Nobody has asked so far what Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti of Bundelkhand was doing in an urban constituency like Delhi. She isn’t a popular leader outside her constituency; there aren’t too many voters from her Nishad community in Delhi and her party isn’t projecting her as an alternative to AK-49, even if she loves to shoot from the lip.
What then was a novice, a rank outsider like Niranjan Jyoti doing in Delhi? Of course, she was out there on a mission to generate a controversy that would fast-track her career and position her as the Hindutva brigade’s patron Sadhvi in her backyard Uttar Pradesh.
There is an election due in UP, where the BJP has been trying to continuously upgrade the profile of some of its leaders by positioning them as rabble-rousers in the mould of Yogi Adityanath and Sanjeev Baliyan, accused of inciting violence in Muzaffarnagar.
In the highly-competitive and cluttered politics of UP, the easiest shortcut to fame is a bit of notoriety and a lot of minority bashing. Niranjan Jyoti is simply pursuing the BJP model that catapulted some of her predecessors into the big league.
The BJP wants her to climb the popularity charts quickly in UP so that the party can unleash her as its OBC-woman face, a quick substitute to Uma Bharati, in the Assembly polls. Not a word of her Ramzaade speech was from outside the script written for her.
Niranjan Jyoti has the blessings of BJP chief Amit Shah in UP politics. Her rise was foreseen and planned by her mentor long ago to fill the void in the state BJP leadership. Her ascent had begun when she was picked up as a minister in spite of being a greenhorn in politics.
Now that she has accomplished her mission, it is unlikely the BJP would ask her to resign. Niranjan Jyoti has endeared herself to the core constituency of the BJP by spewing venom against the ‘seculars’. Any sign of retreat would now be counterproductive.
The opposition may not understand this; it has actually walked into the trap laid by the BJP. Even if it realizes the BJP game plan, the Opposition has walked too deep into the battle to back down immediately. So, it will continue to stick to its doomed position in the Parliament against the government. Only wishful thinking could have prompted the Opposition’s demand for an apology by the Prime Minister. Just a cursory analysis of the PM’s politics would have obviated any such misgiving. Modi, as we know very well, has his own views on the subject of apology since the 2002 riots.
It is also futile to expect Modi to blink on being stared down by the media. He has weathered bigger storms in his career and is known to protect his colleagues even if the entire world becomes their enemy. Nihalchand Meghwal was not asked to step down after his name was linked to a rape probe; Smriti Irani wasn’t summoned for an explanation after the controversy over her academic qualification and VK Singh got away unscathed in spite of tweeting against the appointment of Dalbeer Suhag as the Army chief. Modi has a simple policy: he is the sole arbiter of the destiny of his colleagues.
Here are the key takeaways from this controversy and predictions for the future.
- Niranjan Jyoti has cleared the notoriety test. She will soon get a rousing welcome in UP and become one of the prominent leaders of the state BJP.
- Modi will not even talk about the controversy again, his advice to party leaders to not speak out of turn is all we would get from him. He may have sacked Niranjan Jyoti for incompetence some day. But now that she has turned into a prestige issue for the party, the opposition should not even dream of her resignation.
- Contrary to popular perception, we would hear many more controversial bordering on communal remarks from BJP leaders. Adityanath, Baliyan and Niranjan Jyoti have once again proved that bad is beautiful in the BJP.
Published Date: Dec 04, 2014 15:33 PM | Updated Date: Dec 04, 2014 15:34 PM