The BJP’s Oliver Twist

The BJP’s Gopinath Munde and Nitin Gadkari have almost always never agreed on anything. There was a time, some three/four years ago, when the two had literally come to blows. That was when Gadkari was the Maharashtra BJP president and Pramod Mahajan had lately passed away. Gadkari was against Munde going on a yatra round Maharashtra in the aftermath of massive floods following an unusually active monsoon in Marathwada. BJP leaders begged the media not to report the incident. Th media complied. But journalists, laughiingly, have ever since been saying Gadkari should have sat on Munde during that fight — and squashed him once and for all!

For now the two leaders come to verbal blows almost every six months or so. The last time that the fight became very public was in 2008 when Munde had similarly thrown tantrums about the appointment of Madhu Chavan, a Gadkari acolyte, as the president of the Bombay unit of the BJP. Now he is quibbling over the appointment of another Gadkari supporter as the president of the Pune unit of the BJP.

One would think that Munde would rise above all these petty squabbles. After all he has been given everything he ever wanted by his party. Yet, Munde has always wanted more (See my column anandan on wednesday).

Undoubtedly, Munde is the BJP’s star campaigner in his home state and, notwithstanding the fact that Gadkari is the BJP’s national president today, the party has little future without Munde in Maharashtra.

That is why he has been able to get away not once but twice with blackmailing his party leaders in New Delhi. The ‘rumour’ that he was about to join the Congress was just that – so much hogwash, perhaps floated by Munde himself, to increase his bargaining power with his own leaders.

There was a very telling comment that came from Sharad Pawar during the course of Munde’s battle with his party: “We have nothing to offer to Munde.”

The Congress’s position was pretty much the same, for Munde has been the Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of Maharashtra before, during the Shiv Sena-BJP regime between 1995 and 1999. So he would certainly not have settled for a lesser position than that of the Chief Minister with the Congress or Deputy Chief Minister with Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party.

Now both the Congress and the NCP have too many candidates of their own eyeing these coveted offices and neither would have wanted to add another contender to their long list of long-time aspirants. Moreover, unlike Narayan Rane, who came from the Konkan where both the Congress and the NCP were trying to up one another to build their own bases, and therefore wooed Rane until the end, both parties already have strong bases of their own in Marathwada from where Munde hails. They also have enough backward class leaders of their own to want to complicate their equations with the tall presence of Munde in their ranks.

Now Munde is putting the blame for those rumours on his rivals within the Maharashtra BJP an threatening to ‘fix’ them once and for all. Short of beating them up, as he attempted to do vis-à-vis Nitin Gadkari in the past (defeated only by the latter’s ample girth), I do not see how Munde can contain the aspirations of a rising younger generation within his own party for long.

For all Gadkari’s supporters are comparatively unknown youngsters with long innings ahead of them and they are not likely to want to play second fiddle to Munde’s supporters – all of them the kind who will never rise above themselves to make a mark of their own.

Actually, Munde had gotten pretty used to ruling the roost in his home state – being married to Pramod Mahajan’s sister the two also had a personal interest in keeping their flock together and sharing the spoils.

But I doubt how much of the BJP’s saffron ideology went down with Munde – he was on record as stating, “I am in the BJP because Pramod Mahajan is with the party. If he had chosen to join the Congress, I would have been in the Congress today.”

Not surprisingly, it was Munde who led the campaign to drop the likes of Sadhvi Rithambara from the party – I recall, soon after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, when the state BJP was preparing a list of campaigners in Maharashta, Munde raised severe objections to her and put his foot firmly down on allowing her to campaign in his constituency.

“She will spit out all kinds of rubbish about the minorities and I will lose the Muslim votes that might be coming to me otherwise,” he said. None of his party men’s pleading and cajoling would persuade him to the contrary. I later noticed that in the subsequent weeks Sadhvi Rithambara was not seen anywhere in Maharashtra at all and was gradually phased out by the BJP elsewhere in the country, too.

So while Munde might not be ideologically driven in the BJP and could find it not too difficult to fit into secular parties like the Congress or the NCP, he still carries too much baggage from the past for these two parties to be comfortable with his persona.

Yet, I am told, some lesser leaders within both these parties – in Maharashtra and New Delhi as well – thought it fit to grant him an audience when he was battling for supremacy within his own party. What – and why – was that, I wonder? It could only have been to help him frighten his own leaders to retain his supremacy within the BJP. For, Munde’s differences with Gadkari will not end in a hurry and a house divided against itself, could only help both the Congress and the NCP consolidate their gains not just in Marathwada but also other regions where the BJP might be getting stronger (like Vidarbha, Gadkari’s home turf).

The last we heard, Gadkari had invited Munde over to dinner at his home in Bombay. Given the utter distrust between the two, I do not know if that was an olive branch or would eventually prove to be the poison cup from which Munde would rather not have supped.

For, like Oliver Twist, he is always asking for more – even though he never had less to begin with!

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  • http://- Rajeev

    This reminds me of runnng feud between Pranab and Chidambaram (Bugging) & also between Rahul+Digvijay against Manmohan.

    Politics is a strange world.


    Ganesh S Reply:


    How long will you BJP apologists remain in your own self induced delusions about other parties.As if your own party is squeaky clean !!!

    As far as the article is concerned,Ms Sujatha has shared a very old and open secret.The truth is Gadkari as BJP chief shows the extent of leadership bankruptcy that party is facing.After becoming BJP National President,the basic intellect of this man remains that of a local Nagpur level BJP leader.

    Is the party that has or had stalwarts like Vajpayee or Advani ?

    Munde is a state level leader with normal ambitions and insecurities.Look at the way he has been handled by so called leaders of his party especially Gadkari.

    It is completely a temporary cease fire.


    Rajeev Reply:

    I am actually agreeing with her. I am just giving similar examples from Congress. I simply don’t understand why Congressis like you and Anandan are blind to feud in Congress.

    Is this the party of Stalwarts like Nehru and Patel?

    It is an open secret that Chidu and Pranab hate each other. Digvijay is voice of Sonia who keeps everyone on leash.

    Unlike you I am not a party man. I consider Advani as intellectual fraud but can you admit that Sonia is intellectually ZERO and so is Rahul.


    Saarthak Reply:

    Excellent response Rajeev. This Ganesh guy’s comment was absolute ****…poor guy gets a fit if anyone raises a finger the Congress Party

  • Asim Khan

    A good and entertaining piece! The piece started entertaining from the opening sentence itself: THE BJP’s Gopinath Munde and Nitin Gadkari have almost ALWAYS NEVER agreed on anything. Good. Keep it up. :)


  • Raghavendra

    Hi sujata

    i wish to ask you 1 thing? does that mass leader called Gopinath munde have the ability to win an assembly election for his party and shive sena? has he ever done that?

    the 1995 veridct was because of anti incumbency and late pramod mahajan.
    as always you gave SECULAR certificate to CONGRESS , NCP but have you forgotten how those 2 SECULAR parties put the report of Srikrishna commission probing 1992-93 mumbai riots in to dustbin?

    Ms sujata nandan being secular does not mean abusing BJP and RSS day and night.
    but the real meaning of secularism is to uplift and develop all communities economically and socially.


  • ashok

    After the recent flirtation with the Congress, na khudai mili, na visal-e-sanam, na idhar ke rahe na udhar ke rahe.


  • Ram

    They came to blows?? Wow… I thought that does not happen after you have spent some time in public life.

    Looks like hell hath no fury like an ego bruised politician preferably while having the support of a handful of legislators or the organization that supplies the cadre


  • Anonymous

    “But more on that later.”

    Don’t bother. Your writing is even worse than Ayn Rand.


  • Anonymous

    Maybe is not so much an obituary as an attempt to feel better by trashing someone who is not around to defend himself.

    Would have been better if you actually had facts to support your case, but then lack of facts have never bothered people like you.


  • Anonymous

    You are in the habit of writing “SHIT”. It’s time we call you, “SHUT”.


  • ashok

    Sharmila Tagore, convinced Dev Anand wore a wig, once tugged his hair hard on the sets and felt very sheepish when it stayed firmly on his head.


  • Anonymous

    What was the point of this article ?? I fail to understand. There is nothing to agree or disagree — but you wrote a piece about someone in the vain that simply isn’t suitable for the mood. I would’ve read this piece another time and wouldn’t have minded. I don’t have any reason to suspect your interactions with Dev saab and the contents you divulged. But, is this the time to write this?

    I stopped watching his movies after Johny Mera naam — I was more of a Dilip Kumar fan from that era. But I still admire Dev Anand for who he was, Alert, active, trying to reinvent himself and always trying keep pace with the time. His presence and ego never bothered anyone, because he was Dev saab. There is something so special about him. I didn’t like his acting but I liked his films; there must be something about him that even I didn’t understand has drawn me to his films.This is the charm of a man that masses followed in 50s, 60s and 70s; but he managed to keep that image fresh in our minds till his last breadth. Salute Dev Saab!!


  • Anonymous

    Dev Anand (1923-2011) WIP (from now on – Work in Peace)


  • Satish Chandra

    Indians as a rule are inferior Indian nig gers unfit to talk about strategic matters, especially if it involves the White Master in any way, which it always does. That is why in his ‘Mein Kampf’ Adolf Hitler said “As for India, I would rather see India under the British than under any one else”. It is not just that a handful of the British from half way around the world ruled India for centuries; a lot of other people from various countries did that for a thousand years before that. //

    A modern day Babar will start each day by killing a million Indians before breakfast every morning, though some think three million will be better (this number can be herded into fairly small extermination circles and then a neutron bomb exploded over them). //

    I am an Indian, but as far above the other Indians as they may be above cockroaches. //

    When I say the new Chief of Air Staff, N. A. K. Browne, is a CIA-RAW man, I mean he literally sits at CIA-supplied terminals to participate in crimes against India. More than a thousand Indian Air Force aircraft have crashed since 1970, the vast majority of the crashes caused by microwaves from U. S. satellites which can hack into and operate any digital equipment. In his first week in office as Chief of Air Staff, Browne caused two Indian Air Force fighter planes to crash with microwaves from satellites, to give a boost to his bid to buy worse than worthless foreign aircraft for several tens of billions of dollars of which he will get a hefty cut along with the Defence Minister and the Italian woman who gets the largest cut. When Kapil Sibal — who also sits at CIA-supplied terminals to commit crimes against India — says offensive material will be removed by the government, he means it will be done – and is being done by CIA & RAW to U.S., Indian & other media — using microwaves from U. S. satellites. See IndianAirForcePilotsMurderDOTblogspotDOTcom . //

    On November 20, 2009 I wrote (see my blog): “While RAW has always been a branch of the C.I.A., the Tamil traitor-enemy Chidambaram has made other Indian intelligence agencies branches of the United States intelligence agencies, bringing in U.S. equipment to India to enable comprehensive real-time monitoring and interception ability for the U.S. of all communications in India, a comprehensive and total censorship power to the United States of not only what gets into the Indian media of all kinds [for example, CIA-RAW can block, partially block, alter or remove communications -- not just comments -- to news media at will and in real time and does it all the time; it can and does also alter the content of web pages, for example, published news reports] but even communications between individuals, bringing India into a colonial grip of and slavery to the United States such as has never been seen in human history. None of this will be allowed, no nuclear deal in any form, no IAEA inspections of any kind of anything in India, no guards of honour, no state dinners, no representing India for C.I.A.-RAW operatives.” //

    November 17, 2011: Integrated Circuit chips made in the United States are required to provide for access to the United States National Security Agency so it can monitor and take control of their operations at will. Components and electronic equipment from the United States should be absolutely “haram”; far from lamenting ‘technology denial’, equipment from the United States should be rejected even if it is offered on a platter and free of charge as I have said. India’s bought-up Defence, Atomic Energy, Space and other officials deliberately close their eyes to this threat. This also applies to U. S.- made civilian aircraft, for example. There are two hundred thousand Indian engineers and scientists working in Research & Development for foreign companies in India but instead of putting its money in Research & Development ( in my letter dated January 5, 2004 to the press — see my blog — I had suggested one million Research & Development workers in India in government-sponsored projects), India’s CIA-RAW government buys foreign equipment in all fields to keep India poor, weak and enslaved. India’s government lends hundreds of billions of dollars to the U. S. government in exchange for worthless U. S. paper but seeks foreign investment and World Bank loans for projects in India, giving ownership and control of India to India’s enemies, despite the unlimited capital available to India by simply printing the money; see ‘How India’s Economy Can Grow 30% Per Year Or More’ in my blog; as is described there, the United States has been applying my proposal about money by stealth and now also openly but Manmohan Singh refuses to do so because this bug ger — a CIA appointee — does what serves the United States’, not India’s, interests. //

    I had asked the Indian Army to arrest the top one thousand or so officers of RAW. It has not done so. But, as I have said, India’s nuclear forces obey Satish Chandra. He does not need India’s conventional forces or the rest of the government and citizenry to defend India which requires the destruction of RAW which will be done by nuclear means, that is, the simultaneous nuclear destruction of New Delhi, Washington and New York, with a warning that additional U. S. cities will be destroyed, with nuclear warheads already emplaced in them by special forces, if there is any retaliation. //

    I am India’s expert in strategic defence, the father of India’s strategic program including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and the world’s greatest scientist (my biography can be found in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World, 2011 and earlier editions); for more on the subject above see ‘What You Should Know About RAW’ in my blog titled ‘Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U. S.’ which can be found by a Yahoo/Google search with the title. //

    Satish Chandra


  • Guddoy Mike

    Kanchhedia. I totally agree with what you have written above. You have given a true and vivid description of Mr Dev Anand’s psyche almost. I have read his autobiography. He comes across as someone who is not at ease being an Indian, he would very much have preferred to be a British colonialist instead. Remember that he was proud that he could speak the English language without any accent. Dev was obviously quite conceited, and was without a doubt, in love with himself. He was so sure that he had thousands of female fans, and that they all loved him and adored him. Of course, he considered himself to be the Marlon Brando of India. I almost forgot to mention that most of his films flopped at the box-office, only a few were successful in that very long, never- ending career. What a guy.


  • Kushal

    Oh, this is a really good book, Masha. My heart was in my throat throughout and even though I prefer cats to dogs, I was so happy when all the dogs found homes.


  • Kushal

    Oh I’m better and back at the office now, Anamika, but thank you. Just have the remnants of a deathbed cough that scares the bejabbers out of my colleagues, but that’s all. Your sick list is LOVELY. I know what you mean about ‘My Family’. My other comfort books are Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster and 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Ever read those?


    masha Reply:

    Daddy Long Legs is AMAZING!! It’s such a lovely book.. Oooh!! And Prisoner of Zenda.. Too bad all these books are in our Calcutta house collecting dust.. Bookstores these days just don’t stock those good old books.. It’s all Hannah Montana etc.. :(


    Kushal Reply:

    I used to love Swiss Family Robinson as a sickness comfort book too.


  • Rajesh Sarrin

    Thanks again for a great insight…


  • abhishek sharma

    The Shia – Sunni conflict has ages in making and Americans leaving Gulf will only exacerbate the conflict which is turning bloodier.

    Iran is natural ally of USA. Sounds too good to be true. It was indeed before the Iranian revolution. However, today Iranians, the Mullahdom supporting USA is unthinkable. BTW, great analysis.


  • Abu Ahmed

    Pure politics which smacks of imperial designs of Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Israelis feels threatened by Iran and so do the Saudis. However, the seemingly powerful forces of Zionism and Wahabism do not enjoy much support at the ground level. If the US is to leave the Gulf, both the Saudi royal family and the zionists would be dismantled within a few years by their own people. That is why Ahmedinejad keep saying that Israel would cease to exist in 20 years from now – not because somebody is going to destroy it but due to the fact that Jews would find the Zionists as no more relevant after the departure of the US and so do most Saudis would find that Wahhabism is neither the body nor soul of Islam.