By Nihal Parashar:
The campaign committee chief of BJP and Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Bhai Modi, has taken charge of campaigning for the general elections scheduled in 2014. If news channels are to be believed then Narendra Bhai will set up 3 committees to take care of the entire election campaign. The 3 committees will take care of Manifesto, PR and campaigning in general. It is expected that Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Murlidhar Rao will play key roles in these committees with NaMo’s favourite Amit Shah making way in some or the other committees.
It is worth interrogating what will be the priority of Modi’s committee- development or Hindutva. Recent developments suggest that Modi will not focus on only one aspect but will try to bring in focus both- Hindutva and Development- as a token to attract as many voters as possible. Naqvi is BJP’s Muslim face which it uses as a debate point to show that it is truly a secular party and not ‘pseudo-secular’ like others. The step is also to suggest that he is not going the Hitler way and is trying to make a consensus within party using democratic tools. But recent comment by Shivraj Singh Chauhan comes as a criticism for Modi. Shivraj Singh Chauhan, in an interaction with the media, said that his government not only saved people of Madhya Pradesh but also 1800 people of other states in Uttrakahnd rescue operations. Modi has earlier claimed to save lives of thousands of Gujaratis. This statement from within party again suggests that Modi is essentially not the popular choice of BJP but a choice of a certain faction of the party. Shivraj Singh Chauhan has been hailed by media and other political stalwarts and has often been discussed while discussing Modi’s model of development. Advani once compared Shivraj with Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In this scenario each and every step of Modi must be critically analysed and debated. The step of including more people from within the party in his team is to create a consensus about himself. As a political step it is necessary for Modi to include as many people from within the party to work with him so that not only the cadre but extended leadership also accepts him.
But more importantly, will this inclusive policy let Modi play the Hindutva card as well for which a particular faction of BJP has taken all the risk? Everything is still in the nascent stage and it will take some time for Modi to open his cards for us to understand his politics even though we all claim to understand his politics!