Sunday 13 March 2022

Double Engine power succeeds (The Sunday Guardian)

 It has been a long time since this writer went to a cocktail party, even during the days before he discovered the health benefits of an occasional glass of red wine. Even more delicious than the food, which was usually of Michelin standard, was the gossip. There would always be some guest who talked seemingly endlessly about various subjects. Much of the discussion was about politics or politicians. The action or inaction of leading political players was sketched out in enormous detail, so much so that those telling such stories must have been intimate friends of the politicians they were mentioning, although even nosy newspaper journalists covering the activities of such politicians seemed unaware of such close contact between the cocktail party guest and the politician she or he was rambling on about. Unlike some others in the journalistic profession, such revelations were never taken seriously by the writer. Almost since the time Yogi Adityanath was chosen by Prime Minister Modi to become the Chief Minister of UP, gossip has flowed as endlessly as the whisky served in such parties. The central focus, indeed fixation, of such gossip was that the new UP CM was actually regarded with disfavour by PM Modi, who, in the view of the regulars in cocktail parties, wanted to remove and thereby replace Yogi Adityanath with another CM. Meetings between the writer and Modi have been, to put it mildly, infrequent, especially after he took charge as Prime Minister in 2014. This writer has studied the trajectory of Narendra Modi since he was a national office-bearer of the BJP. This has made it impossible to believe that PM Modi would appoint an individual as CM of any state, much less UP, unless he had complete trust in him and was prepared to give complete backing to the choice. As Chief Minister, Adityanath has shown himself to be an able administrator, rejecting for example the call of language zealots to ban English from curricula. Instead, the new CM understood the importance of knowledge of the international link language to the youth of the state, and this has been reflected in changes in school curricula. Nor has Adityanath, despite being a yogi, followed the vote-killing example of Saint Nitish of Patna and sought to enforce Prohibition. Nowhere in the country where this 1920-1933 fad in the US of Prohibition has been followed is there any absence of alcohol. Instead, regular alcohol has become more expensive, driving millions of citizens to buy bootleg stuff that often kills them or permanently damages their health. Saint Nitish has made himself responsible for every such death in Bihar, and whether voters would approve or disapprove of this remains to be seen. CM Nitish Kumar is wont to give ambiguous statements about BJP leaders, sometimes straying into alliance with specifically not just anti-BJP political formations but those viscerally anti-Modi, unlike CM Adityanath, who has always been forthright about his regard for PM Modi. Yet in gossip parlours, it is Adityanath and not Nitish who is held up as being a secret adversary of the PM, a “secret” that habitues of cocktail parties have miraculously discovered. There is no doubt that Modi would have removed Adityanath had he doubted his loyalty to the BJP and his competence, just as the CMs of Gujarat and Uttarakhand were removed in 2021, just as three state heads of the BJP were by PM Modi that very year. Had CM Adityanath been on uncooperative terms with PM Modi, he would not have been able to accomplish the good work that has ensured a second term for him on 10 March. During his third term, this writer believes that PM Modi will decide on a change of position, just as CM Modi did in 2014 after leading the BJP to victory in the Lok Sabha polls. However, it is much too early to zero in on potential replacements, except to point out that any such replacement would be an individual whom Modi trusts with responsibility for the most consequential job in India. The CM of UP is the third most consequential job in the BJP, after the Union Home Minister and the National President of the BJP, and that this position continues to be held by Yogi Adityanath indicates the complete trust and understanding between not just the two but the four top voices in the BJP. The new CMs of Uttarakhand and Goa have shown by their victory in the Assembly polls that PM Modi was correct in replacing the earlier incumbents. From almost the beginning of his first term as CM Delhi, this writer has regarded Arvind Kejriwal as the most likely contender for the choice of PM for the 2029 polls. During the election period, he pointed out that the BJP was likely to do well in states where there was a known CM face, and this is what took place just days ago. Had Kejriwal not nominated Bhagwant Mann as his choice for CM Punjab, the AAP may not have got the sweeping mandate it did. Elections have become Presidential in India. The SP followed such a rule in the case of Akhilesh Yadav, while the Congress failed to do the same in the case of Priyanka Vadra. If the contrary decision had been taken, the tally of the SP would have been lower, and that of the Congress in UP higher. 


Double Engine power succeeds 

No comments:

Post a Comment