11, 2017
He inspires Indians with his thoughts and actions and the apathy of being a developing nation has since been swept away.
Today’s India is rejuvenated with the sheer energy of Narendra Modi and this has helped RSS get more support from upper-income group segments as well making this organization stronger than ever. It, therefore, is a foregone conclusion that today RSS leadership will be proud of backing Narendra Modi.
By Namta Gupta