Seven years ago, National Interest said that Narendra Modi would define the BJP’s future, emerge as its unrivalled leader. One year into UPA 2, it heard the silence of a prime minister. The best of Shekhar Gupta’s weekly column — over 19 years — is being released on Monday, April 28. A selection of the pieces from the book (HarperCollins Publishers India and Express Book Series) that foreshadowed the big changes
IF MODI WINS ON SUNDAY
Stage set for ultimate Sonia versus Modi battle. If he loses, the RSS he defied will get back. Either way, wait for the rise of a new politics.
December 22, 2007
If Modi wins on Sunday, the stage will be set for an ultimate Modi versus Sonia battle, even if Advani continues to be the BJP’s shadow prime minister. Modi will then be the key campaigner. His kind of politics, his style of mobilisation, his cryptographic saffronism and even his short-sleeved kurtas will then define the BJP campaigns in subsequent general elections. In the long run, too, he will emerge as Rahul Gandhi’s main challenger. He will unite against himself the parties that need the Muslim votes, thereby strengthening any Congress-led coalition. He will put under great strain the members of any BJP-led coalition, particularly those that still value Muslim votes. Nitish Kumar is a key example. Even his worst critics won’t deny that if he wins on Sunday, he will pretty much define the agenda for national politics in the future...
Modi’s rise will completely change the form, style, substance and essence of the BJP’s politics. In the 1990s at Ayodhya, Advani had given his party a certain direction. Modi’s rise will now mean that the use-by date on that politics is over. Most interestingly, he will change the second factor too. He may be an icon of aggressive Hindutva, but Modi has emerged as the first BJP leader ever to defy the RSS. He has not deferred to them. He has, in fact, defied them. He has even denied RSS boys and sympathisers the power of making money on the side, something they consider their entitlement in BJP states. The RSS and VHP are now returning the compliment by boycotting his campaign. If Modi wins, he will also be the first BJP leader ever to win in defiance of, and despite, the VHP and RSS. So come Sunday, you will see the rise of a new