Modi’s problems with ‘Congress Gotra’

By

Faraz Ahmad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a problem with the “Congress Gotra” (meaning primarily the Congress DNA).

His malicious journey against secularism, liberalism and constitutional parliamentary democracy started from Ahmedabad in 2001 when he was appointed the unelected Gujarat chief minister and progressed full steam in Delhi since 2014. When the country elected a full majority BJP government led by him, he set about the task of shaping the nation in the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) mould, having successfully tested the Sanghi model in the Gujarati laboratory. And he also dispelled all the façade of his being a NDA Government stating that he can now fully implement his agenda since BJP enjoys full majority in the Lok Sabha, meaning he can no longer be constrained by other so-called NDA partners. If they are there they are at their own sufferance.

Modi proclaimed to the Editor of the Open magazine P R Ramesh that all governments before him were fundamentally formed under the leadership of a person from “Congress Gotra”. And that is why for each of them there was no difference between their political thought process and economic thought process.” He is clearly putting the Congressmen, the socialists and the communists all in the same “Gotra.” To some extent he has a point. After all each of the leaders preceding, him for all their various ideological and political differences, had no disagreement on the pre-eminence of liberal, secular constitutional parliamentary democracy. Ironically the Editor of Open magazine, on whom Modi bestowed a rare unusual favour of giving an interview, also belonged to the same “Gotra” before his later day conversion and same holds true for another favoured thus, Swapan Dasguta, all came from the Left stream and Ramesh an ex SFI activist, was once upon a time so strident that he would mock us for sitting and drinking with our former Editor in Sunday Mail T V R Shenoy, a member of Advani’s think tank. Of course, this band of ex Leftists changed too many colours before reaching the pinnacle. First many of them hitched their cart to the then rising star in the BJP, Pramod Mahajan. Slowly this band of neo coverts moved away from Mahajan, after he was closely identified with Vajpayee because of which Advani started distancing himself from Pramod. The next mentor was Arun Jaitley and Advani. But the moment Sangh dropped Advani and rooted for Modi, it took no time for the neo converts, with the sole exception of Chandan Mitra, to switch sides and not look back. Open was the right forum for Modi to pour his heart out because Modi’s other well-known acolytes like Arnab Goswami, Navika Kumar, Rahul Shiv Shankar, Anjana Om Kashyap, Deepak Chaurasia or Sudhir Chaudhry ex-Communists lacked the finesse and subtlety not to sound blatant propagandists Thus Open provided Modi the much needed credit of speaking to the Press.

Returning to the Gotra issue, Modi however realises that before him, came his one-time mentors former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who ruled the country for six years from 1998 to 2004 and that government was led by not just Vajpayee, but had Modi’s saviour L K Advani, because of whom he survived Vajpayee’s ire post Godhra massacre of Muslims patronised and facilitated by the official machinery under his leadership. Had it not been for Advani, Modi would have been sacked immediately, because that is what Vajpayee had decided on his way to the Goa national executive meeting, disclosed none other than former Union Minister and one time BJP’s lone intellectual Arun Shourie.

Vajpayee was not just constrained by the presence of other parties in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by him, but said on the floor of Parliament how he valued India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s invaluable contribution to the progress of India, a red rag to Modi. And Advani who for all his hard line and patronage to Modi still had tremendous respect for the institution called Parliament. He stayed away from Parliament the moment his name appeared in the Hawala scam and returned only when he secured a clean chit from the court. Again, when the then Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa figured in a corruption case, he announced in the party meeting that he would not step on the stairs of Parliament till Yediyurappa resigns. And the Karnataka chief minister had to go. Third, he refused to accept a second term to Nitin Gadkari’s presidentship because of the allegation of big scam in his Purti group of companies.

Contrast this with Modi, to date, not a word on the Rafael scam can come out because a chief justice of India chose not to open the case, despite being submitted documentary evidence. Before that the court also ruled out any probe into the Birla-Sahara scam, where Modi’s name appeared in print.

His record on condoning corruption is remarkable. From Kiren Rijiju to Himanta Biswa Sarma, to Mukul Roy to Suvendu Adhikari to how many more, the list is endless of those whom the BJP not just publicly accused of corruption through press conference TV interviews and official statements but sought high level probe. But the moment they switched sides, they had become pure and innocent in BJP’s eyes and even elevated as chief minister as in the case of Sarma.

Yes, sure enough there is vast difference between all the previous governments and Modi’s. While his predecessors like the great economist Dr Manmohan Singh too were pushing for liberalisation of the economy since 1985, but not for outright sale of the country’s silver, Railways, Airlines, ports and airports, all to a handful of his very close friends with often times not even the requisite qualification to acquire or run a particular industry. That’s the difference between Modi’s Sanghi gotra and his predecessors’.

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