On 12 November Ram Jethmalani in his blog, published on jantakareporter.com, had concluded that ‘Never has one man thrown away so much in such a short time.’
Jethmalani, who once supported Modi and was even elected to Rajya Sabha on a BJP ticket, had launched a scathing attack against Narendra Modi for his failures to deliver many of his poll promises particularly bringing back black money to India.
He wrote, “Do not convert all your well wishers into ill wishers. You have a few weeks to mend your ways, and if you want to regain the people’s trust and confidence, you must make the right statements to them, make yourself more accessible to them, hear their problems and listen to their Mann Ki Baat. Or else, you will become just another foot note in our history, who betrayed the trust of the people of India.”
A month later, his warning on ‘converting all your well wishers into ill wishers’ is fast turning out to be true.
While Modi is busy travelling around the globe, his party is rapidly slipping into a quagmire. Protest against Modi is no longer a development in isolation. When Ram Jethmalani accused Modi of betraying the trust of Indians on black money, the party brushed aside his allegations calling him a maverick, whose criticism didn’t matter.
When Shatrughan Sinha, raised objections to the saffron party’s decision to sideline a three-term MP and a ‘successful Shipping minister’ in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet to accommodate Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani, both of whom had never won any elections, he was termed a non-entity.
When a newly inducted bureaucrat turned politician and BJP MP, RK Singh made sensational allegation that the party had accepted bribe in exchange of distributing tickets, no one in the hierarchy read the writing on the wall.
And more recently, when Kirti Azad raised his voice against rampant corruptions in the Delhi District Cricket Association, he was summarily suspended from the party. This despite the fact that Azad, a member of World Cup winning Indian team of 1983, has been fighting against corruption in the DDCA for more than eight years now.
The BJP under Modi and Amit Shah have never believed in entertaining any discordant voices within the party. Known as ‘the Gujarat model’, the approach of silencing the critics and running the party with an iron fist gave Modi three back to back election successes in Gujarat during his time as chief minister.
The approach to replicate this model began with the overwhelming success in the Lok Sabha elections, when Modi surprisingly won a decisive mandate.
Far from benefiting from the experiences of veteran leaders such as LK Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi, Modi-Shah duo confined them into a newly created body called Margdarshak Mandal.
With chips down and Modi’s claims on fighting corruption utterly exposed, both Modi’s leadership and the government’s future are facing the biggest test yet.
As I write, Advani-Joshi have held a meeting with other disgruntled leaders such as Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha, in a sign that Modi’s detractors within the BJP have begun sharpening their knives.
Just imagine! 18 months ago, no one would would have thought Modi could do anything wrong. Lok Sabha success was followed by a series of impressive electoral gains in assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. And even his political rivals began to worry about the prospect of seeing at least two terms of him at the centre.
However, the utter arrogance coupled with constant foolhardiness shown by the people at the top have severely diminished the chances of Modi’s reign being a long-term phemonenon.
Frustrated by poll debacles in Delhi and Bihar, it seems Modi brigade is now keen to revive the Ram Mandir issue.
Who would have thought that we will have Subramanian Swamy helping Azad against Arun Jaitley-a close Modi aide– and Jethmalani coming to Kejriwal’s rescue against the finance minister.
Bihar elections had brought Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav, Congress party and Mamata Banerjee together on one platform against Modi. A model, which will come to spoil the party for the BJP even in the future as far as the electoral politics is concerned.
As if that was not enough, now the consolidation of so-called Vibheeshans (as Modi supporters usually refer to his detractors within the party) is all set to cause more headache for the prime minister, who’s fast realising that ruling India was never going to be as easy as ruling Gujarat.
Only if he has the time for introspection amidst his incredibly busy schedule of global trotting.