Editorial: Show Of Dissent In NDA Is Welcome

Editorial: Show Of Dissent In NDA Is Welcome

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 08:03 PM IST
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Even before the dust kicked up by the Lok Sabha poll could settle down, there are reports of dissidence flaring up in the ruling Mahayuti alliance. What has added a sharper edge to the show of resentment is the offer of a Minister of State rank to NCP (Ajit Pawar) leader Praful Patel. He declined to accept it. He protested that he was a two-term cabinet minister in the UPA government. Reportedly Malayalam actor, Suresh Gopi, the first-ever member of parliament elected from Kerala on BJP ticket, too wants to quit. Unlike Patel, he dutifully took the oath of office and later discovered that he had a lot of on-going film commitments to complete, though the uncharitable argue that Gopi wants out because he was denied cabinet rank. A certain degree of dissonance is inevitable at the time of ministry formation of a coalition government. In the previous Modi administrations, 1.0 and 2.0, there was not a discordant note because those two were BJP-majority NDA governments. Modi had brooked no resistance, no internal or external challenge. His wish was command for both the NDA allies as well. In retrospect, the one-man rule was one of the main causes for the failure of the BJP to reach the half-way mark. We have no clue whether Modi, who always exudes the image of a strong-willed leader, has had time to mull over the causes of his poll reverses. If not, he should ponder over the message voters across the land have sought to deliver. Of course, he need not take a break in the Himalayas or in Kanyakumari to coolly mull over Verdict 2024. We will know from the little signs and gestures, stray remarks and speeches, whether he has drawn the right lessons from the electoral setback. Should he need any help he can consult a plethora of comment by fellow politicians, both ruling and Opposition, TV anchors, and public intellectuals who have filled the pages of newspapers post-result.

Even without caring to notice the vast commentariat, Modi will immensely profit from the words of the RSS Sanghchalak. At a recent event in Nagpur, Mohan Bhagwat said it all that needed to be said without leaving anyone in doubt at whom his words were directed. Given reports that RSS too was marginalised in the decade of one-man rule, Bhagwat’s rebuke was well-deserved. Arrogance has never served anyone’s case, much less a politician’s. Talking of himself in the third person singular, offering Modi ki guarantees — not BJP’s or NDA’s guarantees, unilaterally distributing tickets without consulting local units and state chief ministers, replacing seasoned leaders as chief ministers with inexperienced and little known faces... all this revealed an arbitrary streak. The party put up with it so long as he was winning majorities. The moment he fell short, the discordant noises found voice. Meanwhile, it is heartening to notice some of the gestures which reveal a humbler persona such as opening up the hitherto out-of-bounds Prime Minister’s Office, by ordering the deletion of Modi Ka Parivar boast from the BJP’s online persona, by laying emphasis on collective decision-making in the Cabinet. What Modi needs to bear in mind is that Vajpayee ran a relatively smooth coalition even though the BJP never came close to even 200 seats under his leadership. The RSS-BJP have always harped on consensus in their workings, Modi rode roughshod over that first lesson that the Sangh parivar inculcates in swayamsevaks, virtually making it a one-man party. This must cease. And if it does, Modi will find that he can quickly regain the trust of the voters yet again.

Meanwhile, the euphoria in the Congress party after the justifiable relief for denying BJP a simple majority ought to have by now yielded to a moment of sober reflection for its failure for the third time on the trot to get into three figures. But the sheer exuberance of the Congress leaders would suggest that it had won a majority on its own, much less prevented Modi from continuing as prime minister for the third successive term. Such delirious excitement is akin to a schoolboy who having failed for the nth time to pass the exam was still jumping with joy because a classmate had fallen short of the first-class-first position by a few marks. The Gandhis need to exercise restraint and sobriety both in and outside Parliament if they have to find wider acceptability. There is no room for confrontation and aggression in the polity. Hopefully, they will allow the new parliament to function, not repeat the raucous and obstructive behaviour as was the case in the last Parliament. “Yeh janata hai, yeh sab kuchh jaanati hai”.

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