news Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 05:30
Three years from now, when political punditry comes to fore again with analyses and report-cards on the Modi government, perhaps this is the moment pundits will look back to as the beginning of the internal squabbles which could have lead to its eventual downfall. The opposition expected from the usual suspects has either been weak, or they have been bogged down by the government. Opposition parties, especially the Congress, are in disarray, the only saving grace being their numbers in the Rajya Sabha. Civil society organizations have been at the receiving end of government’s crackdown on NGOs. But even as opposition parties pick themselves up and civil society braces itself for a showdown, what stands out is the slow and yet consistent internal discord in the BJP and among its ancillaries. Starting from planted stories against Rajnath Singh and his son which were later rumored to be internal hit-jobs, there have been a number of attacks on the government from within the Sangh Parivar camp. Baba Ramdev’s taunt at Modi Ministers is the latest. In an interview to Aaj Tak, Ramdev said that some members of the Modi government have become arrogant. “Kuch toh kaam karo,” he taunted the MPs, hinting that Ministers are not doing anything. The most credible instance so far has been Arun Shourie’s direct attack on the government, stating that the government has done little to improve the economic situation in the country. In his interview to Karan Thapar, Shourie called the government’s economic policy ‘directionless’ and said that the social climate was causing ‘great anxiety’. There have been others too. Earlier this month, in a meeting attended by PM Narendra Modi, a BJP MP openly criticised Union Ministers and top brass in government for not being accessible. He also said that no development can be seen on the ground. Just two days before that, senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi took pot-shots at Modi government’s plans to launch bullet trains and developing Varanasi, Modi’s own constituency. Just yesterday, media reports emerged that the Sangh Parivar’s Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has decided to join hands with other trade unions affiliated the Left and Congress to protest against the economic policies of the government. Even within the party, chief Amit Shah has initiated efforts to engage with party workers after growing dissent. But party workers continue to complain about the lack of accessibility to senior leaders. Senior MPs TNM spoke to also say that PM Modi, Union Ministers and senior leaders of the party are not as accessible as they should be, even during the Parliament session. MPs are also complaining about the style of functioning of Venkiah Naidu during the session. L’Affaire  Smriti Irani too, if some are to be believed, is a result of the infighting within the BJP. It is worth remembering on Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary that one of the main reasons his government fell from the strongest mandate the country has ever given to a political party was internal dissent. More than twenty years later, if Modi has learned anything from the past, he would know that he cannot let his own party be his most dangerous opponent. 
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