Let us observe closely the nature of some of the cracks in the RSS-BJP edifice that an overload of political success has ironically brought out into the open if only we care to see them.
Now, here's the rub in the game of one-upmanship between Modi who likes to be seen as being the strongman in total control of the Party as well as the Government, with RSS also well under his control because of his magnetic personality and his irreplacabilty in the position that he is in, at least for the moment, and his mentors the RSS who are already keen to groom his successor, maybe even a quiver of them to choose from as when the occasion arises or the time feels right.
In this context it is interesting to observe the secretive process of the choice of the Chief Minister of UP, the excessive amount of it took as compared to the immediate decisions about the CMs of Uttarakhand, Goa and even Manipur, and the spooky, Sphinx-like silence of the Modi-Shah duo, who were not even reported as having publically or privately congratulated the surprise candidate who finally made the grade and effectively upstaged Modi's choice for the post, MOS Railways, Manoj Sinha, who has very tenuous links with the RSS and who as an IIT qualified engineer would have been both efficient in delivering Modi's promise of Development and better Law and Order in UP and at the same time obedient to the Modi-Shah combine which is the "Party High Command" of the BJP.
While Keshav Prasad Maurya, the UP BJ P chief and its EBC of face who was one of the probables in the race for of UP CM was hospitalised in Delhi presumably out of shock when he realised he'd been bypassed, (and later got the consolation prize of the post of Deputy CM along with Dinesh Sharma, Mayor of Lucknow, a Brahmin) there was a spooky silence from the normally effusive PM and his office, usually so prompt in its tweets even when cricket matches are win by India.
As the newly elected MLAs emerged from their closed door meeting, cries of "Har Har Yogi" rent the selfsame air which during the campaign had resounded with "Har Har Modi". The instinctive reaction of people besides surprise was to say spontaneously that
a) the BJP's development mask was off revealing its hardcore Hindutva agenda and its true RSS face ,
b) Modi 's successor in 2024 if not earlier has been anointed by the RSS responding to the popular majoritarian sentiment
c) Ram Temple in Ayodhya would definitely built in Yogi Adityanath's CMship given his Matth's three generational active commitment to it
d) An inflection point had been reached in RSS's journey towards the Hindu Rashtra
When a haggard-looking Modi turned up during the swearing in ceremony in Lucknow, it was his moment of sympathetic whispered communication (perhaps commiseration?) on stage with SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, the stalwart recently upstaged by his own son and successors Akhilesh who went on to lose the election, rather than with the official star of the show, Mahanth Yogi Adityanath, the brand new CM of UP, which caught the attention of the cameras and became the defining image of the historic day. Modi, who seemed to have turned totally grey overnight, had clearly lost his usual effusiveness and aggressive energy, and appeared uncharacteristically subdued and quiet. The moment was reminiscent of the Goa Conclave of the BJP in which Modi decidedly upstaged Advani, and became the Man of Destiny as BJP's PM candidate. The wheel had turned full circle and the new Enfant Terrible of Hindutva had arrived on the National stage. The so called lunatic fringe had been mainstreamed with a vengeance. Shah, by the way , be seen standing closer to Yogi, with even a smile on his face, in the ceremonial pictures being flashed from Lucknow on that fateful Sunday the 19th of March which will be etched in India's collective consciousness as a day of destiny, when the nation's journey took a momentous turn towards the extreme Right.
When the Yogi came to Delhi on 21/3/17 and entered the Lok Sabha to give his farewell speech as a five- time MP he was greeted by slogans of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" by BJP members- an unprecedented occurrence. The House and the nation listened with rapt attention to his speech which was uncharacteristically respectful, soft sentimental and urbane, full of warmth, hope and humour - but the PM was not there to listen to it. The Yogi with his arms full of flowers and with a disarming smile on his youthful face, went to call on the PM, who seems to have greeted him with an uncharacteristically awkward reserve. The body language of the two leaders in those televised moments and in still photos of the meeting speak volumes.
This was not the Modi who had rushed to the tarmac in a bright orange shawl to effusively embrace the leader of the Free World and arguably the most powerful man on earth, his "friend Barack" on his arrival in Delhi for the Republic Day celebrations in January 2015, or shown off his monogrammed Savile Row suit over an intimate shared cup of tea on the plush lawns of Hyderabad, during the heyday of his undisguised delight at becoming PM of India. Dressed completely in ghostly white, with white locks to match, and a pale look on his face, Modi can be seen sitting well back in a corner of his office sofa, with both hands held tightly locked before him while the Yogi leans in his seat with a charming smile, holding his hands relaxedly folded, leaning eagerly towards his wary host. Perhaps Modi's basic training as a mere prachaarak puts him in awe of the Matthadheesh of a 600 year old Order of Ascetics. One can't act familiar with the Pope or the Shankaracharya, after all. But Modi's posture was also of reluctant surrender before the inevitable march of Time, of the defeat of advancing age by careless vigorous Youth. And here the anointee also had the approval of the Patrician Mentors of Nagpur, Modi's own patrons and masters.
Interestingly, the Yogi also called on Advani with a bouquet of flowers for the head of the Margdarshak Mandal and one could see, after a long time, a broad smile and a genuinely cheerful look on his face. It appeared that he for one did certainly believe that his Biter had been bit, and Karma had caught up with his ungrateful disciple in the shape of his vibrant visitor from Lucknow via Gorakhpur, who would surely take Advani's interrupted Rath Yatra to its logical conclusion. Soon after that one heard that a rare phone call of sympathy and good wishes was put in by PM Modi to the RJD Chief Lalu Yadav, who had memorably stopped Advani's inexorable Rath at one point in history, ostensibly because the Bihar leader had suffered an accidental fall from a ceremonial stage and been hospitalised for a brief spell. Ironies abound in the history of Indian politics.
As Yogi was leaving for Lucknow after these ceremonial visits, he got a call from Amit Shah, whom he had neglected to visit. His own sense of self worth as a power to reckon with in UP and as a Matthadheesh whom even RSS patricians are forced to treat as equal probably did not let it even occur to him that he should have called on the BJP party President, something no other BJP CM would have forgotten to do. The Yogi quite naturally feels entitled in his own right, and is beholden to none, not even to the RSS who had to concede UP to him as right , not as a favour, especially if they wanted the Ram Mandir to be actually constructed in Ayodhya, and save face in the next general elections, given the fact that the Yogi, his Guru, and his Guru's Guru have been extraordinarily committed to the Ram Mandir cause and have played important roles in the history of the campaign to have it built. The Yogi immediately turned his carcade back and obliged Shah with a visit, but the very fact that Shah had to prompt him to do it gives a lot away about the changed dynamics now operating in the RSS BJP universe.
It is also educative to analyse the way Corporate Media, Print and TV, reacted to this indubitably unexpected development in UP politics, which threw them so out of kilter to begin with, say between 6 to 9 pm on Saturday the 18th of March , that some of their reactions were atypically spontaneous and gave the game away The Corporate TV Media, half of which is controlled by Modi 's chief financier Mukesh Ambani, and most of the other half by BJP RS Member Subhash Chandra of Zee, also deeply obliged to the Modi Shah duo who helped manipulate his dodgy election from Haryana, also most newspapers, which are controlled by BJP votaries or opportunistic allies, has been wary in its reactions. Starting off with shock, and incredulous "this cannot really be happening " expressions of denial, and moving quickly into "this is just not done" mode, a few comparatively liberal anchors, who thought their masters would react adversely to this coup staged by the RSS power centre against the Modi-Shah duo, could soon be seen changing their tune, presumably after orders from owners, and the chorus then turned into "this is a master stroke of the RSS BJP for keeping up the intensity of the UP election campaign to win the 2019 election on the provenly successful Hindutva card".
This volte face occurred because , whatever be the inside story, in public perception, nationally and internationally, the one thing that the Modi- Shah duo could under no circumstances be seen as doing, was losing control. Till 5 pm on the evening of 18/3/17 evening Modi and Shah were to be seen running a tight ship, with everything firmly under control, deftly balancing the Sangh 's Hindutva agenda with the Party's Development and Anticorruption spiel, with Modi as the Vikas Purush as well as the Lauh Purush of modern India, a sort of Vajpayee and Advani mix, or Nehru and Patel rolled into one, with dashes of Deendayal Upadhyay, Ram Manohar Lohia, and even Savarkar and Golwalkar thrown in. After all what was Modi basically. but an RSS Prachaarak risen from the ranks, blessed with a gift for demagoguery, and more ready than most to break a few eggs to make an omelette figuratively speaking; he just happened to have cultivated corporate friends with benefits, very specifically the Ambanis and the Adanis of Gujarati origin, for himself, for the party and who knows, when needed, for the Sangh too! And he had found a dependable conduit in his Man Friday, Amit Shah, also an RSS man, for this purpose- not that Shah did not have other useful talents as well, which was a bonus. Fifteen years of practice in Gujarat made the duo more than ready for the national stage in Delhi, with the Sangh's wholehearted approval.
By 6.30pm on 18/3/17, the whole world knew that the situation had changed, definitively and irrevocably.
The Spirit of India had found its own way to reassert itself and start the beginning of an end that carries within itself the seeds of a new beginning
Long live the innate power of the untameably unpredictable, dynamic, and various universe of Hinduism, and the madness with a method, that chaos with a life and a logic of its own own that is the eternal and infinite embodiment of the Idea of India, and the irrefutable, undefeatable, ever-changing, ever- evolving system, self-correcting, self-balancing, unkillable, self renewing, unique form of socio- political organisation and cultural richness that is the spirit and essence of Indian democracy - that people's power which
"moves in a mysterious way its wonders to perform"!
( End of Part III )