The second week of June 2013 was extra-ordinary for Indian politics. For, it was in this week that we witnessed the fall of two prominent politicians of the country, thanks to their suicidal steps. Yes, we are speaking about L K Advani and Nitish Kumar, two key NDA men, who quite unbelievably, decided to dig the grave for their own parties and alliance just ten months ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls. These two people, in an extraordinary display of hypocrisy in the guise of moral superiority, ensured their fast exit from prominence.
Advani and Nitish Kumar's surprising acts
It is quite surprising that these two men attacked Narendra Modi after the latter was elevated in the BJP's ranks ahead of the next big fight against a beleaguered adversary. The 86-year-old Advani threw tantrums to express his displeasure with the decision while the JD(U) leader, despite saying initially that it was an internal issue of the BJP, terminated the alliance within a week.
What were these two ‘opponents' of Modi trying to achieve? And what did they eventually achieve apart from the media focus?
In 2002 Advani was Home Minister, Nitish was Raiway Minister, why were they silent?
If Advani and Kumar are indeed so perturbed by Modi's divisive personality and a fear that the Gujarat CM could lead the country towards riots, then why did not they raise a word against him in 2002? Advani was the Deputy Prime Minister and Union Home Minister at that time while Kumar was the Railway Minister. Why didn't they condemn the Modi administration for its failure in stemming the pogroms in the wake of the fire in Sabarmati Express in early 2002 even as they held top positions in the government?
Advani contradicted his autobiography
Advani said in his autobiography My Country My Life (pages 758-759) Life that he resisted the pressure to remove Modi from the CM's post after the riots for he strongly believed that such a step wouldn't resolve the issue and instead the real solution should be searched. He said a sustained campaign was on against Modi then and the state police, unlike what was being propagated, saved life of a large number of Muslims during the riots. Advani was proud about his decision to defend Modi for there has not been a single act of violence in the state since 2002 and instead, made a spectacular socio-economic progress in this period under Modi's leadership.
Modi wanted to resign, party didn't accept
Advani said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, while they were on their way to Goa from New Delhi to attend the BJP's National Executive in 2002, told him Modi should have at least offered to resign after the riots (page 843). Advani refused to agree but told Modi about the idea to offer resignation at Goa. The latter agreed and said at the national executive: "Nevertheless, as head of the government, I take responsibility for what has happened in my state. I am ready to tender my resignation."
According to Advani, the top leaders of the party asked Modi not to resign. Late Pramod mahajan was heard saying: "Savaal hi nahin uthta" (There is no question of him quitting). Advani personally was pleased with the development and said: "History has indeed vindicated the party's decision not to ask Modi to resign."
In another place, the senior leader said he was indeed happy that the BJP had a democratic procedure of succession unlike the Congress and there will be no dearth of leadership even after he and Vajpayee exited the scene. If he was really elated over this fact, then why all the drama over Modi's emergence as the next big BJP leader?
On Sunday, Advani was heard regretting the elevation of Modi as the cause behind the break in the alliance with the JD(U).
Preach what you earnestly believe Mr Advani, or don't write what you don't actually feel.
Nitish Kumar said Cong was overstressing 2002 riots
Speaking on Kumar, he had remarked in 2005 that the Congress was overstressing the 2002 riots to gain political mileage by trying to corner Modi and should bring up a new issue. He said the gimmick was being overdone. Even two years before that, he had openly praised Modi's leadership and was hoping that the people of India would get something good under his leadership. If it was so, then how did a difference in basic ideology evolve suddenly in eight years? The people of Gujarat didn't reject Modi since 2003 as he won two more elections, then why Kumar suddenly made a U-turn?
Insecurity complex is the cause of the disease
The actual reason is that both Advani and Kumar are currently suffering from an insecurity complex. While Advani's fear is about losing relevance in the BJP and NDA, Kumar is deeply worried about the anti-incumbency mood gaining momentum in his state. He chose to follow the examples of other east Indian chief ministers like Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik who dumped national parties to cement their own grip in the state.
People may think Nitish Kumar decided to ditch BJP out of a jealousy for Modi, but the actual fact is that he is more concerned to maintain his position in Bihar and not lose the prestige battle to a reviving RJD. Te man did not want to jeopardise his own party's interest in Bihar for the cause of Modi's ascent to the throne in Delhi in 2014. Alliance with Modi will hurt his Muslim and Yadav votes, Nitish believes strongly. The PM's post is far-off and Nitish doesn't want to let go the CM's post either. The story is same with some other leaders from eastern India who are trying to form a federal front.
These leaders are very much worried about the steadily gathering anti-incumbency in their respective states, thanks to some obvious reasons, and are trying to project their braver side by rejecting national parties.
But both Advani and Nitish took too much risk and might not find the game easier again. As far as Modi is concerned, he would have loved the adversaries' self-goals. It gives him a further push above.