Can you dream of becoming Prime Minister by fighting everyone in your party? Can you appear to be petty by picking up on a police official just because he’s against you? Can you just sulk and don’t take calls even from your once-mentor-turned rivals because you are miffed with them?
That’s what seems to be happening to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
Only a month ago, the media saw in him a potential Prime Minister candidate of the BJP. There was a beeline of senior BJP leaders to felicitate him on his “sadhbhavana mission.”
Now, what do you hear? “Modi is sulking, he won’t talk to any senior BJP leader because he is very, very upset!”
What’s gone wrong with Modi within a month and after he was supposed to have got a “clean chit” in the 2002 riots?
Has it gone to his head that the Supreme Court sent back to a trial court a report of a special investigation team (SIT), which was asked to probe his alleged role in the 2002 riots, instead of issuing any direction against him or in his favour?
If you pick today’s newspapers, Modi looks the “villain” who has put a “hapless” IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in jail. His wife has written a second letter to Union Home Minister Chidambaram alleging that her husband was being treated like a “terrorist” by the Gujarat police.
In the letter, she has also accused the state government of using all possible ways to deny bail to her husband. Shweta, wife of Bhatt, had written her first letter to Chidambaram a few days ago saying that there was danger to the life of the IPS officer from the “vindictive administration”.
Why is Modi inviting so much ridicule? Maybe, Bhatt is a wily cop who politicized matters against Modi by working in tandem with Congress leaders or used his “links” with Chidambaram (because he was involved in a case involving a High Court judge close to the Union Home Minister when he was superintendent of police of Rajkot to evict his tenant).
But does it augur well for a person who wants to be Prime Minister?
Many BJP leaders say Modi is beginning to resemble Don Quixote, the famous character in a novel by Miguel de Cervantes, first published in 1605, added on to by Alonso Fernandez, and finished by Cervantes in 1615.
Like Don Quixote, Modi has selective vision of the real world. He fights impossible symbolic battles while the rest of the world says it can’t be done and mocks him for trying.
Even his fans in BJP are confused. They see his “vindictive self” back in action—much to his detriment – even he has reasons to be upset with everyone.
If newspapers reports that Modi is not taking the phone calls of L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley are true, what does Gujarat chief minister hope to gain by sulking?
Modi is stated to be upset over two issues - appointment of his old enemy Sanjay Joshi as the BJP in charge of Uttar Pradesh and invitation extended to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to flag of Advani’s latest rath yatra in Bihar.
But then, Advani had to shift to his yatra against corruption to Bihar because Modi was lukewarm to its launch from Gujarat. Advani was forced to look for a new locale, goes the buzz.
Naturally, Modi’s detractors thought getting Nitish Kumar to flag off the yatra would serve two purposes—show the NDA is going great guns and put the hype about Modi becoming PM candidate in place.
By refusing to go to BJP’s national executive on September 29-30 and taking the pretext of his Navratri fasts, Modi thought he could convey to other seniors that they can’t mess with him.
Is Modi cut up with his party leaders because they think that his arch rival, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is “more valuable” as an ally to BJP than himself as a tough-talking hawk?
In fact, a day after Modi went on his fast, his close friend, Arun Jaitely, ad asked BJP leaders to remember to “strengthen” the NDA if they were dreaming of seeing the BJP in power again.
Also did BJP president Nitin Gadkari keep Modi in the dark about rehabilitating his old enemy, Sanjay Joshi, back in the BJP organizational set-up? Those close to Gadkari say Modi was given enough hints by the BJP chief (maybe ten months ago) that Joshi would have to come back to work.
Joshi was declared “innocent” by the RSS, months after he had quit as BJP general secretary in 2005 after mysterious CDs surfaced at a Mumbai party meet, showing him in a sex act.
Yes, the BJP needs Modi and it cannot do anything to him as far as Gujarat is concerned.
At the same time, Modi would be foolish to think that his colleagues will rush to him to fall on his feet.
Secondly, name any second-ranking leader of BJP and you will find that they are his deadly rivals who are vying for the top slot! They would love to watch Modi fight the RSS as well as other contenders.
But, if Modi is aspiring for higher things, then he must re-read Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. By the way, Carnegie’s 1934 best-seller was one of Advani’s favourite books, which he often recommended to his juniors including Modi!