ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The 'Discreet Charm' of the BJP

With the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh parivar's poster boy in power at the centre, India seems to be heading for a political order in which the social psyche will be marked by the following three traits: (i) thick-skinned insensitivity to problems that are outside one's own domain of immediate, or group interests; (ii) herd mentality of sticking together to defend those interests through a variety of mental shortcuts; and (iii) smooth-skinned hypocrisy to demonstrate one's respectability.

Finally, the Sangh parivar’s poster boy has made it. In the electoral market of a multilayered public demand, and a multi-cornered contest, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could sell Narendra Modi as the sole winnable candidate by launching an advertising campaign which projected him as a consumer item that appealed to the various layers. He charmed his way from his traditional Hindu conservative base in the cow-belt to the new urban generation of careerist youth, from the aspirant middle classes to the profit-seeking corporate sector, which were all mesmerised by the buzzwords “Gujarat model”, “development”, “governance”. Will Modi’s shelf life last beyond the next five-year period, during which he will have to cope with the demands made by these various competitive layers of the BJP’s vote bank, for their respective pound of flesh? Will his opponents succeed in mounting an effective resistance – both on the floors of the house and in the streets – to dislodge the BJP government in the next Lok Sabha elections?

It is also necessary to remind the Modi-maniacs that their leader has gained the support of only about 32% of the total electorate – and that also concentrated in certain areas of central and western India. The rest of the 68% who did not vote for Modi were divided along different political loyalties, and could not be brought together under a unified opposition canopy that could have swept away the “Modi wave”. But while blaming the first-past-the-post system as an imperfect mechanism for failing to represent and do justice to the actual constellation of opinions at the ground level, let us not underestimate the tenacity of the Sangh parivar’s political outfit, the BJP, and its foot soldiers in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), in making use of this same system to reach its goal. It had unitedly (unlike its political opponents) followed a game plan of steadily making its way into Parliament, with the ultimate objective of capturing power.

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