Pranab Da is not Mayawati whose motivations for attending political meetings and delivering speeches range from lobbying for a Rajya Sabha seat ,or requesting relief in some Disproportionate Assets Case or to just announce her continued relevance .He is a philosopher-king in the truest sense of the term-an intellectual giant with vast experience in politics and administration ,someone well versed with Indian shastras and having a predilection for quoting Sanskrit verses .
He must have realized that the nation stands at crossroads.The Nationalists seem to be have been tamed,or at least contained for now. Gujarat and Karnataka must be considered setbacks. Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh are in the offing.MP is not a sealed deal either. UP and Bihar seem to be slipping from their hands, Harayana is in turmoil and Maharashtra might provide grief. And yet,despite everything,the ruling party wont get decimated.By some estimates, BJP shall bag 160-175 seats.Even then ,Mohan Bhagwat knows that this might result in a repeat of Karnataka model at the Centre.The 3-4 terms project might end up getting curtailed to just one.
But Delhi is not Bangalore.The Karnataka model cannot be allowed to be replicated since the stakes are too high.As per the Sangh, the nation-building project needs 10-15 years to fructify. Namo is, by far,the best bet. But he cannot be the only card. A coalition of thieves, casteists, nihilists,corrupts,opportunists,self seekers and Family Inc. must not be allowed to usurp power.
The die has been cast.Vajpayee was often dubbed the right man in the wrong party.Right seems to have discovered a right man in the Congress dispensation now. Pranab Da made a huge concession when he paid glowing tributes to Dr.Hedgewar.One saw via TV cameras what has he written in his own handwriting.Lest someone invoke the senility card,be reminded how RaGa did not even strain himself to fill the visitors handbook at Somnath and thereby courted huge controversy.The former President’s effort was deliberate.This was not just a token gesture.If this had been US,it was akin to accepting the nomination for leadership in a Major Party Convention.
What followed was a great sermon by Pranab Mukherjee on our composite and assimilative culture from the RSS rostrum,preceded by an equally accommodative speech by the the RSS chief.The message was loud and clear.Dara Shikoh’s book titled-Majm-ul-Baharein (The mingling of the Two oceans)-would aptly describe the scenario .Once the RSS and the former President have accorded each other respect and demonstrated they can work with each other ,the case for democratic cooperation in future becomes compulsive.
Ex-Malaysian PM Tun Mahathir Mohammad returned to active politics at the ripe age of 92 to save the country from the vice-like grip of his former party UNMO and the corruption of the PM Najib Rajak.Since then,Mahathir has been reelected as the PM of the joint opposition in Malaysia at the age of almost 93..If Mahathir can make a comeback in active politics after a hiatus of fifteen years,why cant an 83 year old Pranab Mukherjee be considered an option . All this ,juxtaposed against the recent example of Karnataka ,where (1-X) joined hands to keep the largest party,X,out of power and the UP, where a budding opposition coalition threatens to decimate the BJP, might have triggered Bhagwat into exploring this option.
This is not to suggest that Modi has lost his appeal for the RSS,or that the Nationalists wont go all out in seeking votes for him in the General Elections.But the Right faltered from a position of strength in 2004.There was no Plan B then. Mohan Bhagwat was the General Secretary of the RSS (Sarkaryavahak) in 2004.He must have learnt a bitter lesson .He was too junior in age then,as compared with Atal,Advani and SSC Sudarshan.But the world saw how he intervened decisively in favour of NaMo in May 2013 when the BJP leadership seemed unsure about going all out with his projection as the PM candidate of the party .This time again,the Parivar would go for broke to secure a victory for Narendrabhai. Pranab is not an alternative in the true sense.He is more like a wild card, like Krishna ,who appeared in the picture from nowhere to save Draupadi’s honour.
Another fallout ,or unintended benefit,of the ‘Pranabspeech’ can be that the Hindutva and the Swadeshi forces in the Congress and other opposition parties might feel emboldened in promoting (soft) Hindutva and give up minority appeasement. In such a scenario,a two-party ,or a two-pole system might emerge in the country, with both amenable to Hindutva cause and differing only in their soft or hardcore approaches towards it.That might be the real triumph of the Right.
All said,in most likelihood,there was no strategic thought behind the whole invite,its acceptance and the subsequent speech.Dada had hosted a lunch for Bhagwat at the Rashtrapati Bhawan last year. Maybe ,Bhagwat was returning the hospitality,and Pranab accepted in routine course.But once it started courting controversy,and the Congress displayed desperation by even comparing this gesture with the Chamberlain’s signing of the Munich Pact,this assumed larger than life proportions. With elections hardly eleven months away,political commentators would keep looking from further signs from these two wily,colossal political figures.
(It is in this backdrop that the decision to award Bharat Ratna to Pranab Da must be seen.That there is something afoot cannot be denied.)