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NOT 2024, BUT THE ACTUAL FIGHT NOW IS FOR 2029!
Editor-In-Chief of First India, Jagdeesh Chandra, in The New JC Show, speaks about the massive victory of BJP in the Assembly polls of four states and what it means for the future political realm of the nation and all political parties.
Chandra also analyses how people now don’t vote for Modi only for LS polls but also for the State Assemblies, how the strategy of Modi-Shah changes with time & issues at hand and the relationship of Yogi Adityanath with the high command...(Part I)
The main theme of The New JC Show is that the fight is not for 2024 now, but for 2029. What does that mean?
Jagdeesh Chandra: The point is that it is a sweeping statement which only indicates the towering image of Modi and Amit Shah and failure of all Opposition parties including Congress, SP and others. I can see it clearly that the fight is no longer for 2024.
Now leaders in Delhi have to plan for 2029. If the team ModiShah remains then it is sure that 2024 is in their hands. Now, the next milestone is 2029. That is the theme of the entire story.
What is the political message and practical effect of the five Assembly elections where BJP has won 4 states?
The messages from this win are multi-fold. Firstly, Narendra Modi is the real hero of the nation and it has been proved once again.
There is no match for Narendra Modi’s face and Amit Shah’s hard work and strategy. Second message of this victory is that 15-20 crore people still place Modi adjacent to God, since he can turn the tables at the last moment.
Another message is that Central leadership is now making party win in states too and people have been voting on Modi’s face in states too. Local CMs have become irrelevant as all the work is being handled by central teams.
CMs only have one responsibility, that of campaigning. There is no role in decision-making process of state leadership and central leadership’s new experiment has been a superhit in this election.
Another message is that traditional political discourse like inflation, unemployment etc have become irrelevant.
Such issues can make people think on them but cannot convert their votes in favour of other parties. Modi goes, makes promises, attacks opposition, targets its leaders and the situation changes completely. One more message of this election is that Congress is almost over in the election battle.
Priyanka was Congress’ last hope, but that card too has failed. And the last message is that wherever people have become disgruntled with Congress, BJP, SP or any other party, they have found an option in Kejriwal’s AAP whom they will give a decision mandate.
Everyone thought, even the Opposition parties, that SP will form government in Uttar Pradesh. But it came to nought. How do you see that?
It was a failure of Opposition unity. In UP, Mayawati was a natural ally but she went her way.
Therefore, SP leaders termed her a villain and it’s a fact that due to Mayawati factor, SP lost on several seats and BJP won.
The anti-establishment forces could not form a union and therefore they fell down like a house of cards.
The Opposition could not come under one umbrella in UP, so will there be a united front with one face against Narendra Modi in 2024 general elections?
There is no hope. It is purely imagination. It is a dream to have one leader from the united opposition be it for Prime Ministerial post or for Presidential post or any other position. Opposition parties cannot be united.
They can certainly talk, Mamata can meet with other party leaders, Thackeray, Pawar and others can meet but, in the end, no one face will be seen.
There is example of Bengal where Congress has parted ways from TMC. There is no chance that one candidate of united opposition can be placed before BJP’s Modi.
Who among Modi, Shah and Yogi have played what role in BJP’s massive win in Uttar Pradesh and how much of a credit will you give to each of the BJP leaders?
First credit goes to Narendra Modi not just for being a leader but for being the most popular leader. Secondly, for strategy and executing it on ground, credit goes to Amit Shah.
Thirdly, for campaigning, making a consensus among people and hard work for the party credit goes to Yogi Adityanath.
I had said that this election proves that CM has become irrelevant but UP will be an exception to that since Yogi has had an existence in the state, he has had a major contribution, he has an image and his contribution can be seen clearly.
So, these three are key players who have played out their roles to the best. Amit Shah conducted several meetings, PM moved about for 20 days on several seats, but of course, the maximum credit goes to Narendra Modi who covered 134 seats and then Amit Shah who went to about 60 seats and thereafter Yogi Adityanath who held over 200 rallies.
Before elections, Yogi Adityanath’s contribution to UP, his performance and results were being highlighted by both PM Modi and Amit Shah. But in Modi’s victory speech in the BJP office post result, there was no mention of Yogi. What sort of contradiction is this?
This is not a contradiction. It is a political compulsion before Narendra Modi and Amit Shah on how to handle Yogi.
They could not decide for a long time and have perhaps still not found a way in this regard. But they tweeted about Yogi being given another term as CM and his relationship with the high command is like a googly where it keeps changing and PM’s tweet about Yogi as CM is part of that, which is a good thing and should have happened too in the manner it did.
One person has worked hard in UP and it is a good effort but it is basically a political compulsion.
There were rumours of certain differences between Yogi and Central leadership for the past two years. What do you think, were these rumours only? Also, what about the upcoming cabinet formation?
Call it difference of opinion or communication gap but the basic point is that all was not well between BJP high command and Yogi.
The reason for that is that Yogi is a strict person with his own unique ways, he is comparatively less flexible. Secondly, he is a reluctant ‘yes man’ before high command, whereas in Congress and BJP by and large everyone is a ‘YES MAN’ before high command.
Therefore, he is considered stringent due to which differences may arise. But in some cases, being flexible is a constitutional requirement between the Centre and state.
What happened last year? The high command decided on AK Sharma’s inclusion in government but it didn’t go down well with Yogi.
Then the issue of carving Purvanchal state also came up and a meeting was held in Delhi. I have heard that the Home department had even finalised the draft to this effect but Yogi didn’t want that and the same evening he released a press note that UP will not be divided.
Then this year’s differences are too deep and therefore there is a delay in formation of cabinet. From what we have heard, it appears that Baby Rani Maurya, high command’s Dalit face, has to be made Deputy CM and a department like Home has to be given to her.
Yogi says she does not have that kind of role in UP politics whereas the high command may have a strategic thought behind it, and therefore a difference may erupt.
But one thing is sure, whenever cabinet is formed in UP, you will find Baby Rani Maurya as deputy CM else the cabinet will not be formed.
UP cabinet is not a minor issue or just Yogi’s cabinet formation. It is what will decide BJP’s future political landscape and 2024 roadmap of the saffron party.
We heard that there was come issue on number of deputy CMs as high command was asserting for four while Yogi wanted just two but then news came that the parties have agreed to three positions.
But I feel that there is still no agreement on it. It is a tricky situation which could be delayed for few more days.
The high command has decided that Yogi will lead UP for next 5 years. So, has Yogi become indispensable for the high command or has he become flexible or if the coordination has improved?
Both the things are there. He is indispensable because of the party’s Hindu card, of which he has a good following. So, he is indispensable to the extent that neither can you underwrite him or change him.
You cannot make a new leader in his place in UP. You cannot undermine him too in cabinet formation and running of state.
You will have to give him freedom in these aspects. To that extent he is certainly indispensable for the party and high command. And if it is about being flexible, well the world runs on hope, so let’s see.
The Yogi cabinet is to be formed in next few days. How much of a free hand will Yogi have and how much of a say will the central leadership have?
It is very difficult, but the baseline is that Yogi will not get more than fifty percent free hand. This is what I think.
Amit Shah himself is going there as an observer and it is perhaps for the first time in 9 years that a leader of Home Minister’s stature is going to any state as an observer. Because the challenge and task is to handle Yogi.
In it there is another challenge that when he goes to Delhi and when he comes back to Lucknow if the issues decided upon get implemented in the same manner as decided upon, that is one challenge.
UP is a complicated state and whosoever may be the Chief Minister, if they say I will have a hundred percent say in cabinet formation, it will never be so.
But one thing is sure that Yogi will have a reasonable free hand and you will not see if he has been undermined. But another thing is also sure that high command will have a huge say in it.
Yogi came to Delhi on March 13 and met PM, Home Minister, JP Nadda and BL Santosh. What really happened in these meetings?
I believe that PM does talk about the nittygritty of things and talks on broader lines. During his meet one year back, PM had handed a report furnished by BL Santosh stressing that 150 MLAs were against CM and he was told that there is a need for improvement. Agencies had conducted surveys wherein at first BJP was getting 80 seats and then 150 seats.
PM talks on policy level. The nitty-gritty would have come when he would have met Amit Shah and perhaps a bit with BL Santosh.
Nadda does not have a critical role in decision making as his office is more or less a post office. But I feel Mohan Bhagwat would get involved this time around because UP is a sensitive issue.
PM Modi tweeted in favour of Yogi after a long meet with him. What does that mean?
It is a welcome move. He is the Prime Minister and Yogi is his lead worker. The Yogi camp was demotivated that after such a historic win and in the function at BJP headquarters, Yogi wasn’t mentioned. So, to counter that feeling, and to fill in the gap, Modi displayed his leadership through that tweet.
How many phases will the Yogi cabinet be formed in and who will be part of it?
Phases can be many, till the time CM gives his resignation to Governor for the next election. In Rajasthan too everything has happened but people still hope that there will be another expansion exercise.
So such things can go on but I feel that eighty percent appointments will be carried out in this first phase and from what I have heard, it is said that 62 ministers will be sworn in, 25 cabinet ministers, 21 MoS with Independent charge and 23 MoS.
As far as faces are concerned, there are many in the race for deputy CM but apart from Baby Rani Maurya, I am not too sure about others personally.
So Baby Rani Maurya, AK Sharma and Asim Arun of which Arun being appointed as deputy CM will be an experiment. Modi leadership is known for giving surprises so perhaps he may be included.
Others include Rajeshwar Singh, Pankaj Singh, Siddharth Nath Singh, Swatantra Dev Singh. But those who have lost, I don’t think they will be given a chance.
11 ministers have lost the election, I don’t think any of them will be adjusted anywhere.
How did Narendra Modi and Amit Shah handle Yogi government’s anti-incumbency factor?
Definitely there was some anti-incumbency but it wasn’t much perhaps 20-25 percent. But to counter it, they focussed on the constituencies where their survey indicated anti-incumbency was prevalent. So, they focussed on 134 seats and ModiShah handled the reins of critical seats.
These people accept challenges and confront it, work hard for it so they handled it and succeeded.
During the show #JConModiUPWave trended top All-India on Twitter
TO BE CONTINUED...