Yashwant Sinha is a worried man these days. He is apprehensive of his leader Narendra Modi being taken for a ride by the Congress party. He says that the Congress party is laying a trap for him, a trap of the binary of Communalism and Secularism and fears that his upward looking Narendra Modi might fall in it. So, well wisher that he is of Narendra Bhai, he wants to alert him: do not get entangled in the conspiracy of the wily Congress. He appeals to Narendra Modi to stick to people’s issues and not let the political discourse shift to the terrain of the Secularism versus Communalism debate.
And then Yashwant Sinha rushes to clarify- ‘ No, no, he was speaking to Congress and not to Narendra Modi’. After all, how can HE, the SAB-JANTA-WALA be advised by an ordinary party member like him? Sinhaji only wants the nefarious design of the Congress to be foiled. Read what he writes, “The Modi-baiters have a clear game plan. The more he speaks, the more controversy they will create. The pre- election political discourse will, thus, be distorted and attention will shift from the mis-governance and corruption of this government to what happened more than 11 years ago in Gujarat. We must bring the discourse back from the past to the present.”
Yashwant Sinha had served the country under the NDA regime as finance minister. He is, therefore qualified to speak about economic issues, “We should bring the debate back to current issues which are basically economic issues. The issue of poverty, the issue of bread and the issue of unemployment. These are the issues which are hurting people. It is not communalism or secularism. These are the issues. So we should bring the debate back to these issues.”
You could almost see the worry on his face. And worry is actually not about the discourse being marred by the spurious Communalism-Secularism debate, it is in actuality, a fear of the BJP being devoured by Narendra Modi and consequently leaving mortals like Yashwant Sinha lost in oblivion. After all, the speeches of no BJP leader other than Narendra Modi have been televised live, especially while addressing college students. How is it that the entire speech of Narendra Modi when he visited the Sri Ram college of Commerce of the University of Delhi was telecast live and also recently his speech at the Fergusson College , Pune? How is it that all national TV channels think their viewers across India would be interested universally in what Modi has to say in a ‘local’ setting? It seems, Modi has transformed himself into a national figure of far wider reach than any of the other leaders of the BJP, who have been in Delhi for decades together, being constant fixtures on channels, who used to think that they were the articulators of the ideology of the party.
All that is past now. Yashawnt Sinha, therefore , is not talking about marginalization of ‘real’ issues , issues of bread , unemployment and governance. He is talking about the marginalization of people like him within the party. Since the time Modi was anointed as the chief of the election panel of the BJP, all they have been left doing is defending his statements, supporting his upgradation in the party even at the cost of the tallest among them. Modi has become the centre and they have been pushed to the periphery. It is this fear which is expressed through the words of Sinha.
Sinha does not want Modi to be made an issue, a talking point. But now all this is beyond him. Modi is very carefully crafting his campaign in which it is only he who would be visible. You would always see him at the centre flanked by the sulking, sullen older faces of the party. Modi smiles, Modi frowns, Modi turns his head towards Advani, Modi ignores advani, etc.,etc.. He has become the reference point. A time may come when all of them would be asked to address rallies or even press conferences wearing Modi-masks. First, their voices would be snatched from them and then he would demand their faces. Modispeak and Modiface , this is what would remain of a party, which boasted of being a party opposed to the personality cult. This is what is gnawing at the heart of Yashwant Sinha.
This is a complete Stalinisation of the BJP. While giving Stalin the centre-stage Lenin had probably not anticipated that he would gobble up the entire politburo of the party. Soon after taking charge , he restricted Lenin’s access to the party and got his all his colleagues , who had their own ambitions, in the politburo eliminated one by one. The ones who survived could do so only by licking his boots. We know that Stalin was part of a very different history. Analogies cannot be dragged beyond a point. However, similarities are too striking to be ignored. This is what is happening to the BJP now. It is the decimation of the party to make room for a person, which is Sinha’s nightmare .
Sinha wants Modi to speak less. He would be fortunate if he escapes the wrath of the Bhai after making this unwarranted, unsolicited advice. We saw the express departure of Amir Raza Husain, who was brought into the party and made its Delhi state Vice- President only recently, after he made a statement criticizing Modi and lauding Advani. His mentor Vijay Goel, an old hand in the party had to rush to press to express his loyalty to Modi after dismissing his prized find from the party.
It has been said that the emergence of Modi in India has only one notable precedence in history and that is the rise of Hitler in Germany. Overall that may surely be true, but if we look at this phenomenon from the point of view of the political organisation, one can only go back to Stalin and what he did to the Soviet Communist party.
( First published by Rediff.com on 26 July,2013)