While an aggressive band of Narendra Modi loyalists are raising the decibel level in Goa, efforts are on to devise ways to get Advani's consent to give respectability to NaMo’s coronation
Ajay Singh | June 8, 2013
"You are either with us or against us.” Thus spake George W Bush, and the BJP's Goa national executive seems to have become a testing ground for this doctrine pushed by the former US president.
As 300-odd members of the executive gather for the first day of the convention in a five-star hotel in state capital Panjim, overlooking a serene Arabian Sea, the dominant mood is to send out an unambiguous political message: Modi is the BJP's undisputed leader for 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Though the absence of LK Advani from the executive, ostensibly for health reasons, caused a momentary setback, an aggressive band of Modi loyalists seems determined not to let any impediment come in way of the Gujarat chief minister’s coronation. Yes, there are murmurs of dissent in sections of members that such a process must not be hurried through in the patriarch’s absence. But such voices are stifled with a ruthless efficacy by emotional cry for Modi.
But there is still a catch. In the absence of Advani and a host of other leaders, the declaration of Modi as numero uno in BJP would go against the grain of the Sangh Parivar's professed philosophy of collective leadership. In this context, Modi's ascendancy must not be seen as the defeat of leaders like Advani.
In order to give respectability to Modi's coronation, efforts are on to devise methods by which Advani's consent to the entire process can be secured. Insiders say that in the possibility of Advani not making it to the venue, there will be a move to link him through video and secure his approval for the proceedings.
By all accounts, the Goa national executive would be the defining moment for the BJP leadership for several reasons. First, it is formally marking the eclipse of the Advani era by the Modi phenomenon. This trend is evident all around Goa, where larger-than-life posters of the Gujarat chief minister loom large. Second, for the first time the BJP leadership seems to be acquiescing to an individual agenda which has relegated every other issue to background. As of now, the executive's other agenda, like resolutions on politics and economy and internal security, are irrelevant.
Incidentally, Goa is not strange to emotions when it comes to Modi. Such emotional outpouring was witnessed only 11 years ago when Modi offered to resign at the BJP's national executive after the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. In fact, the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee sent Arun Jaitley on a specific mission to Gandhinagar to secure Modi's resignation.
Jaitley, along with Pramod Mahajan and other second-generation leaders, devised a plan to make the resignation offer at the executive, knowing well that it will generate high emotions. The moment Modi offered to resign, the national executive rose in Modi’s support, much to the chagrin of Vajpayee, who ultimately backtracked and allowed him to continue.
The rest is history repeating itself in Goa, albeit in a different setting now.
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