Can Modi really change?
The reason of the defeat is still unclear. It could be Mohan Bhagwat’s statements on reservation (Amit Shah has already denied this though) or it could be the people of Bihar were not comfortable with not having a local face to the BJP campaign. Or it could be a miscalculation of the caste arithmetic as the BJP is claiming. Or it could just be the cow. Whatever the reason may be, the prime minister will now be forced to introspect.
The introspection may reveal to him that he is at the crossroads. One path has him continuing his allegiance to the RSS agenda. This will lead to BJP losing the support of the people of India and hurting the international image of the country as a business destination.
This process has already started and is picking up momentum. My guess is that this voice of dissent will keep escalating unless the prime minister and his ministers intervene in a meaningful way and reassure the people that his government is for development and not Hindutva politics.
A major part of his development pitch, and what he has focused on over the last one-and-a-half years, is overseas investments. If he fails to make India an investment hub, he will fail to achieve his dreams of having changed the course of India. Of course, he will most likely lose the next general elections as well. Just like the BJP did in 2004 with their "India Shining" campaign.
But Mr Modi is an ambitious man. And this is not a bad thing. He wants to be in history books. And for the right reasons.
Now, for the second path for him. This one leads the prime minister to shun the RSS and distance himself from his shakha background and to follow the road of development and growth, and be a leader of the people and the country, and not of the "organisation". And I am sure the prime minister can be an amazing leader. We have seen signs of his hardwork and bright ideas quite a bit since he was sworn in. I think the Swachh Bharat campaign and Clean Ganga are fantastic initiatives as is his attempt to clean up red-tapism.
This shunning of the RSS might seem like the easier or less rocky path, but it’s not for several reasons. One must not forget that Narendra Modi’s first encounter with the RSS was when he was only an eight year-old-boy. He was very impressed with Laxmanrao Imamdar, who later became his mentor. He was indoctrinated in an RSS shakha when he was 19-years-old as a "Sangh Swayamsevak". As a scriptwriter, I have learnt, a character’s childhood defines choices in an adult’s life. Will that be the case for our PM?
"The RSS Shakhas mean business and consider themselves the most effective and time-tested instrument for the moulding of men on patriotic lines", according to the "Vision" page on the RSS official website.
His RSS influence is deep-rooted and a part of his identity. Isn’t it too much to expect a 65-year-old man to change his intrinsic belief system?
Also, he knows the RSS can be a bitter enemy and its followers are fierce. And alienating them might bring about his downfall. These are the two paths available to him. And he knows it. He’s a clever politician and a master strategist. But for the first time, he’s faced with a dilemma that has no easy solution. It seems either way will cause him great loss.
The prime minister has to make a choice. His loyalty to the RSS, or his love for his country? A man who gave up his wife and family because he wanted to serve his country should logically choose the country over all else. I feel quite sorry for Mr Modi. more