Fir ek baar, OR Not At Par?

In-depth Interview Part 3/3: Will BJP be able to form the government again? What if not?

Read Part One of the Interview here
Read Part Two of the Interview here

Question - If BJP and Modi come back in power, will there be a considerate and sensitive government? Or will the Tyranny grow? Or will there be rebellions and Modi would lose power before 2029?
Answer - Anxieties and apprehensions, curiosities and fears, wishful thinking and unexpected surprises await on June 4.  The Lok Sabha election results will be out, destabilising much of the polity and calculations required to form government. Speculations and scenarios are under debate and discussion. Indeed, what are the possibilities? Let us visualize these scenarios one by one. Imagine Scenario One where Narendra Modi-led BJP and NDA wins nearly 400 seats. Let us say, 350 for the BJP plus about 50 from its allies. In that situation it is obvious that Modi will be Prime Minister and most of his cabinet will continue. As he has exhorted to his colleagues and bureaucrats, to prepare for next 100 days of work and development plans.

The first ten years of his rule, he said, was a kind of trailer and the real film will start after his next term begins. The result is on June 4 and the Modi cabinet would be in place by third week of June. There would be huge celebrations across the country, similar to the grand festival mood at the time of inauguration of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir. Processions with large cutouts of Modi, along with Lord Ram, with ritualistic and festive costumes by women and young girls, men and “software youths” with headgears and traditional dresses, bands and loud synthesisers with patriotic songs and Bollywood hits, Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar participating in the Victory March. Subtle and not so subtle warnings to Muslims and slogans terrorising them. Government buildings brightly and colourfully lighted, much more than on Republic Day or Diwali. Loud crackers and louder bhajans in accompanying vehicles.

The mood is like what it must have been when Lord Ram entered Ayodhya Nagari after 14 years of “Vanwas”! Then Modi will address the nation, on all TV channels, radio and all social media outlets, with press in tow, thanking 140 crore people of the country, that is Bharat, for upholding the Great Bharatiya Sanskriti and glorious Hindu ethos. He will begin his governance in right earnest, arresting the remaining corrupt people and threatening Rahul and Priyanka and Sonia of dire consequences.

The process of “congress cleansing” will start and the “anti-national” media anchors will be issued warrants for arrest on charges of sedition. Amit Shah will give dazzling and threatening speeches eulogising Modi sky-high. Yogi Adityanath will forget all his differences with Modi and will organise special celebrations in Lucknow, Ayodhya and Gorakhpur.

Meanwhile, all Heads of the States, the world over will flood the media with Congratulatory messages, from Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, of course, Netanyahu and even Xi from China. The commentators would then declare that this election has proved that Modi is now a recognised Vishwaguru! There will be American, Australian and some European heads of states present for the “coronation” ceremony. In addition, there will be Saudi sheikhs along with some other Arab top bosses. That will help him to express solidarity with the Muslims and display Hindu Secularism. He will pay homage to Subhash Chandra Bose, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, perhaps Veer Savarkar and he will not forget the great role performed by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in drafting Bharat Rashtra’s constitution.

He may indeed plan to change the constitution but not for making Hindu Rashtra dejoure. However, he may try to change the constitution to presential form of govt. following the French and American model. This would mean he himself becomes president and nominate someone of his choice as PM. He was always uncomfortable with parliamentary form of democracy. His style of governance was always presidential.

He will unfurl a flag and say that a New History is being created. In his speech, he’d say, “In 1947, we did not achieve full freedom. It was truncated independence, compromised by Jawaharlal Nehru with colonial powers. Now Bharat is really independent from slavery of over one thousand years. The so called ‘Tryst with Destiny’ is over. Now we will carve out our own destiny with that of the whole universe ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’. Thank you again all Indians who voted for this glorious future!”

Question – That’s an interesting prediction, to say the least. While the satire is obvious, the visual is quite on point. What other scenarios can we be facing?
Answer – Let’s consider a second Scenario. The NDA gets anywhere between 240 to 260 seats as predicted by some surveys and some Satta Bazar speculators and some self declared psephologists. So that would be short of some 30-40 seats for simple majority. But Modi and his strategists will waste no time.

They could split Trinamool and get some 10-15 disgruntled MPs from there. They can tap the Biju Janata Dal and acquire about 7-10 MPs. Akali Dal would be ready to help. Chandra Babu and Jagan Mohan, both can come to rescue Modi. They are already with him anyway. They will attempt yet another split in the Sharad Pawar NCP. The Ajit faction is already with Modi. They can blackmail some vulnerable Congressmen/women like they did about Ashok Chavan.

So, getting a number of 300 plus in this new coalition cannot be ruled out. The PM is of course Narendra Modi. Without the messiah, how can the glorious Bharat will change history and destiny of India.

Since President Draupadi Murmu is eternally obliged to Narendra Modi, she will summon him to take oath as the largest single party leader and largest alliance chief to lead the new Parliament.

Once Modi is sworn in, he will immediately swing in action. Announce special development programme for farmers, additional tax benefits to corporates and substantial monetary packages for the middle classes. He will express gratefulness towards this class loyal to him. Then he will declare unprecedented beneficial packages to women. He considers women as his reserved constituency.

Then he will go live on all the TV channels and address the nation, exactly in the same words as in the Scenario One.

(Image Source - Cartoonist Satish Acharya)

Question – The way you describe it, it sounds like a plot for a political satire. And very, very possible. But what happens if majority is not absolute, or not easily achieved?
Answer – That brings us to Scenario Three. If on June 4, if the results do not show great performance by the BJP and the NDA, what would happen? It would surely be described as a major political earthquake in the South Asia, in fact in the world. If the BJP is stuck between 200 and 220 seats, or even less, then there can be clamour within the party to change the guard. Names like Nitin Gadkari or Rajnath Singh or some other dark (rather saffron) horse would or could appear on the scene.

If it is Gadkari, then almost all 48 MPs from Maharashtra, including Sharad Pawar and Uddhav would be ready to support him, thereby providing him the numbers he would need. Congress might abstain, instead of giving pro-active support, but would not obstruct, since he would be the first Marathi Prime Minister. Then of course the colour of the government would change. Saffron would be diluted, Hindu-Muslim issue would go on back burner.

Gadkari, as is his forte, would announce grandiose infrastructure plans. To Delhi from Mumbai by road in four hours. To Chennai from Delhi in just six hours by bullet trains specially designed in Japan. He will reintroduce ethanol and reduce petrol and diesel prices.

He will greatly eulogise the historic role played by Narendra Modi in carving India on an international map. Modi will become the larger-than-life harbinger of the Revolution that transformed the politics and economy. He will subtly condemn critics of Modiji as doing disservice to the country. He would particularly praise the stalwart Amit Shah for his fantastic “Chanakyaniti”. He will go out of his way to praise Yogi Adityanath for taking giant strides in development of Uttar Pradesh. He will publicly declare that Sharad Pawar is his icon, his ideal and praise his great energetic leadership of over 60 years.

Gadkari will bring in some points from Modi’s text book, but will not attack Nehru-Gandhi family or dynasty. He will expect cooperative atmosphere in parliament and try to accommodate the disgruntled souls in his party and win over those on political parapet wall.

He will try to reduce polarisation in the country without hurting the raw nerves of the RSS. He will particularly be friendly with the media. He will hold regular press conferences. But he will see that Modi is not attacked, nor cases lodged against him.

All this, of course if Modi lets him become the Prime Minister. His closeness with the RSS may work in his favour, but Modi’s deep hostility towards him (and that of Devendra Fadanvis) could queer the pitch. It might look like a smooth transfer of power superficially, but that kind of government would be too vulnerable to sustain.

Question – Let’s try to explore another possibility, wherein BJP-led NDA fails to gain majority and the INDIA Alliance gets an opportunity to form the government. What can we expect then?
Answer -
If indeed, the BJP falls below 250 or even 210 and NDA cannot form the government, what would be the strength and role of the Opposition INDIA ALLIANCE? if the BJP or the NDA cannot get majority, will the Opposition Front get about 272-300 seats and form government? Statistically, yes. They can form and choose from their ranks a new PM - from Mallikarjun Kharge to Sharad Pawar or someone else. There can be a huge conflict and perhaps even horse trading, and the Modi followers will immensely enjoy all that. But that will not benefit Modi because he will have to bear the brunt of the loss of seats for BJP. The RSS will be looking for options. The Opposition will have a great challenge and opportunity to swim in these turbulent waters. Or else there can be parliamentary chaos and political anarchy.  INDIA ALLIANCE can overcome this possible crisis because they are united on anti-communal, anti-fascist politics.

We have to first recognise that the election results in 2014 (and to a certain extent 2019) were very loud manifestation of “anti-congressism” and also the phenomenon of Islamophobia. The anti-Muslim/Islam sentiment was a globally promoted campaign. That also figured prominently in the elections from 2014.

Congress is the leading epicentre of the INDIA ALLIANCE. So demolish Congress and the Opposition is finished, is the governing principle of the BJP’s Chanakya. This Chanakyaniti cannot be understood unless we take a global view of the issues.

After the globalisation in 1991, the world over, there was paradigm shift. Also in India. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of Cold War, the world was dominated by only one superpower-the USA. Till the collapse of the USSR and end of the Cold War, the world was divided between Pro Russia and at the other end Pro US. In ideological terms, pro Socialist/communist or free market/capitalist model.  The West led by the US had lost the binary dimension once the communist block lost their relevance. But they needed an “enemy”. The Gulf War in 1991, the same year when USSR disintegrated, provided the US and the West “another global enemy”.

The US had sponsored radical Islami groups, with arms sand dollars to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan. The idea was to defeat the “Atheist-Communist/Socialist” ideology by religious counterattack. This strategy was part of the Cold War, systematically launched after the Soviet Communist army intervened in Afghanistan in 1979 and after Ayatollah Khomeini took over Iran after ousting Shah of Iran, the American stooge.

American strategists developed double edged confrontations in the world. Islamic Fundamentalism, mainly among Sunnis and Islamophobia, the world over by painting them as terrorists.

Question – How does all this relate to Indian Politics, mainly after 2014 and now in view of 2024 Lok Sabha election?
Answer -
It is common knowledge now and daily experience of people that the only campaign and only slogans that the BJP has is the politics of Hindu-Muslim divide. Right from the top i.e. the Prime Minister himself, to any local Karyakarta in the Sangha Parivar is busy promoting the “Hate Muslim” agenda. The DNA of the Sangha and Hindu Maha Sabha is just the “Hate Muslim” and “Demonise Pakistan” issue. For them Pakistan is just an extension of the Muslims in India (nearly 15 percent of the population).

Realising that none of the wild and hugely hyped promises given by Narendra Modi have been fulfilled, there is widespread frustration and anger among the people. The only issue that can still generate passion and prejudice is the Hindu-Muslim divide. So they are capitalizing that.

There is immense respectability to this issue globally, mainly because it has ideological and political sanction and even proactive support from the West. As stated above, this support, which originated in 1979 in Afghanistan and Iran, has tremendous following in Non-Resident-Indian community, the NRIs are primarily middle class, mostly upper caste and economically well off. The NRIs population is over two hundred million, that is two crore people. In the US alone, there are nearly four million, that is 40 lakhs. In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK and rest of Europe, about six million, all told, one crore in Whites dominated, developed countries.

They are the ideological carriers of “anti-Muslim” campaign. The current political formulation is that the Congress is pro-Muslim (some even say it is the Muslim League at the core). So, Hate-Muslim means Hate-Congress.

The aspirational middle class in India, whose eyes are set on the US, takes its political- ideological cue from the NRIs, who have become strident Hindutva followers in the last two decades. This canvass has to be understood because it is another reflection of the middle classes in India.

Again, the political situation will be in the hands of the middle class. It is not united politically, but is connected by perception and prejudice. Will it rise beyond the narrow self-interest and create a Pan India political platform? It depends also on the world situation and how the global economics and politics shapes and whether a new paradigm emerges!!

Question – Well, the results are getting sealed even as we speak. We will see what’s what soon enough. What would happen, in case BJP / NDA does not get majority?
Answer – That would be a very complex scenario, to be honest. Not many political pundits, nor psephologists dare to say that Modi will not cross 182 seats-the so called Vajpayee bench mark. But there are a few who go even beyond and say there is an anti-Modi wave and it would be difficult for him to cross even 150. These speculators are called mad or drunk with anti-Modi potion by his supporters.

But indeed, if Modi fails to get even 200 seats, what would he do?

1) will he just become leader of Opposition and sit in Parliament on the chair of Mallikarjun Kharge?
2) will he create some constitutional crisis?
3) will he indirectly launch some kind of violence, large scale Hindu-Muslim riots (massacres) to create intense instability? In such atmosphere of social collapse, violence, massive law and order issue, wouldn’t it provide cause for some kind of Emergency?
4) in extreme situation can he call the army to restore order and make President Murmu declare a pause in the constitutional electoral process? That would of course be unconstitutional, but would he?
5) but given Modi’s personality, style, no hold barred decisiveness, he can do anything, maybe something even more sinister.

Whatever may be the case, one thing is for sure. Modi will not relinquish the post of Prime Minister smoothly. Vajpayee, when lost by just one vote in parliament, walked out. Modi is not in that school of governance. He and Amit Shah and Ajit Doval are a fearful troika. They represent not only the Indian Communal Right but a global military-Industrial-high tech-Corporate class with full support from the deep state. The MOSSAD and the whole Israeli establishment, as well as the CIA would be glad to back him for any price. Also MI 5 and of course the German Intelligence. Look at the ruthlessness of Netanyahu, who is Modi’s icon and idol.  They share the same instinct, known in the Management Parlance as the “Killer Instinct”! Modi’s tentacles are far and wide.

Anything is possible. The people and the parties and the NGOs will have to go on guard.  It is not just our Democracy that is in danger, but the entire Indian Civilisation, enriched, enlightened and enveloped by the Indian Freedom Struggle led by Gandhiji and Pandit Nehru and Dr Ambedkar.

This election has put that legacy on test. Can we allow it to be guillotined? The hope really rests on us.

- Kumar Ketkar 
Renowned Journalist, Political Writer, Former Rajya Sabha Member (2018-2024)

Interviewer - Vinod Shirsath (Editor, Sadhana & Kartavya)

Tags: elections political loksabha loksabha elections 2024 elections 2024 loksabha 2024 kumar ketkar congress BJP Modi Load More Tags


हिरा जनार्दन

If he wins constitution will b murdered If he lose people will b murdered. Whole country will b transformed in Gujrat 2002. Still wish things would go smoothly.


25 मे च्या साधना साप्ताहिकात ही मुलाखत ( तिन्ही भाग ) मराठीत प्रसिद्ध होणार आहे.

Somnath Nikam

संपादक सर प्लीज आपण केतकर सरां च्या वरील मुलाखती चा मराठी अनुवाद करावा ही विनंती.

Add Comment