BJP fully in Modicare?

It’s now loud and clear that Narendra Modi’s the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Doubts if any on that count were set at rest by the composition of the panel he presides for the party’s 2014 election campaign.

The BJP’s leaders in the two houses of Parliament – Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley – are members of the high powered committee besides three chief ministers and other senior leaders. That makes Modi the BJP’s Sonia Gandhi whom the saffron party has often accused of remote-controlling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The comparison is appropriate. The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha is traditionally viewed as the shadow PM or the PM in waiting. That post is held by Swaraj who, like other senior leaders, will report into Modi in the course of the campaign for the new government. The only exceptions to this rule are L K Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh.

But Singh too seems to be conducting himself as an emissary of Modi in his ongoing tour of the United States. The first announcement he made on reaching New York was that he’d lobby with the US administration to lift the post-2002 travel restrictions on the Gujarat CM.

It’s no coincidence that the organizers of Singh’s US visit include those who recently conducted some US legislators to India to sing paeans of praises for the CM banished from visiting their country. At another level, Singh’s proclivity to play second fiddle to Modi undermines a principle the BJP has often flaunted as its USP – the party’s supremacy over individuals. There is a threat clearly of the BJP’s entity getting subsumed into the seemingly unstoppable Modi cult.

A trailer of that was seen in Gujarat where Modi’s BJP and the BJP Modi. Is the model replicable Pan-India? If yes then does the thought not worry the RSS? Hadn’t the Sangh anointed Nitin Gadkari the party chief to forestall any repeat of the Vajpayee-Advani era marked by Nagpur’s diminishing authority over the party and the regime it ran from 1998-2004.

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