Rarely have I seen an explosion like the one that followed the elevation of Narendra Modi as chief of the BJP’s campaign committee. The reality is that leadership issues at the top were never really resolved after the retirement of Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was a godfather within the organisation, and even RSS kept a respectful silence. BJP’s battle at the top was further complicated by allies and besides the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, few would risk a hard Hindutva stance.
The political reality is that if Modi did not take the assistance of the RSS, he would not make it and be in line for the top job. You can attribute motives to L K Advani, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha, but all sensed that the JD(U) would walk out as it cannot defy the minority votes in the state.
There is little talk of growth and development as Amit Shah visits Uttar Pradesh and the objective is obvious. We are going back 20 years in implementing something which may appeal to the VHP, Bajrang Dal, Baba Ramdev and a host of sadhus and saints, but it has little relevance for the masses. Uttar Pradesh is very different today than it was 20 years ago, and both SP and BSP, to protect their interests, will fight the BJP tooth and nail. In the end, the major benefit may well swing towards the Congress. All this may happen as the election campaign for 2014 takes off in the state, but a communal divide and a religious or caste conflict leaves very few winners.
All you have to do is to switch on a foreign channel and see the turmoil in North Africa, Middle East and parts of southern Europe. See the havoc it has caused in individual countries and shattered global trade prospects and brought many a country to total destruction. Look at the extreme cases and see how a combination of all these factors have wrecked an oil-rich country like Libya, and look at the daily genocide taking place in Syria. There is trouble across the world as I write this article. A million people have come on the streets in 10 cities of Brazil. We are living through very difficult times and to destabilise the system today is an invitation to anarchy and chaos.
At home, we have a Himalayan tsunami and casualties will run into thousands as town after town is being destroyed by a deluge which is unprecedented and it almost seems as if the mountains are bursting and the river destroying everything in its path. Five cities have been destroyed, and is anyone safe in Uttarakhand? News is trickling in about the remote areas of Himachal Pradesh. What a terrible tragedy has struck our country. I have no words to express my deep grief.
Life goes on, as it must, in the Champions Trophy in the UK. Captain M S Dhoni and our new superstars do us proud and we are in the final to play England. The remarkable thing has been the decisive manner in which we have won all six matches and no words can truly express the superlative performances of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, and the splendid support given by Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Kartik and while Suresh Raina failed at the bat, his brilliant catching and fielding have swung many a match in our favour. Ravindra Jadeja has become our superstar, and all our three fast bowlers are as good as the best of any team.
The Dow Jones declines by 500 points and markets across the world take a tumble. The dollar hardens, while crude prices drop sharply, and while this is very good news, the bad news is that the rupee will weaken further. I don’t think we are looking at a chaotic situation, but there is nervousness about what the future holds.
Nehru is a former Union minister.