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What Will PM Modi Leave Behind? Prez’s Press Secy Explores In New Book

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By: Rajgopal
Updated: July 20, 2022 16:03
Veteran journalist Ajay Singh, the Press Secretary to the President of India, and his new book ‘The Architect of the New BJP: How Narendra Modi Transformed the Party’
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NEW DELHI: What Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi Leave Behind When He Moves On? Veteran journalist Ajay Singh, the Press Secretary to the President of India, in his book ‘The Architect of the New BJP: How Narendra Modi Transformed the Party’ explores this question by tracing the journey of PM Modi.

A tectonic shift happened in Indian politics in May 2014 when then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi shifted his base from Gandhinagar to Delhi. The Bharatiya Janata Party had won the general elections handsomely and Narendra Modi was in Delhi to take charge as prime minister.

With his immense popularity among the masses, Modi led the party to a massive victory. After three decades any party had got a mandate of its own to rule from Delhi. The BJP had won 282 seats, 10 more than the majority mark.

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A lot was written about this huge mandate. Many concluded that the charisma of Modi and the gloomy political environment created by the mismanagement of the UPA helped the BJP sail through. The same analysis and story were repeated in 2019 when the BJP got a bigger mandate with 303 seats. Never before had this happened.

Barely anyone was making any effort to understand the underlying reasons for this tectonic shift in Indian politics. And more importantly, hardly any attempt was made to trace the journey of the man who was at the centre of it all: Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This is a huge gap which Singh tried to fill with his new book. Singh takes the reader back to the 1970s to establish how the transformation in BJP did not happen overnight and Modi was laying a strong foundation for it back then when he was not even a part of the BJP. In the 70s, he was a pracharak in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The book recounts two events from Gujarat to throw light on its organisational skills of Modi. In August 1979, Morbi town in Saurashtra was heavily flooded when the dam on the Machchhu river broke. About 25000 people had lost their lives. The situation was so bad that the state government had almost given up the relief work. Young pracharak Modi led the relief work carried out by RSS swayamsevaks.

Five years later, in 1984, Modi was instrumental in organising Khedu, a protest against the government rules which prohibited the farmers of Gujarat from selling their produce in Rajasthan. Similarly, the farmers of Rajasthan were not allowed to sell their produce in Gujarat. Modi successfully organised the protest in Gujarat.

Later his organisational skills were on full public display through Lal Krishna Advani’s Ayodhya Rath Yatra and Murali Manohar Joshi’s Ekta Yatra.

Explaining the significance of his organisational skills, Singh writes “Much is written about Modi’s politics and ideology. It is naively assumed that his rise has solely to do with Hindutva plus economic development – often called ‘Moditva’. But this view ignores the methods he deployed to broaden the base of his organization, the BJP, and helped to connect it with more and more people.”

Much of what Modi does today can be traced back by decades. He introduced the IT wing to the party much before it was a fancy word. While working in Gujarat in the late 80s and early 90s, he emphasised purchasing land and building permanent offices in every district. From his early days, he instructed every party office to maintain registers with a record of party members, their addresses and contact numbers.

The book explains how economic development has always been an integral part of Modi’s vision. From the day he took over as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, he emphasised bringing in reforms to accelerate the ease of doing business. He went to the extent of risking his government for bringing reforms in the power sector in Gujarat.

Modi told his officials that Gujarat cannot progress if girls are left behind, so special efforts were made to protect and educate girl children.

Modi will hang up his boots one day. Questions are asked on numerous occasions about what will happen to the BJP once Modi moves on.

“He (PM Narendra Modi) has created a unique harmony between the government and the organization, which never existed before. This predominant political position is unlikely to be unsettled in a post-Modi phase, as he will be leaving behind a robust political structure that will keep on creating its icons of the time,” writes Ajay Singh.

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