Within 10 days, that is October 21 and 31 Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to appropriate two personalities, who, during their life, were bitter critics of the ideology he champions.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was a revolutionary, who was totally opposed to the ideology of Rashtriya Sewamsevak Sangh while Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel as the deputy Prime Minister of the country had banned this organization after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi at the hands of Nathuram Godse.
Yet on October 21 this year the Prime Minister went on to hoist the Indian flag on Red Fort––the structure built during the rule of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan––to mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of Azad Hind government by Bose.
On October 31 he is scheduled to unveil the 182 metre tall statue of Sardar, also known as Iron Man of India.
Christened as Statue of Unity, this is the world’s tallest statue. As Oct 31, 2018 marks the 143––not 100 or 150 years––of Sardar’s birth it remained a mystery what was so special about this function this time.
There was no dearth of people within the BJP, who initially thought that Advani and Joshi may be made the candidates for the post of President and Vice President. But this never happened. Both of them are licking their wounds as Modi has no time to recall their contributions
The structure, not far away from Narmada Dam in Narmada district of Gujarat, has come up by displacing or affecting about 75,000 tribals of 72 villages. Many of them are protesting as they have not got due compensation.
Perhaps ‘realising’ that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s stature is so tall that it needs no such statue, Modi (who often calls him Mohanlal Karamchand Gandhi) thought that it would be better to raise a huge structure of Patel.
But the real reason is political. He wants to keep the Patidar community, who use the surname Patel, in good humour. In the last few years, Patels of Gujarat have been showing signs of restlessness. Many of its leaders went to join rival political camps.
Similarly, unfurling the national flag on the occasion of the establishment of Azad Hind government has apparently been done with the view to wooing the Bengali votes.
If this is the logic, as some apologists of the BJP in the media would argue, than Modi should first have remembered the forgotten and neglected personalities within his own Parivar, that is Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi etc. In between the above two dates falls October 23, the date very important for the man, who almost single-handedly revived the fate of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
On this date in 1990, he was arrested in Samastipur district of Bihar at the order of the then chief minister Lalu Prasad when he was leading Rath Yatra from Somnath (September 25, 1990) to Ayodhya.
There is absolutely no denying the fact that if Modi is at this position it is just because of the enormous efforts made by Advani, who later in his career also earned the sobriquet of Loh Purush––whether he was or not is a different question.
But Modi has never remembered this date. As the Prime Minister of India he is yet to make a trip to Ayodhya, the cause so dear to Advani.
This is so notwithstanding the fact that he had visited all the nooks and corners of Uttar Pradesh––as well as the country.
Earlier this year he made a pilgrimage of a sort to Maghar in Sant Kabir Nagar district to mark the 500th death anniversary of Kabir.
Immediately after coming to power all the senior leaders involved in Ayodhya movement were sidelined and Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were dispatched to Marg Darshak Mandal. Their contributions to the revival of the saffron party in late 1980s and early 1990s are never highlighted. Perhaps the objective of the present leadership is that Modi has come to power on his own and has nothing to do with the Ayodhya movement.
So instead of paying due credit to their own leaders the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah team is busy cooking up the alleged neglect of some Congress stalwarts of the distant past.
Ironically, 28 years down the memory lane many people in the country remember Advani whenever they come across the name of Raj Kumar Singh, the present minister of state for power (independent charge) in the Modi cabinet. He was the district magistrate of Samastipur who arrested Advani on the order of Lalu.
He rose to the rank of senior secretary in the Bihar government and later moved to the Centre where he ended up becoming the home secretary of India. Mark it, the term Saffron Terrorism gained currency when he was the Union home secretary though this term existed before.
Yet immediately after his retirement he was inducted into the BJP in late 2013. He was given the party ticket from Ara in Bihar and by May 2014 he was the MP of the party, whose former supremo he had arrested.
Three years later, that is on September 3, 2017 he was inducted into the cabinet though in this intervening period as MP he had been critical of his own government on a number of occasions.
There was no dearth of people within the BJP, who initially thought that Advani and Joshi may be made the candidates for the post of President and Vice President. But this never happened. Both of them are licking their wounds as Modi has no time to recall their contributions.