Yogi Adityanath as the CM of UP might have come as a rude shock to many. But it was always on the cards. Narendra Modi has been growing too big for RSS. And after becoming PM, he hadn’t once supported openly a single of the innumerable nonsense pelted out by RSS or its fringe groups. And make any analysis. Call the Congress anything, the Rahul-Akhilesh combine didn’t lose because Akhilesh was very bad and definitely not because of Rahul Gandhi. Akhilesh has been quite decent and speaks very well and keeping the memes aside Rahul Gandhi today speaks better than most of the BJP leaders who were campaigning in UP. He has worked hard on his communication.
In fact, the Congress won three of the five states irrespective of who formed the government. So, ‘Rahul Gandhi means no seats in states’, is a bogus theory and argument. What is happening the world over and in India right now is high voltage personality contests. Modi being the world-beating leader in that. And in UP, poor Akhilesh and Rahul were just swept aside – not by polarisation, not by Hindu consolidation, not by Rahul’s memes – but simply by Modi’s far far higher voltage personality. He was just too much for them.
But the elections also proved BJP is not unbeatable. Wherever the opposition has a slightly good leader to answer back, they have 60 percent to 75 percent votes to consolidate. And the BJP can be defeated. Like it happened in Punjab.
However, the key word is a decent leader opposite Modi. While it seems no one can match him right now, but give a decent, determined and mature opposition and the BJP can be defeated. Good or bad, some states have those leaders. Bihar, WB, Punjab etc.
But while states have those, the nation has absolutely none. So, as long as Rahul is the perceived choice for PM against Modi, irrespective of how much he has improved, he comes absolutely nowhere near Modi. And Modi will win elections, one after the other, on a platter. Even Priyanka’s soft-spoken classy demeanour won’t be of any use. And Sonia is getting old and keeping a bit unwell to really run around amassing support. It’s absolute Modi-Modi one-sided and lopsided all the way. Nationally and in any place without mature politicians in the opposition.
And that is precisely why UP was given Yogi. By RSS. I would presume forcefully. And without caring about what Modi thought.
I have supported Modi in the past on many grounds and one of the key grounds had been his ability to keep himself out personally of any communal statements in the last three years. Of course that ended with the UP elections where he spoke about the kabristan vs shamshan ghats and made the incorrect statement on Hindu areas not getting electricity during Diwali while the reality is, for years, it’s during the fasting month of Ramzan that Muslim areas are constantly troubled by constant load shedding.
Personally I was surprised. Barring some arguably wrong statements about the importance of nationalism, Modi hadn’t made one wrong move in the last three years. But UP was a matter of pride. Polarisation has always worked for BJP. And even for Modi personally, after all he was the one who had famously made the Hum Paanch Hamare Pachchis statement to win Gujarat. So he didn’t want to risk another Bihar in UP. Thus, his mega personality and development agenda apart, he made a dig that he felt was good enough to get a few additional votes through the polarisation angle, just in case. Though finally as it emerged, it was totally unrequired and at the end didn’t make much of a difference apart from leaving a scar on his post-2014 image.
Let anyone say anything, it’s not polarisation that’s winning the BJP such massive mandates, it’s Modi. Else they would have won all five states, not two. And that’s the issue the RSS doesn’t like. So instead of playing the Modi game of putting nondescript CMs in the states it wins, so that the winning onus in future rests on Modi, RSS decided to make UP Modi- Mukt in future, and groom a similar highvoltage leader for the role of future PM with a guarantee that he would be their man, unlike Modi.
In Yogi they have an equally high-voltage man. Making him CM of the largest state of India immediately gives him national limelight. And most importantly, unlike Modi, he has the crudeness to openly say tum ek maaroge toh hum dus maarenge! So here we have their clear-cut no holds barred polarising gau mutra praising man. Votes be damned, Modi was looking and talking too westernised for their comfort. So, as the future replacement of Modi, even as the PM, the BJP needed Yogi. Same high voltage outspoken personality. But this one doesn’t give a damn to what the West thinks. He is the perfect non-caring gobar research pelting type RSS mascot! It’s a different matter he might be having great personal equations with Muslims or end up being a good CM or maybe running a genuine low-cost charitable hospital.
So, with the future PM very clearly decided, if not for 2019 then for 2024 as far as BJP-RSS is concerned, one needs to think, as a nation what options are we left with to counter them? Not that Modi is a bad PM or that Yogi will be a bad CM or bad future PM.
The issue is different. These are personalities with the power of wiping off oppositions at the national level. Imagine the 2019 campaign with Modi at his ferocious best and Yogi adding to the sting with a possible announcement that he will be the deputy PM or something as potent – after all BJP unlike Congress has total innerparty democracy and it has the mechanism t o decide who will be the future PM or deputy PM.
At the national level we will be left with no opposition and we will possibly see a UP-type wipeout. That’s the worst thing for a democracy. A strong opposition is always a must in a democracy especially when extreme right-wing leaders start getting elected democratically.
So a national leader to stand opposite them is required. Just for the good of the country. Because absolute power inevitably corrupts.
That is where as of now I see no one but Arvind Kejriwal. The only man who can raise up the tempo. Can say anything wild with full confidence even if it’s a blatant lie. But then which idiot ever said Modi is truthful all the time. Politics is a game of lies. But one has to pull it off loudly and confidently to make it a serious matter. V.P. Singh did that so effectively against Rajiv Gandhi. AK is the only leader who can generate a nationwide appeal.
Can create national-level drama. Nationally he can make news. Nitish Kumar, despite being a great post-election alliance PM candidate, isn’t the guy who can aggressively take on Modi- Yogi combine nationwide. Mamata – again a possible alliance PM candidate – despite her ambition and fiery personality just can’t speak Hindi, an important factor for national campaigning.
So this is the time for AK. He has in front of him, a space, lying totally vacant. And he has lost nothing in these elections. He has only proven that he is the only third party in this country that has the ability to go national, after BJP and Congress – given that the communists have clearly shown that they are the only party that is right now capable of going from national to regional – before disappearing.
He has won substantial votes and seats in Punjab, he handed the enormous Modi a historical defeat in Delhi, he has made inroads into Goa despite not winning a seat and he is making inroads into Gujarat. After all, he runs an autocratic set-up without any innerparty democracy, so he doesn’t have too many leaders. So whichever state he personally focuses upon he makes inroads. And India needs an opposition leader to cut this kind of ‘all-out sweeping of votes’. While 2019 might be over, 2024 needs a decent show in 2019 by the opposition with AK at the centre of highvoltage national campaigning matching the same dynamism and energy as that of Modi.
So that leaves us with the Congress. Where do they go? As a regional opposition they are alive and will remain so as long as they allow state leaders to be independent and have strong state leaders.
At the national level they are all but wiped out. Rahul just won’t be able to match up with Modi. He can’t. He can’t even match up with Modi’s energy levels. And as all their leaders agree, they see a complete decimation the moment a Gandhi name is not at the top, that’s the DNA of their party. So what do they fall back upon. In politics everything is possible.
Rajiv, Sonia and even Rahul had been reluctant politicians. They were never meant to be here. It was Sanjay Gandhi who was to be here. It’s time for Sonia and Rahul to call it truce with Maneka and Varun. And smoothly hand the reign back to where it was supposed to be. And then sit back and enjoy the revival of Congress at the national stage. Both Maneka and Varun are Gandhis, they are both firebrand and great communicators and most importantly have the energy and firepower required to get the Congress at the centre stage of national politics.
Post-Vajpayee, the BJP had kept Varun reserved as their Gandhi card in case a Gandhi ever gave them a real opposition. Now they find him useless as they have realised that to counter a Gandhi you don’t need another Gandhi anymore. They have Modis and Yogis. So, it’s time for the Congress to grab this opportunity to shake hands with – the otherwise useless to BJP – Varun Gandhi. After all he was, as a child, a favourite of Indira Gandhi too!!
To add to his Gandhi title, he is even well versed with the art of igniting right-wing nationalistic frenzy. And after all, in the current battles of personalities all over the world, being a bit right wing is always an edge – given its potential to generate a lot of votes from the segment that doesn’t understand logic. And from USA to Europe to India that’s the segment right now everyone is fighting for.