2013, Essay, New Delhi, Telegraph Calcutta

An Architect Of Fractures, or, The Man Who Could Be Prime Minister

This is a piece I wrote for Man’s World in the run up to the Gujarat Assembly elections following the carnage of 2002; I am reproducing it sans update or re-calibration for events, as they have turned out, rendered that unnecessary

Narendra Modi has a killer’s instinct for power and a hunter’s will to pursue it. What’s more, he has a diabolical sense of the hour and how to make it his own. As the run up to the elections have made it clear, his adversaries are the likes of  Sonia Gandhi and Pervez Musharraf and his battleground is not provincial but national. The Gujarat election results on December 15 might prove to be a turning point in our lives

by sankarshan thakur

There are many who believe that this man is headed not for Gandhinagar but for New Delhi, that the tide he has unleashed will soon gobble up his mighty mentors—Atal Behari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and company—and deliver him at the helm of the Party and the Parivar, perhaps even of the country. In a skewed but probably telling sense he has already raised the bar of competition higher than any other Indian chief minister would; he is not in a contest with locals, he has pitted himself against Pervez Musharraf, or at least that’s what the pitch of his campaign is. And when he picks adversaries at home, he picks Sonia Gandhi, hardly ever Shankarsinh Vaghela, his former shakha-mate and chief provincial challenger. The psychological template of his battle is not provincial, it’s national, that’s the stage he is fashioning.

“Accuse Narendra Modi of being a Hindu communal bigot and he would respond like you had paid him a compliment. That’s like telling Ariel Sharon he is anti-Palestinian or Slobodan Milosevic that he is too pro-Serb. Those are the badges they want to wear. That’s the badge Modi wants on his chest, it’s his ticket past the turnstiles into power”

M_Id_405805_Narendra_Modi

But there are many who hope he never gets there for if he does, they fear, he would already have charted a ruinous course for India as she is known. For here is an architect of fractures who can dream but a splintered design, who can deal but in debris. Here is a man striding divisions, driving them deeper, infusing them with greater hate and bitterness. Here is a man quite unabashed about what he is up to. Here is a man so focused on his distorted vision, he couldn’t care for correctness, political or otherwise. The Gujarat riots were nothing but a “secular reaction” to the carnage of Godhra; if tempers were such they spilled into murder and mayhem it was only a measure of the depth of public shock and anger. The relief camps had to be shut and the refugees sent back to their charred and sundered homes because the government was not interested in any more charity, not certainly for baby-making factories; the Muslims could go and turn their five into twenty-five and twenty-five into six hundred and twenty five but his government was not subsidising them. Continue reading “An Architect Of Fractures, or, The Man Who Could Be Prime Minister”

2013, New Delhi, News, Telegraph Calcutta

Sidelined, Pitamah Flings Spoke on Modi Rath

New Delhi, Sept 13: Bhishma Pitamah flung a spoke into the wheels of Narendra Modi’s rath just as it formally set out to capture Delhi this evening. L.K. Advani, the man all of BJP, Modi included, pays obeisance to as singular mentor-guide, refused to sit among those who raised their hands to endorse the Gujarat chief minister’s candidacy. And on a day that high-decibel rapture erupted around the BJP headquarters on Ashoka Road, the party’s senior-most active player and verily the architect of its occupation of the national stage, issued missives of pain and disappointment from behind closed doors.

“I had told you about my pain when you had come to inform me about the parliamentary board meeting this afternoon,” Advani wrote to BJP president Rajnath Singh, “And I had also told you a few things about my disappointment with your running of the party…I told you I will think about coming and expressing my sentiments to all (parliamentary board) members, but I have decided it will be better if I do not go to today’s meeting.”

Modi's rath arriving at Advani's residence
Modi’s rath arriving at Advani’s residence

This may have been as strong a dissenting note the loyal son of the Sangh could have drafted but, like his resignation after his party’s Goa meet in June, it moved nothing. When copies of its were handed out to frenzied media hands bivouacked at Advani’s shuttered doorstep, Modi had already been named the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee. It had the ring of a defeated man bleating and begging off — “It would be better if I do not go to today’s meeting…”  Continue reading “Sidelined, Pitamah Flings Spoke on Modi Rath”