Modi on the mat: RSS mouthpiece predicts a ‘Hung House’

With growing disillusionment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alarm bells are ringing in the BJP. The RSS mouthpiece has predicted a ‘Hung House’ after 2019 Lok Sabha elections


Faraz Ahmad

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s mouthpiece Organiser in its latest issue has predicted a “Hung House” in the 17th Lok Sabha and pronounced the inevitability of governance paralysis in the next six months.

It said, “A governance paralysis for the next six months will be inevitable. Most disconcerting would be the likelihood of a “hung Lok Sabha that would imply political instability which would be adverse from the national security point of view.”

Who could have imagined the media speculating that days of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister are numbered, that the countdown has started and even if the BJP manages to cobble a majority in next year’s general election, Narendra Modi may not remain the Prime Minister?

But the defeat of the BJP in the three crucial state elections to the Congress in direct contests has sent alarm bells ringing. All political pundits were earlier agreed that Prime Minister Modi and BJP could not expect to repeat the performance in 2014. BJP, they held, could lose a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 100 seats in the Lok Sabha and that it would have to make up the loss from new BJP turfs like the North-East, Odisha and West Bengal.

What has taken even the pundits by surprise, however, are rising voices within the BJP and the RSS in favour of projecting a new prime ministerial candidate. Not surprisingly, letters have been written to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat that both Modi and Amit Shah had become liabilities and that the Nagpur MP and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari be projected as an alternative. His proximity to RSS leaders and headquarters at Reshambagh at Nagpur is of course an advantage.

Gadkari himself has been striking independent notes. At a time when the Government was gloating over what it believed to be the impending extradition of Vijay Mallya from London, Gadkari spoke up and said that it was inappropriate to describe a one-time loan defaulter as a scamster and fugitive. He also left nothing to imagination when he asserted that some people in the BJP loved to speak and that such people need to learn to speak less. While he pointedly said he was joking, nobody was left with any illusion about the leaders he was referring to.

On Tuesday, December 18, BJP MPs also gave vent to their growing panic and frustration when at the weekly meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party, they spoke up and demanded that the Government ensure the commencement of construction of the Ram Temple on the exact site of the demolished Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. While neither the Prime Minister nor the BJP President Amit Shah were present at the meeting, Shah seemed to endorse the demand while speaking at an event.

BJP MP Ravindra Kushwaha asked at the meeting what the Government was doing on the Ram Mandir front and was followed by Ghosi MP Hari Narayan Rajbhar and others in demanding that the Government must introduce a Bill to facilitate immediate construction of Ram temple.

In the absence of the PM and Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh presided over the meeting and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was conducting it. The PM and Amit Shah’s absence may have emboldened the MPs to speak up because at parliamentary party meetings earlier few MPs dared to speak out of turn or put inconvenient questions. One recalls the time in November, 2016 when Gadkari had risen to put a question to the Prime Minister and was quickly persuaded to sit down before he could complete the sentence.

While the uneasiness among BJP MPs is becoming clear, even the RSS has been giving signals to indicate that the Ram Temple could well be the last trump card it was left with. On the Vijaya Dashami day in October, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat clearly stated that only the construction of the Ram Temple could restore Hindu pride and could help retain BJP’s voter base.

In a huge embarrassment to the BJP, a statement issued by a staunch RSS and Modi Bhakt Kishor Tiwari, who in 2014 was in the forefront in organising “Chai pe charcha”, a Sangh floated campaign strategy to spread Modi’s message through Nukkad Sabhas, in which he called upon the RSS to name Nitin Gadkari as the PM candidate for 2019 election.

Tiwari is not just another BJP worker. He heads the Maharashtra government’s agricultural task force, the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swamlambam Mission and calls himself the son of a Sangh pracharak and BJP leader.

Describing Modi-Amit Shah leadership’s conduct as “extremely unipolar and dictatorial” he stated that “the RSS chief should now hand over the party reins to Gadkari to create an atmosphere free of fear and one of trust among common people.”

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Published: 20 Dec 2018, 6:21 PM