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Naidu, Jagan eager to see Modi turn ‘secular’

Naidu, Jagan eager to see  Modi turn ‘secular’
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Naidu, Jagan Eager To See Modi Turn ‘Secular’. TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and YSRCP president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy appear to be...

If some allies fell out with the NDA post-2004 loss of power, at least one major reason, significantly enough, was Modi himself with his ‘record’ in Gujarat.

Ashok Tankasala
TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and YSRCP president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy appear to be too eager to see the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as a “secular” leader.

It is not difficult to understand their eagerness. Being in the kind of positions they are presently, and in view of the fast approaching general elections, they badly need the company of a party that can give them some ‘confidence’. For that purpose the BJP, led by the Modi, is the only available option at the moment, both Naidu and Jagan appear to believe.

All the same, they cannot afford to be seen by the electorate, particularly minorities and the Left and democratic-minded sections, to be joining hands with a “communal” force.

Thus they need to create a veneer around Modi that could make him look “harmless” or least harmful. Actually they wish Modi himself volunteered to raise such a veneer around himself to be acceptable to potential new friends like themselves, from outside the present NDA circle.

Of course, looking at the game from the other end of the chessboard, the strong man from Gujarat also needs that to happen to make up for the loss of some previous allies and weakening of his party, particularly in Karnataka.

He is shrewd enough to grasp the reality that any open espousal of ‘Hindutva’ will not serve his purpose. No one can expect him to forget the unpleasant experiences of 1996 and pleasant ones of 1998 and 1999 for the NDA.

It was only after a veneer was created by the Vajpayee-Advani combine, with the consent of the Parivar, that matters helped in 1998 and 1999.

If not, even a single individual member, let alone a party, was prepared to support BJP government of Vajpayee in 1996 due to which the Vajpayee government had to go just after 13 days; several came forward after the issues of Ram Mandir, Common Civil Code and Article 370 pertaining to J&K were kept aside by 1998. If some allies fell out with the NDA post-2004 loss of power, at least one major reason, significantly enough, was Modi himself with his ‘record’ in Gujarat.

So, the ‘veneer creation’ is a two-way necessity. Both Naidu and Reddy, on the one hand, and Modi on the other, need it.

And what the ‘veneer’ could possibly be? What else but the time-tested plank of ‘Development and good administration’? If that helped in 1998 and 1999 polls in the then prevailing anti-Congress mood, it should very much do so in the present similar conditions, they may be calculating.

Thus, despite the ‘reputation’ that Modi acquired in the meantime, which actually Naidu claimed to have driven him away from the NDA and Jagan, the fresh entrant into the arena wish to see NaMo talk of ‘development and good administration’ and nothing else.

For them, if that much room is provided he could be shown as someone focusing on development and good administration which the country needs so badly; which priorities would imply that ‘communalism’ is not on his agenda, which in turn would mean that he is ‘secular’ enough making it perfectly all right for them to ally with him, ‘for the sake of saving the country from the bad rule of the Congress’. Things have come a full circle.

Nice deduction, indeed. If their followers can be convinced of it, half the job is done. It will not naturally be difficult to convince them simply because they are as starved as their leaders for power and any workable excuse will suffice for them. If that is step one in creating the veneer, the next step will be to hammer that point day in and day out to make the electorate ‘see reason’.

Actually Modi, who began to have his own ‘national dreams’ not just recently but several years ago, has been weaving the fabric of ‘secular veneer’ basing on the plank of ‘development and good governance’. There is no disputing the fact that he has proven himself to be a competent achiever on development front and a good administrator, whatever Digvijay Singh and Raghuram Rajan may argue.

He has also been trying constantly to ‘forget and gloss over’ his negative communal record, even without abandoning the basic agenda of the Parivar altogether, with the help of this development and all that. That way he has also been trying to reassure the minorities of his ‘intentions’.

Ever since the buzz about the ‘man from Gandhinagar’ shifting to New Delhi began, the image that is sought to be assiduously built up is that he is the ‘He Man of Development and Good Governance’ that the country needs in these difficult times. Forget other issues. This becomes a welcome ‘secular’ setting to make potential allies ‘comfortable’.

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