On Affaire Amit Shah: Swapan Dasgupta fails to measure up

August 2, 2010

Shri Swapan Dasgupta is doing inadequate justice to himself as an observor of political events. Writing in ‘Tehelka’, an islami-laal networks entity with a pretense of objectivity, Mr. Dasgupta pushes known left canards.

Dasgupta starts with saying BJP has suffered a major setback.

Regardless of whether or not the CBI succeeds in convicting a man who was an undeniable asset to Modi, even the most ardent supporters of the Gujarat Chief Minister cannot deny that the events of the past week have been a major setback.

Those who follow NaMo’s politcal career know him as someone who revels in adversity and believes in carrying the fight to the enemy. It is too early to judge if the events of past week are a set back. 2012 election results in Gujarat would provide an early indication whether the event was indeed a setback.

Mr. Dasgupta comes up with a construct called ‘liberal Hindu’.

Since liberal Hindus have an influence far beyond their numbers and dominate strategic institutions such as the academia and media, a resolute anti-Modi positioning secures political benefits far beyond narrow electoral politics.

The term ‘liberal Hindu’ is a concoction peddled by self-servers. Most of these self styled ‘liberal Hindus’ – Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt etc are indifferent if not antagonistic to native Hindu traditions and interests. In different ways they serve the purpose of obfuscating and enabling the agenda of their red-islami-isai backers. Right phrase to describe them could be either HINO – Hindus in Name Only or BINO – Bharatiya in Name Only. Despite their shrill deceit since 2002, HINOs have not been able to unseat NaMo in Gujarat while encomiums by some HINOs could not stop Atal Bihari Vajpayee from electoral loss and descent to political oblivion.

Mr. Dasgupta refers to NaMo’s popularity among his backers

Hugely popular among the BJP’s committed supporters, Modi is aware that there is a section which believes that only he is capable of leading a demoralised party to recovery and, possibly, power at the Centre.

While acknowledging NaMo’s stature, Swapan Dasgupta underestimates NaMo’s support among BJP backers . Modi’s support is not just in a single section. Swapan knows that majority potential BJP voters and sympathisers share the perception of NaMo’s arrival in Delhi as Prima Donna as part of solution to BJP’s woes. Surveys such as this substantiate the point.

Mr. Swapan continues his penchant to be judgmental.

MODI’S BIGGEST political failure has been his inability to unburden himself of the ‘communal’ tag he acquired after the 2002 riots. The image of Hindu Hridaysamrat is a heady one and assiduously promoted by Modi’s fans on the internet. Unfortunately, this is an image that doesn’t correspond with the priorities of today’s electorate, as the BJP found to its cost after some of its supporters chose to tomtom the shrill rabble-rousing of Varun Gandhi and the spirit of Hindu retribution in Kandhamal, Orissa.

Here Swapan Dasgupta has allowed his imagination to run riot. Being loved by native Indian Hindus is a position that provides NaMo his core backing – political and otherwise. Mr. Dasgupta spins one of NaMo’s  key assets as a liability. Mr. Dasgupta’s attempt to tie up NaMo with Kandhamal violence is sly, and deserves downright derisiveness if not contempt. And one has it in the authority of BJP’s key organizations man that infighting such as Arun Jaitley – Raj Nath Singh spat in the run up to the LS 09 elections that  brought the party down in UP.  Dasgupta indeed is sparing the gallows for the more deserving.

Mr. Dasgupta goes on

Unfortunately for Modi, the BJP of 2010 isn’t the BJP of 1996, riding the crest of an emotional Hindu upsurge. True, the mood could change abruptly and trigger a Modi wave. In its absence, Modi has to unburden himself of the 2002 baggage and appear as something different to the people of India.

Now Serious questions crop up on  Swapan’s credibility as a BJP well wisher.  Wish Swapan had been clear on what he means by ‘Modi unburdening himself of the 2002 baggage‘. HINOs want NaMo to apologise for post Godhra. Such a position he very well should know will take away Modi’s biggest strength – perception as credible defender of native interests, and his honor. Similar reinvention formula perpetrated on poor L K Advani, to re-make him a secular has led to disasterous results. This was among the factors responsible for BJP’s southward slide. Advised by ‘know alljournos, LK Advani turned ‘secular’. NDTV feted him in late 2008 in the run up to the 2009 LS elections by no less than its lifetime achievement award . Seculars in Delhi clapped. Of course nobody noticed that in the secularization process BJP’s vote base shrunk, LK Advani’s reputation was in tatters among people that mattered – BJP’s potential voters. LKAdvani ended up downsized as did his party.

The constant invocation to Hindu nationalism is yielding negative returns. The BJP knows it, as does the worldly section of the RSS. In the 1990s, the BJP grew dramatically and came to occupy the centrestage of national politics because it had a Big Idea. Hindutva may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but the idea did galvanise a tremendous amount of political energy in favour of the BJP. Today, the constant invocation to Hindu nationalism is yielding negative returns. The BJP knows it, as does the more worldly section of the RSS. Yet, there is a strange reluctance to face up to reality.

Swapan Dasgupta’s analytical faculties at their lowest here or worse he is deliberately dishonest. It is a travesty of truth to call that BJP has been invoking Hindutva, Hindu nationalism. If anything, BJP’s central leadership since 1999 has been opting to play politics as per secular rules, culminating in LK Advani being certified kosher secular.

Swapan omits that Big idea on which BJP rode to strength was Ram Janmabhumi Movement. Hindutva was not sold as the Big Idea. Even RJM, as an issue, BJP took only on a rebound after CON party opened the temple gate.  Considering CON party’s legacy of misrule, Big ideas that will mobilize BJP’s potential voters can indeed be nurtured. Big ideas need a credible medium for articulation. As a credible medium NaMo alone comes close today; hence the efforts by CON party to cut him down. By going after NaMo so early, CON party has betrayed its anxiety about NaMo. It is early days yet to predict the outcome of CON party’s action. NaMo has the potential to make CON Party pay a heavy price for its imprudence. See NaMo’s opening move.

Swapan Dasgupta and other HINOs projecting what they call Center of Right agenda have been trying to steer BJP and NaMo’s political career to early obituary. The buggers have not given in even after back to back BJP defeats, and have been prescribing more ponzy scheme type sophistry.  Arun Shourie had referred to gang of six journos leading BJP to disaster.  Though the names of the journos are open to wider interpretation, Arun captured  heart of the issue. The take-off for NaMo from Arun Shourie’s insight is – use the conceited journos if you must, but keep their noxious thoughts, shallow analyses away, ideally light years away.