Nitin Gadkari is not the only one suggesting that the BJP president Amit Shah should take responsibility for electoral reverses. Even BJP allies seem to have started taking liberties with Shah, who once handled them imperiously. Not any longer.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first to assert that that he was an equal partner with the BJP in his state. Although JD(U) had won only two Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in 2014, Nitish Kumar wrested from Shah the right to contest on 17 seats, forcing the BJP, which had won 22 seats in 2014 to give up five seats it had won and agree to contest on just 17 of the 40 seats in Bihar.
The Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan was the next to flex his vocal cords and alarmed Shah enough to allow LJP to contest six seats, the same number it had won last time. In addition, he extracted the promise that BJP would ensure for him a Rajya Sabha seat. Clearly Paswan was not too confident of retaining his Hajipur Lok Sabha seat. Shah of course had no choice but to give in.
BJP’s oldest ally the Shiv Sena is also up in arms. Uddhav Thackeray no longer hesitates repeating the Congress President in saying that the Chowkidar (gatekeeper) is indeed a Chor (thief) in a direct reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Even a relatively junior and smaller ally like the Apna Dal of Uttar Pradesh is now throwing tantrums. Its President and a minister in the Modi cabinet Anupriya Patel and her husband have been blaming the BJP for not paying attention to allies. She is in no mood to bend on her share of seats (Apna Dal has two seats in the Lok Sabha besides nine seats in the UP Assembly) once seat-sharing talks begin in the NDA for 2019 elections. She has also been skipping Yogi Adityanath’s programmes.
So, the man who wished to rule India with iron hand till at least 2022 is in trouble from both within and without. The political ground reality appear to have made Modi and his team desperate enough to start exploring possibilities of going back to hate mongering in the garb of temple politics and threat to the prime minister’s life
These are clear signs that achchey din for Modi-Shah duo are over. The BJP’s defeat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have sent signals that the Modi magic is gone and BJP no longer invincible.
Even within the BJP there are rebellious voices from senior leaders. Transport Minister and one-time RSS hot favourite Nitin Gadkari is, of course, clear in his message that he is available for the top job of the country in case his party looks for an alternative to Modi in 2019.
Even Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh have signalled that they are not happy with their marginalisation within the Modi dispensation. Sushma has declared that she would not be contesting the Lok Sabha elections. But she has made it clear that she is not quitting active politics either. It politically means that she would be around to avenge her humiliation if Modi gets weakened. Rajnath has already declared that BJP’s number of seats in UP would be fewer in the next round of parliamentary elections. The union home minister’s restlessness with Modi is of course well known.
There is already a spring in the opposition steps since it won Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections. The resurgent Congress under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is not just back in the game but is a serious contender for power in the next round of government formation at the centre. Rahul Gandhi is certainly the new challenger. A major chunk of anti-BJP opposition parties are rallying around him now.
Attempts to float another front of regional parties by BJP dummies in opposition ranks is unlikely to succeed because the country mood now is to get rid of Modi. The Congress and an opposition front around the Congress would the obvious alternative in such a political scenario.
So, the man who wished to rule India with iron hand till at least 2022 is in trouble from both within and without. The political ground reality appear to have made Modi and his team desperate enough to start exploring possibilities of going back to hate mongering in the garb of temple politics and threat to the prime minister’s life.
But judging by random street chatter, people seem to have seen through such strategies and are no longer as impressed as they were earlier with dramatic headlines around the Ram Temple or threats to the Prime Minister’s life every time BJP finds itself in trouble.
It seems the beginning of bad days or burey din for the man who conned the country with the slogan of achchey din in 2014.