Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mothers’ blind love for sons: Undoing of two Gandhis

This piece was also run by

Finding similarities between Rahul and his uncle Sanjay Gandhi!

In one of the historic and most crystal clear mandate since 1984, the BJP was handed over a landslide victory. “Politicians would soon run out of adjectives to describe the election outcome….,” wrote my Editor, Ravindra Kumar, for ‘The Statesman’ in his piece the next day.
The ‘Modi wave’ – dismissed by Congress and other regional players like Mamata, Nitish and Lalu Prasad – and which personified the anti-incumbency anguish, swept aside many previous records.

The Congress decimation has turned out to be worst in its 129-year-old history and in the 17th year of Sonia Gandhi’s career. Reduced to mere 44 just 7 seats more than Jayalalitha’s AIADMK and 10 seats more than Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, normally, with any party by now the clamour should have grown on what would happen to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. Efforts have been made to protect the dynasty. Likes of Divijay Singh got into actions. The family retainer or so, Manishankar Aiyar called Narendra Modi ‘Adolf Hitler’ hours before he took over as the Prime Minister.
It’s the same Mani who in January 2014 screamed at the peak of his voice that Modi cannot ever become Indian Prime Minister and that he was free to distribute tea at the AICC session.

Today, Congress leaders in isolation and in separate pockets making noises especially against Rahul Gandhi. Even Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla, a Congressman of many years and a Christian himself, has lambasted the party leadership of the manner it has been handling the defeat.
His eloquent oneliners are more than the normal reactions from disgruntled Congressman.
Lal Thanhawla said the party “paid for its misdeeds” and it “does not know how to face defeat”. He added he has written to Sonia to refrain from blame-game in the party and rather introspect instead. “In that way, the defeat we faced is good for us,” he said.

Now where does this lead to? In my opinion, the Congress leaders’ disgruntlement is more against the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, whose ‘ability’ to deliver for the grand old party is now no longer a state secret.
An honest analysis of 2014 Mandate would make it amply clear that no single factor has contributed more to the downfall of Congress party in these elections than Rahul Gandhi and his flirting with failures.

As an ardent student of Indian elections, I find some similarity emerging between Rahul and his ‘illustrious’ uncle the Late Sanjay Gandhi though as personalities both are from diametrically different stocks.
So has Sonia Gandhi emulated her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi in displaying her unquestionable love for a son, who is today seen as a political liability?

 The hapless Kerala Congressman TH Mustafa’s unceremonious suspension is a case in point.
Old timers would vouch with me that on the eve of 1977 elections when Indira Gandhi was cautioned by her coterie members like P N Haksar and Subhadra Joshi, Indira’s response used to be: “Those who attack Sanjay attack me”.

If inside reports from AICC are to be believed, Sonia almost took the same line when at the parliamentary party meeting she pulled up Milind Deora for speaking out of line when the former South Mumbai MP did some plain speaking!

So does it bring us back to the agonizing tale of a mother’s blind for her son?

In 2012, Time magazine had written acidly, "Nobody really knows what he is capable of, nor what he wishes to do should he ever attain power and responsibility. The suspicion is growing that Mr (Rahul) Gandhi himself does not know”. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Much ado about Modi-Sharif meeting!

(My take on first Namo-Nawaz Sharif interaction....
edited version also ran by Matters India website

Who is Narendra Modi or Nawaz Sharif in the context of 2014? How are these two individuals vital in the sub-continent for the ambitions and hopes that have been created for peace? Or the optimism will be destroyed by a mere photo opportunity, as has been cynically described by a Congress spokesman.

In role reversal, while BJP welcomed the initiatives to reach out to Pakistan, the Congress spokesman and the outgoing Information Minister chose to remind Modi-led regime that the saffron party’s established policy vis-à-vis Pakistan has that Talks and Terror cannot go together.
Does it mean, BJP has given up its anti-Pakistan stance? Or for that matter, where does Nawaz Sharif regime’s legitimacy stand in Pakistan today?
Not long ago, one would not be mistaken to say that in an ostrich-like fashion, to BJP took all the blame for Pakistan’s internal disturbance and terror strikes have been conveniently put on Pakistan. 
Islamabad too – either under civilian or under military dictator – has been pre-occupied for the greater part of its existence in a rather unequal contest with India. 
So presumably it is not wrong to say that the so called diplomatic coup by Narendra Modi long before he started is only media hype.

It also goes without saying that for long Indian foreign policy was treading a predictable path actually guided by the Nehruvian roadmap irrespective of whichever governments came to power.
Modi is known for taking out-of-the-box approaches. The massive mandate and the confidence rested by millions on Indians on him also implies that he continues to trust his instinct and avoid steps what run-of-the-mill types would have. Therefore, my understanding of Modi’s ‘Invite SAARC heads of nations’ is actually knocking at an window under which his government wants to ‘regain’ some of the ground lost in recent years in pursuing the Indian diplomatic path and guiding the national security policy. 

At the same time, Team Modi is cautious about the hype – knowing very well that the hype would only raise expectations. Modi could be sure of his numbers and his confidence, but he is perhaps not quite sure of Nawaz Sharif. How much will a Pakistani ruler deliver, especially the one who suffered an effortless coup in October 1999?

A master at symbolism, something perhaps he excels even better than Atal Behari Vajpayee, Modi wants to give out a message that his anti-Pakistan rhetoric and ‘Mia-Musharraf’ bashing were all political and has ended with elections. Now, he wants to be seen as someone who delivered. Peace with Pakistan, albeit temporarily or even a semblance of peace with Pakistan could be great booster for Modi’s international acceptability.
While Modi counseled by his select team of advisors is weighing a supposed win-win situation in the event the guest from Pakistan for the first time join the coronation of Hindutva icon-turned-development protagonist; Nawaz Sharif has his reasons to reach out to Modi. It was on this backdrop, Sharif made the first call to congratulate Narendra Modi for his electoral victory on May 16, 2014.

I had interviewed a liberal Pakistani writer, Mobarak Haider in March during his trip to Delhi on a private visit. According to Haider, also an author of best seller ‘Taliban: the Tip of a Holy Iceberg’, a sizeable section of “liberal Pakistanis” feel a “strong hardliner Indian government” can be a counter weight to growing Talibanism in Pakistan. “Many intellectuals and liberal Pakistanis think a strong Hindu hardliner government in Delhi (that is one headed by Modi) could be in Pakistan’s interest in its battle against Taliban”. But he also hastened to add that such a view is held by a “microscopic minority” as people are generally apprehensive of retaliation.

So far, Modi, even his detractors would admit, has made only right noises about his responsibility and the need to ensure inclusive development. This has given hopes to Nawaz Sharif, who is also a hardcore politician and someone well guided by the consideration of commerce. Therefore, Sharif too wants to make forward movement with India eyeing certain goals especially on two fronts – peace on strategic front and to promote trade and commerce. Pakistan economy is in doldrums and therefore it needs a vast market place like India.
Self with Mobarak Haider
There are a few compulsions also. In effect, there’s reason to believe that a Hindu hardliner regime in Delhi would pressurize Pakistan to understand that “for too long extremists were operating from Pakistani soil”. Thus, to check mate ‘exposure’ by India, Islamabad would be compelled to “squeeze” the Talibani network in Pakistan and prevent them from planning and executing attacks across the border. Now, it will not be erroneous to say that a ‘weak’ management of terror related matters by India in the last decade under Manmohan Singh has not only harmed India but possibly also Pakistan.  Perhaps even the Pakistani side realizes that there is need to fine tune its military and counter-terror doctrine. Therefore, perhaps, Haider puts it well, that Pakistan’s ‘new army doctrine’ for the first time in 65 years has shifted its focus from the eastern border to “internal enemy in the northwest”. “Although, the Pakistan army assures that we shall keep India as our Enemy No.1, yet the admission that the enemy within is more dangerous at the moment, may well prove to be a turning point in our history,” he says. 

It is also understandable that as Talibanisation poses a serious problem afflicting Pakistan. In fact, not long ago stepping up the pressure, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did some plain speaking urging Pakistan to act immediately against the military groups and powerful Talibani network in Pakistan. “You can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours,” Clinton had told Pakistan.  On its part for long, India has been raising the issue of Pakistani elements aiding and abetting terrorism. But it is significant to note that now the US has also started talking on these matters. The Talibans are largely seen as responsible for cross-border strikes in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan adding to the woes in the entire region. Modi has struck a good chord with Afghan ruler apparently, now he needs to create a personal harmony with Nawaz Sharif. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

“Modi has unique ability to read people’s pulse”

(I was interviewed by senior colleague,Jose Kavi for Matters India website on Modi phenomenon and BJP's historic victory)

New Delhi: Nirendra Dev was flown into Ahmedabad, Gujarat, within 24 hours after a train coach was torched in Godhra killing 59 Hindu pilgrims on February 27, 2002. He was then a correspondent of the Press Trust of India, the country’s top news agency, and stayed in Gujarat for weeks to cover the subsequent Hindu-Muslim riots that killed hundreds and changed the sociopolitical history of the western Indian state.

Dev, who was born and brought up in northeastern India, found himself in a myriad of conflicting situations and encountered many incidents that changed his perception of India and the forces that really drive the country. “It was difficult to filter rumors from facts,” he recalls. He delved deep into the mindset of those indulging in sectarian violence and its victims. The result was the book, “Godhra, A Journey into Mayhem.”
One of his discoveries was Narendra Modi and his leadership qualities. Modi, who helped the Bharatiya Janata Party record its best electoral performance so far on May 16, 2014, was an unknown leader then. It was only months ago that the son of a tea stall owner was elected the chief minister of Gujarat. Dev says he could then sense Modi would one day emerge as a national leader and change the country’s fortune.
A few hours after it became amply clear that Modi would become India’s next prime minister Dev shared with Matters India about his perception of Modi and what he expects from the new Modi government.
MATTERS INDIA: You were one of the first persons to spot the leadership of Narendra Modi, way back in 2002. How do you feel now that Modi has managed a landslide unprecedented victory for BJP?
NIRENDRA DEV: It will be unfair to say I was the first to spot the ‘leadership’ qualities of Narendra Modi. Don’t forget that in December 2002, 50 million Gujaratis and, of course non-Gujaratis, elected Modi giving a landslide victory for BJP. Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee spotted the talent and said the Gujarat experiment was worth emulating. Then, was Vajpayee pushing a Hindutva agenda? In Mumbai, Urdu scholar S Shikooh Sahib had told me almost the same thing that Modi would be projected nationwide and would do well politically.
But yes, I also could read the man. His ability to read the pulse of his people was unique. At times, I remember arguing that if Modi was a Hindu zealot then the entire Gujarat state was. Media and Congress party called Gujarat a laboratory. But Congress banked on a former RSS man Shankersinh Vaghela in Gujarat. In past 12 years, the Congress has not changed — Vaghela is still their leader in that state.
Why did India succumb to Modi mania?
Now, that’s the real question. It’s the hunger for change. Modi and BJP played ‘dream merchants’ at a time when people’s mood was downslide and everyone even in villages was feeling demoralized. I know about 50 people, relatives and friends in UP, Bihar and Bengal who have lost jobs in the past 10 years. Modi represented different aspirations to different sets of people and perhaps that’s the yardstick of a mass appeal of a leader. The ‘developmental plank’ ostensibly for twin reasons – first exposed the ‘decade-long misgovernance’ of the Congress-led UPA and secondly, it gave a makeover to his image vis-a-vis 2002.
Is India witnessing now what Germany witnessed in early 1930s, the euphoria for Nazis and other fascist forces? What are the signs that our country is not heading that way?
Sincerely, I hate this comparison. In Singapore, one ruler once said, there should be a trade between democracy or freedom and discipline. We also need it. What’s our freedom today? In Kerala and Bengal, people hate to work. And if you are bringing Hitler-Nazis comparison, I have said earlier, it’s advisable not to play the fear card. The Indian Constitution is too strong. Judiciary is strong. The President of India can dismiss any government. Rather I feel more powers must be vested in President’s office. A popular government can be put on well-check list then.

Coming back to Modi, what prompted you to write one of the earliest biographies of him?
The book on 2002 riots, “Godhra- A Journey to Mayhem,” came out genuinely. When a journalist decides to write a book, he is excited about the subject. He likes it or he is annoyed with it, disturbed with it. The communalism really disturbs me. I hate fundamentalism of all sorts. The Indian ‘secularism’ propagated by the Congress and Left and even parties of Mulayam Singh and Mamata Banerjee is also a Fundamentalism. They divide people. Muslims get 5 percent job quota, bigger amount of scholarship. Then, will it be wrong then if his Hindu classmate hates the Muslim boy. Our good friend, Mobarak Haider, a liberal Pakistani writer, says the Congress and the Left pampered the pathological Muslim narcissism, making Muslims more of a minority.
How did you get interested in Modi? You were born and brought up in northeastern India. What prompted you to write one of the earliest biographies of Modi?
Actually the incidents of 2002 made me interested in Gujarat and its principal protagonist. The Godhra train carnage was the start. There are various versions to that tragedy. Today in 2014, nothing has been brought out substantially about that incident. For 12 years, Congress tried to fix individual responsibility on Modi and thought that would ensure protection of ‘secularism’ in the country. The Congress style of looking at everything through prism of vote-capture mechanism has made Modi the leader that he is today.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What does the Mandate 2014 mean?

This blog is being written on the caveat that the election results would be in tune with the Exit polls findings.

On a macro level, firstly  What does the mandate mean to politics of Aam Admi Party? On a positive note, AAP could break the entry barriers for politics telling the middle class that hating politics is no solution to the problems. 
Arrogance and absence of agenda for AAP have their major lapses.
Moral lesson: 
Don’t dream a moon, u r Arvind Kejriwal – not a JP or even Anna Hazare!

 What does the mandate mean to politics of BJP (new phenomenon on Modi-centric Rajnath-Modi jugalbandi)
BJP is already into 'Modi-fied' structure as Rajnath and other BJP leaders had to air-dash to conclave with 'PM-designate' Narendra Modi.

For Congress – the big message will be a rejection for dynasty…
But one can say, for Congress, which suffered defeats in December 2013 assembly polls ….. to hope for a revival under Rahul Gandhi was going to be like pinning jelly to a wall. 

Should not and will not Congress regret statements from leaders like Digvijay Singh, who did not hesitate to insult Muslims (not to speak of Indians in general) by addressing Osama bin Laden as 'Osamaji'. Someone also addressed fugitive don as 'Mister Dawood'. 

The mandate 2014 could have interesting impacts on the life and career of individuals like Arvind Kejriwal, Mulayam-Akhilesh, Mayawati (is she a new Paswan in making), Anna Hazare, M M Joshi etc etc

Now, on the national perspective the mandate 2014 offers a few hard lessons. India has been essentially good at resolving the problems. In the past, it has braved through a few crises. The debacle with China in the sixties, the emergency and suspension of fundamental rights in 1970s, politics of opportunism, terrorism and corruption in 1980s, the economic doldrums of 1991 and later the political instability. Each time the country has rebounded emphatically because we Indians may not be good at anticipating the problems but by nature are good at fixing them. Thus, in terms of the mandate this year, India has shown its appetite for reinvention and to rekindle itself for a march towards greater glory.
Gujarat: Road to Godhra

The last decade has been a decade of misgovernance. The corruption went berserk and the trend was in the name of stopping BJP – that is SICKULARISM (distorted version of true and genuine secularism), any body could get away with anything.
But the elections provided an opportunity to size up the polity. That we Indians are beginning to ‘correct’ our mistakes and lapses is certainly a good step forward.
For a change, the heaven would have perhaps fallen had India not voted the manner it did. (Exit polls findings)....
The mandate was not so much decisive for a party like BJP, but it was more for a persona called Narendra Modi. The critics had dubbed it as an endorsement of Hitler style of his functioning. While one could debate that allegation, it goes without saying that after a spell of policy paralysis of 10 years, the countrymen and women were looking for a strong government.
This is why my bet is on Narendra Modi and not the old guards like L K Advani, who too has or at least had an image of a hardliner Hindutva but when in government showed the performance was far from satisfactory!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What has gone wrong with the Congress?

In March 2013 Sonia Gandhi created history by leading the Indian National Congress at a stretch for 15 years. In 2014, now its 16 years and she is still going strong....but not really!

Now her party and perhaps even her family is limping into one major political crisis after the other. The mandate 2014 has now been turned into a battle against the domination of her family. 
Madam and her dummy!

But for political commentators what matters more is what's really wrong with Congress. Sadly for Sonia, weeks before the Mandate 2014 actually got into process, the Congress minister and a trusted lieutenant of Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh asked journos when the turnout was poor for a press conference: “have you all given up on our government?”
Lately, Ramesh tried to do some plain speaking and said Congress will pay heavy price for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. The BJP leaders endorse Ramesh but only partly saying Congress debacle will be nationwide. 
Sonia-Rahul's worst critic Narendra Modi is devastatingly aggressive when he asserts in rallies after rallies: 'Ma-Beta ka sarkar toh gaya (The mother-son duo-led UPA government is gone". Many Congress leaders are on defensive and the likes of Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, another family loyalist, has already mooted the idea of backing a third front regime.

Even the western media has ended the honeymoon with Congress president, her son Rahul and her ‘chosen’ Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh when unhesitatingly Time magazine even called Manmohan Singh ‘an underachiever’.

“The Congress president has undoubtedly a challenging task in reorganising her party machinery whatever be the outcome of 2014 elections. Her bigger challenge lies in deciding what role her son, Rahul Gandhi would exactly like to play,” said Sunil Shastri, son of illustrious Lal Bahadur Shastri, who quit Congress in December 2013 to join BJP.
So, what has gone wrong with the grand old party?

In the last 16 years, actually Sonia, Italian-born Christian widow, stormed through turbulent politics marred by aggressive nationalism of Hindutva forces, BJP and the most potent rival Narendra Modi. Even her worst critic would agree that she has held the Congress party together and more importantly led the party to an unexpected victory in 2009 and earlier in 2004 --- when amid hypes of ‘India Shining’ campaign of BJP, the pundits had almost written off both herself and her party. 
“The Congress base in shrinking…,” an upbeat but ‘over confident’ L K Advani had said on the eve of elections in 2004. But when the results poured in on May 13, 2004; it was Sonia Shining instead.
She also created a history when she declined to take up the mantle of prime ministership and handed over the reins to economist Dr Manmohan Singh.
It was truly an unique experiment for Sonia, Congress party and the country. But there were inherent contradictions in that so called 'sacrifice' of 'Saint-Sonia'. And in retrospective analysis, one can say, that CONTRADICTION has brought in Congress DOWNFALL. 
Congress never had duel power centres in recent past. And the country was given a pro-liberalisation Prime Minister supported by Leftists. THE WORST OF IT WAS MANMOHAN SINGH'S SILENCE AND PASSIVE APPROACH. 
While privately, she and her coterie including son Rahul rejoiced the 'power' they had in the last decade with less accountability-apron attached to it; this heralded the real decline. Thus, many Sonia admirers too find it difficult today to give Congress any credit of providing a credible governance.
The serious credibility crisis for Congress today is the UPA government in the centre has not set any example of performance and delivery though under Sonia's personal stewardship a number of welfare measures were taken and path-breaking legislations like the Right to Information Act enacted.
More seriously, more often the family saga remained her enigma. Son-in—law Robert Vadra made news for wrong reasons and nobody really knows what her inheritor of the legacy, Rahul Gandhi, is capable of or what he wishes to do.
Even die-hard Congress supporters in UP today lament that Rahul Gandhi's hesitation in not taking the mantle as party's PM-candidate was only a blunder.
In governance the party had worst taste of corruption menace. There have been half-a-dozen serious scandal of economic offence the ruling establishment has faced. The official auditor CAG had alluded to kickbacks and dubious deals in the allocation of 2G  telecom licences, leading to a  US$32 billion loss. Corruption on a massive scale was also alleged in the organizing of the Commonwealth Games in 2010, Adarsh Housing scam in Mumbai left widows of war victims anguished and there was Coalgate unde the very nose of 'honest' Dr Manmohan Singh. There were few others like privatization of Delhi airport.
These scandals resulted in a round of resignations and the imprisonment of top politicians and ministers. The fungus of corruption has eaten into all spheres of life in India!!
There was, however, no corrective measure. Neither Sonia nor Manmohan Singh gave clear indication of curbing the corruption malady. 
Then nothing was done to attack the 'twins’ menaces of sycophancy and durbar culture. Sonia continued to run the party surrounded by ‘yes men and women’ and no accountability was  fixed on Rahul Gandhi for failing to deliver Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Campaign Stratagem of Team Modi

A Muslim shoe seller in Agra and a ‘saffron clad’ sadhu in Etah, a hub of Lodhs and Yadavs, actually summed up the differences in content, style and quality of campaign strategies of BJP, Congress and other parties.

“The Congress can revive itself in UP provided it has a ‘Amit Shah’ and someone who is also less seen on television,” remarked shoe-seller Javed Ali. His argument was in the face of a resurgent BJP onslaught it is the Congress alone which could fight and stem the rise of the saffron party as two other forces Samajwadi and BSP were too weak and too small. 

However, his regret was Congress never tried to give a fight. Congress leaders, he says, wanted to fight Narendra Modi with Arvind Kejriwal even as several leaders only thought mere appearance on television could help the Congress.
Agra Shoe-seller Javed Ali

The decision not to project Rahul Gandhi as PM-candidate was a blunder to the extent that you were starting a football match with two goals already scored against you, said Ali. 
I tried to argue with him that the efforts on the part of the Congress leadership and especially Rahul’s mom was to ‘protect him’. I repeated the same argument when I spoke on these lines with a motor mechanic in Aligarh

The day I visited Aligarh, elections were over and so the motor mechanic Aslam Ayoob Khan sounded more candid. His diagnosis while BJP foot soldiers interacted intensely since January 2014, no other party cadres were seen in action till March. “I was trying to follow Modi’s rallies from December itself. The feedback even I had given BJP team was apparently being referred by Modi in his speeches. Like he would ask, whether in last 10 years, any youngster got a job. I am a Muslim and would hate to vote for Modi, but it is also true, we did not get jobs,” he had said.

Subsequently, the hermit at Etah with a BJP campaign material around his neck, Sadhu Jaydev Prakash (see photograph)  also spoke at length of BJP’s campaign style in Etah, Etawah and Hathras regions. “I am a sadhu but they used me to be their booth worker. We also traveled into remote villages in ‘Modi-vans’ and spent time with villagers”. Thus, he claims, it was in one of those villages (Hussainpur) that he first heard, “aaj se hamara slogan hoga…..acchey din aney waley haen (Good days are coming)….That simply electrified workers as well as voters”.

Master Strokes:

# The slogan ‘acchey din aney waley haen (Good days are coming)’ generated hopes across the citizenry.
# Modi’s targeted strategy to appeal to youths whether they got jobs in last 10 years also paid dividends.
# Party coined different slogans and unlike the general feeling these appealed to all sections.
# Varanasi was a tactical endorsement of Hindutva sentiment
# Booth level planning by Amit Shah’s team helped


The hermit admits, Modi and BJP played ‘dream merchants’ at a time when people’s mood was downslide and everyone even in villages were feeling demoralized.
Thus, he says, BJP campaign managers also cleverly coined different slogans aimed at different sections. In retrospect, one can only give credit for such detailed and meticulous planning to work hard and hours and days of interaction at the ground zero.

Now, what is vitally important is Narendra Modi himself and hundreds of his admirers knew that 2014 general election was not only a mere opportunity, it was the ONLY opportunity to strike. There would not be a second chance with him. If he failed to deliver 2014 mandate to party, BJP would not only deny him permanently another opportunity to be party’s Prime Ministerial candidate yet again, but perhaps his continuation as Chief Minister of Gujarat would be unsustainable. Modi was thus never going to let this opportunity go wasted.
Hence an elaborate and multi-pronged campaign strategy was worked out in details.

Firstly, the electoral success of Gujarat was always at the backdrop. In Gujarat, Modi has been an image of Hindutva, a development man with no non-sense approach in guiding the bureaucracy and someone associated with the parochial but essential Gujarati pride.
So the primary task was to have that ‘image’ planned well at the national scale. Of course, the Congress-led government of the day in the centre and various state governments gave ample opportunity to Team Modi to make the maximum of the given situation.

Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley and BJP president Rajnath Singh spent hours trying to evolve a concrete and near fool-proof plan for each state, each regions in the case of large states like UP and Andhra Pradesh and also district and at later stage booth-level management plans. In October 2013 itself, Modi had underlined the need of booth-level planning to turn the anti-Congress mood into BJP’s favour.
Most of its rivals if not all have clamoured against use of ‘huge corporate funding’ to build up Modi’s image, but none really matched the hard work and meticulous planning worked out by Team Modi.  

So how the plans were executed? A near free hand was given to Amit Shah and even party president Rajnath Singh, according to BJP workers, readily played second fiddle for matters related to Uttar Pradesh. Party insiders say contrary to an impression created Rajnath Singh was trying to push his fellow caste-leaders like Jagdambika Pal and Gen (Retd) V K Singh, the leadership had moved only after due consultations between Rajnath, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi.

For UP, particularly, after initial round of trial and error strategies; ultimately the party banked on region/district wise planning. In the process, in western UP, the party made good use of polarized atmosphere after Muzaffarnagar riots. About a lakh RSS foot soldiers were fanned across the state and asked to focus on booth level works. And perhaps our protagonist Sadhu Jaydev Prakash figures in that list.