Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Who will ‘fight’ Modi? Who can be next Home Minister of India?

Nirendra Dev
The Congress has virtually thrown the towel. No money means ‘no will’ to fight the mighty poll-juggernaut of Narendra Modi. The Lotus party is certainly cash-rich.
In between came a few court proceedings on Electoral Bonds. The proverbial Modi-bashing army in English media and BJP detractors were rejoicing for a while. There is a large scale feeling especially amongst anti-BJP camp that there is a widespread mistrust of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The hounding of opposition leaders ~ for instance arrest of Arvind Kejriwal and K Kavitha (BRS) ~ can be stopped at least during the elections only by the judiciary.
But there is another school of thought who will point out that ‘post retirement’ welfarism is generally the priority of every growing-old parent.
The Supreme Court had termed the razing of the Babri Masjid an “egregious violation of the rule of law”. But the 5-Member Bench headed by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi (incidentally from our Northeast) had ‘cleared’ the construction of the grand Ram Temple on November 9, 2019.
On January 22, 2024, Modi wrote himself into history. And the witness list included a dozen former Supreme Court Judges. Former chief justices of India VN Khare, JS Khehar, NV Ramana and UU Lalit. Among the other Judges present were Justices Ashok Bhushan, Adarsh Goel, V Ramasubrahmaniam, Anil Dave, Vineet Saran, Krishna Murari, Arun Mishra and Mukundakam Sharma.
This is Ting tong moment!! Often, we like to sing – Ding Dong Bell, Netas in the well.
But what comes out in the ultimate could be the opposite.
Now, the second part: will PM Narendra Modi after re-election again make Amit Shah his Home Minister? Even foreign analysts, one happens to meet in Delhi these days, say even without the criminal investigations and ‘arrest’ dramas targeting leaders including Kejriwal, few expect the Opposition INDI bloc to make inroads and stall Modi’s hat-trick.
One of them remarked, Modi has been able to beat incumbency factor of a decade as a Prime Minister and altogether 23 years in public office to remain “roundly popular”.
What will happen, if Modi changes his Home Minister from June 2024?
Let’s assume, Shah is made Deputy Prime Minister and given the portfolio of Defence. Let us presume – a master of symbolism, Modi makes either Nirmala Sitharaman or Smriti Irani his Home Minister.
Will there be any ‘chance’ then to hope for some miracles in matters related to Naga peace talks? Himanta Biswa Sarma may be shown his place and again Modi’s trusted NSA Ajit Doval will call shots on matters related to Manipur, Naga peace talks and other affairs in Northeast.
What about those who saw a villain in RN Ravi? What about Kitovis of Nagaland who saw optimism for a brief period?
Sadly for Nagaland for various reasons – including Congress political factor – today there is no straight channel left between the State and Prime Minister Modi.
SC Jamir is an ex-Congressman and key stakeholders know this. But who can be the ‘next Naga leader’ whom India’s most decisive Prime Minister Modi and an ambitious individual that he is — will call a statesman?
Shah – if deputy PM – can still call some Chief Ministers to his office over Gujarati veg snacks.
Journalism is often a world of wild dreams. Politics is also often displaying of the intellectual capacity to engage with even your strongest critics; and I believe Narendra Modi knows it. He needs to put things on track in Manipur. He needs to deliver it for Nagas and then reap rich dividends from his Government’s Act East policy.
“Distressing is a very mild word … for what is happening in Manipur”, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s recent remarks on the situation in riot-hit Manipur while addressing the Indian community in the South Korean capital Seoul must be understood from political as well as geo-strategic perspectives.
(Views are personal)

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