Friday, November 16, 2012

Not a smooth road to PM’s post for Modi

NOTWITHSTANDING what his admirers may say, the path to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s anointment as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is ridden with pitfalls. Standing in the way of his ambitions are elements from both within and outside the Sangh Parivar fold.
On Friday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat thought it fit to mention Bihar before Gujarat in the development sweepstakes. And while the RSS may be obfuscating the issue ever since, you can be sure that not all people who matter in the Sangh Parivar are happy with Modi’s growing stature in the BJP. For this, the Gujarat CM has nobody but himself to blame. He may think that ruling the state with an iron hand, building a personality cult round himself and tom- tomming his pro- development credentials will do the trick for him but the problem with this approach is that it wins him more enemies than admirers. The Sangh may like Modi’s Hindutva leanings but it certainly does not want the RSS to play second fiddle to whoever emerges as the BJP’s supreme leader.
As for the party itself, the likes of L. K. Advani, Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj who fancy their prime ministerial chances will be more than willing to put a spoke in Modi’s wheel should circumstances give them an opportunity.
But these hurdles pale before the challenge that is posed to Modi by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. With a constituency in Bihar to preserve, Nitish is likely to go to any length to scuttle Modi’s prospects.
Given that his JD( U) is the second largest ally in the NDA, what he wants will also matter more than is evident at this stage. A scenario where Nitish vetoes Modi’s candidature will just be what his rivals within the BJP would be hoping for to further their own prospects. Besieged from within and without as he is, it would be a foolish Modi who counts his chickens before they hatch.
The biggest hurdle for the Gujarat chief minister would be Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who’s likely to dash his chances