New Delhi: Narendra Modi has the ability to expand BJP’s vote base like Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in the 1990s, according to the latest issue of the RSS` mouthpiece ‘Organiser’.
The article in English by psephologist GVL Narasimha Rao describes the controversial CM as "by far the most popular leader in the country" who has the power to bring the BJP to power single-handedly as pasty’s mascot for 2014 Parliamentary polls.
The article in the Organiser comes days after criticism by BJP mouthpiece ‘Kamal Sandesh’ and RSS` Hindi weekly ‘Panchajanya’.
The view in ‘Organiser’ is significant as the BJP has shied away from spelling out its choice for PM, and because of the assessment in the political circles that the projection of Modi as the PM candidate is going to gain momentum and may become virtually unstoppable if he wins the Gujarat Assembly polls slated to be held later this year.
The Organiser article takes head on all the arguments marshaled by those who feel that tagging the hardliner as the prime ministerial candidate will hurt BJP’s image and put off NDA allies like Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who bank on Muslim votes.
Rao says that while there is nationwide anger against the Congress, this alone cannot guarantee BJP-led NDA`s return to power at the Centre. He stresses that the NDA is a major political force only in 272 of the Lok Sabha seats, leaving the Left and regional parties as the likely beneficiaries of erosion in Congress` support in the rest of the 545 Lok Sabha constituencies.
He argues that the limitation can be overcome by projecting a strong leader "whose appeal transcends state boundaries" , and who "would give BJP`s campaign a nationwide momentum and help it make substantial gains even in non-BJP strongholds".
Citing the successes of VP Singh and Vajpayee whose leadership galvanized the anti-Congress mood and led the party to lose even in its stronghold, the advocacy for Modi in the RSS journal says that the Gujarat CM as the leader of BJP would benefit the party in UP, and help it win seats even in states like Odisha and Haryana.
It also joins issue with the argument that Modi`s projection will scare away allies, channeling the view of the Hindutva hardliners in the BJP that finding partners will not be a problem so long as the party is seen as a winning ticket.
"The number of BJP allies grew between 1996 and 1999 principally because regional parties saw an accretion in their strength owing to the incremental role that Vajpayee had delivered to them. The same would work for the BJP at the helm," it says.
The timing of the article is also significant, coming just after the RSS decided to mend its rift with Modi by giving into his demand to remove his bete noire from BJP`s national executive. As part of the bargain, Modi has come out in support of BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, who is widely seen as the RSS appointee.