Modi is a shrewd, calculating and ambitious man. He was not in politics until he was 51 when he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Prior to that, he was a nobody in the BJP. But he outmanoeuvred his mentor Advani and became Prime Minister and sent the old guards to oblivion. He has the ability to outsmart his opponents in or out of the party and achieve his goal. His handicap is a lack of education, of sophistication that comes from the experience of running a political party and a vision beyond his own power and glory. Regardless of his limitations as a national leader, he is determined to pursue his personal goal with doggedness and ruthlessness. Everything he has been doing has been in pursuit of his goal of remaining in power without sharing it with anyone and without parting with it till he is dead. Putin and Jinping have inspired and strengthened his resolve.
His monthly Mann ki Baat live, was not without a specific purpose. Whether the people could get at what he said or not, Modi wanted to ensure that, unlike any other leader, he should become a household name. It had a great advantage at the present and greater advantage for his future.
He was aware that the Parliamentary system of government could not guarantee a lifelong tenure as Prime Minister. If he aims at remaining in power for life and to be independent of his colleagues, he has to replace this system with the Presidential form of government. As a directly elected President, he would not need humouring his Ministers and MPs. He would not be dependent on anyone for remaining in office. It would also be easy for him to win in a one to one contest. First, the opposition would not be able to agree to a common candidate to contest him and even if they manage to, his opponent would not be known to the people throughout the country, as he is. In such an unequal fight, his victory would be child’s play.
Modi’s obsession with a Congress Mukt Bharat is not born of personal hatred.
He has no reason to harbour hatred for the Congress or Gandhi family. He has not suffered at their hands. He was an insignificant young man of 25 when the emergency was clamped and did not feel outraged like thousands of young men who chose to challenge the emergency and suffer the consequences. He remained indifferent and lived like the crores to whom the emergency made no difference. Yet, he made a Congress mukt Bharat his declared goal. He was clever enough to realise that once he emaciated the Congress, he could perpetuate his rule without too much effort. He might not have specifically thought of a Presidential form of government then, and the idea might have come later.
His determined move to topple the governments in the Congress-ruled states by hook or by crook is part of his future plan.
He shamelessly toppled the governments in Karnataka and M. P. and is making a determined effort to do the same in Rajasthan. He had tried to prevent the formation of the Shiv Sena led government in Maharashtra also. His shamelessly embracing the corrupt but powerful leaders from the opposition parties is part of his larger plan. He is not bothered about public opinion because it would not affect his plan.
Controlling the states is part of his goal to have sufficient majority in the Rajya Sabha to amend the constitution to replace the present system by Presidential system… The amendment would require the support of more than 50% of the total number of the members of each House and more than 2/3rd of the members present. It would also require the ratification by at least half of the Legislatures of the states. The introduction of the Presidential system would require amendment of several other Articles of the constitution. All these require him to create the required majority in the state legislatures by hook or by crook.
His intimidation of the judiciary by withholding the recommendation of the judiciary and leaving out some of the recommenders not liked by his government is his way to give a message to the judges that they will have to pay a price for displeasing him or his government.
The other side of the coin is rewarding the obliging judges. Of the class of these, two judges may be mentioned: former CJI, Sadashivam, who was appointed the Governor of Kerala and CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Modi, as Prime Minister, already controls the Executive and the Legislature and is desperate to control the judiciary. An independent judiciary with the doctrine of the basic feature of the constitution is like Democles’s sword hanging on any PM or President‘s head who wants to mould the constitution to suit his need.
Modi wants it out of his way by getting the judgment reviewed and discarded. It would pave the way for declaring India a Hindu Rashtra and make him the Monarch of all that he surveys. Ranjan Gogoi has been roped in to play a Trojan horse and organise the bad eggs of the judiciary and lure the morally weak among them.
He is aware as a member of the political class that there is none of any significance who does not collect and spend black money. Each of them has Achilles’heel and is vulnerable. They can be easily blackmailed into submission and supporting him. His tactics of blackmailing his opponents is public knowledge and already a hallmark of his politics. He has been threatening his opponents by claiming that he is in the possession of their Jamn Patri (record of corruption) since independence and would not hesitate to use it if they do not behave. His unabashed (mis) use of the CBI, ED, police and other agencies like the goons of a Mafia is public and chilling. He knows that many like Mayawati would support him to remain out of trouble.
His floating PM CARES through the PM National Relief Fund is already at his disposal is not without a reason and purpose. The PM National Relief Fund is too transparent and limited in its objective to be of use to him. Its money can be used only for the victims of natural calamities and the victims of disasters. Its fund has been used for assistance to the poor patients in need of expensive treatments like kidney transplant, heart surgery etc. Modi wants a huge fund at his disposal which he may collect in secrecy, spend in secrecy for any purpose under the sun. It is just as the way a Mafia operates. Nobody can know the sources of its donation, the amount of the donation collected and on what and through what agencies the money is spent. Out of the six trustees of the PM CARES, three would be nominated by him as the Chairperson of the Trust. Thus, he would always command the majority even if three Ministers who are Trustees choose to revolt. Modi, as the Chairperson of the Trust, is going to be the richest politician in the world. He would not need to raise a fund for elections like the US Presidential candidates. PM CARES would be his permanent financer for canvassing for him through various bodies.
Modi is aware that his policies other than on the Hindutva are bound to lead to a conflict if not a clash with the RSS.
His FDI is totally against the Sangh’s Swadeshi and his anti-Labour policies against the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh’s cause. The small traders, who had been the base of the Sangh with monetary contribution and votes, have already become financially irrelevant for Modi. They have also been hit hard by Modi’s policies. Modi is preparing to minimise his dependence on the Sangh and make them support him at his terms.
Modi’s goal is clear and he has been making due preparation to achieve it. If he succeeds, he may become President of India before 2024, and if all goes well according to his plan, a President for life like Jinping or Putin.
by Prof Prabhakar Sinha
Prof Prabhakar Sinha is a political commentator…