Nagpur: According to BJP President Amit Shah, superman Modi gets the credit for his party’s victory in various local elections held recently all over India. If that is indeed so, why has Prime Minister Modi gone missing from the posters that are being plastered all over town by BJP in view of the coming NMC elections?
Nagpur local body elections are very significant for the ruling party this year. Though they are the incumbents, this is the first election being contested after Nagpurian Devendra Fadnavis took charge as C.M. of the state two years ago. It may be mentioned here that young Devendra had entered politics through the NMC platform and has the distinction of being the youngest Mayor of the city. Many powerful Corporators have been handpicked by him and are his personal friends.
The second reason why BJP has to win is that more than ever before, Nagpur is seen as an RSS citadel. The place where RSS originated and still has its H.Q. First only people of Maharashtra were aware of this fact, now the whole nation knows it. A defeat here for BJP, the political wing of RSS would be very embarrassing.
Then how come local BJP isn’t cashing in on the Modi mania that is supposed to be unabated even after the demonetization debacle?
Union Minister Gadkari and Fadnavis prominently seen
If the logic for Modi not being there is that these are local elections where local leaders should be given prominence, why are Union Minister Gadkari and Fadnavis so prominently featured? Granted they are both Nagpurians but isn’t Modi the supremo?
We are talking about the posters one sees in squares and by the side of city main roads everywhere. The posters that ask – ‘look what your one vote has done?’ (For many, this question seems ironical, almost like a cruel joke after the suffering of ‘note bandi’).
These have been put up by party; after tickets are given local contestants will surely put up their hoardings. It is to be seen which leader will be feature in it apart from the contestant himself.
But we may recall that even prior to the 2014 general elections, when Modi wave, or tsunami!, was at the highest peak, Nagpur was still giving almost a cold shoulder to the then Gujarat C.M.
Modi did not even have a sabha in RSS land. He did come to Nagpur during campaigning once, only to fly on to his next destination. What is significant is that he did not meet anyone at the airport either.
Is RSS the cause of Modi’s absence?
It is well known that Gadkari is RSS’s blue eyed ‘boy’ and the one person they would love to see as Prime Minister some day. He seemed to be headed along that path when he was BJP national president till ‘someone’ jinxed him by helping bring corruption charges against his business empire Purti.
It is also known that another RSS favorite and a definite bigwig Sanjay Joshi and Modi are not the best of friends. Is that why Modi seems almost a persona non grata in saffron city Nagpur?
Whatever the reason, the city, and the country shall watch with great anticipation what is in store for BJP in February this year. Will they deliver a coup by winning for the 4th time in succession?
Sunita Mudaliar (Associate Editor)