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Yes it is. The reasons are many. It started with the scale of the BJP victory in the 2014 election. Such an enormous mandate by the people of India should have led to humility at the trust the electorate had reposed in them. This did not happen. Instead there was arrogance writ large on the faces of the winning side right from the top leadership to the rank and file of the BJP. Statements were heard from many quarters starting with the party president that the BJP would rule for decades. The Congress Party had been decimated. The cry soon went up of 'Congress Mukt Bharat' not realizing that a Party that was over a hundred years old and one that had ruled India for decades since Independence had deeper roots and resilience to even think of wiping them out. The realization has still not dawned that the future well-being of India requires two strong central parties at the centre. A conglomeration of strong state governments will not fit the bill. Both BJP and Congress have to live together in harmony for the future of the country. What the new rulers did not realize was that some of the tallest Congress leaders since Independence were revered by all segments of the population. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel will remain household names among Indians for generations to come. So will that of Indira Gandhi. Attempts to diminish Pt. Nehru and Indira Gandhi do not go down well with the people; nor does name-changing of earlier rulers. New dispensations build on the foundations laid by those who went before. This wisdom did not dawn on the BJP leadership. May be it still has not.

The second biggest mistake made by the BJP leadership was not to confer upon a decimated Congress Party the status of opposition leader. The latter was only one seat short of the minimum required for the status. Yet the BJP parliamentary party did not look ahead to realize that they did not have a majority in the upper house. It could hamper many important bills from being passed. Leaders who appreciate that electoral fortunes can change and have been changing would realize the need for bringing the opposition into the fold. The BJP leaders were so mesmerized by their own importance that they did not even give a passing thought to this aspect. They forgot the lesson of the 2004 election. That election was called early because the BJP were sure of a larger mandate after the Vajpayee government's term. The electorate surprised them so completely that they did not recover their wits for quite some time, dazed at what had happened.

The scale of the BJP victory also brought RSS to the fore. Not only did they thwart several important initiatives of Prime Minister Modi because they did not fit in with RSS philosophy, they kept imposing their will on the BJP leadership from time to time. The RSS is an important Hindu organization in the country with a very large number of dedicated workers. It gained in popularity and strength because a feeling had surfaced among the Hindus that they were not being given a fair deal by the Congress governments. They should have kept that in mind when they in turn were given a large mandate. They should not have repeated the mistake of the Congress and taken the minorities along. They did just the opposite. They let lose their Hindutva organizations on them going to the extent of lynching people with no thought for human lives. The revulsion that has resulted across the country could very well cost them the next election. If this is the philosophy of RSS they cannot call themselves the repositories of Hinduism. What is more they interfered in the government and ensured that the Modi government appoint their nominees - practically all of them RSS members - as governors and heads of organizations left right and centre when there were so many more qualified and eminent people available to fill them. That the UPA government had played the same game does not justify partisan policies being repeated. Mr. Modi could have taken a more non-partisan view of it. He chose not to, leaving him open to the charge that it is RSS that is running the government in certain domains.

Most importantly the RSS still has not realized that for most of the time after Independence it were the Hindus that kept the Congress in power. Today the RSS can perhaps muster about 5 to 10 million hard core supporters. The figure includes all the Hindutva organizations linked to them. Double or treble the figure to say twenty or thirty million. They still remain relatively insignificant compared to the Hindu population of a billion people plus in India. The remaining billion Hindus are far removed from Hindu culture and philosophy as practiced by RSS and its affiliates. If the BJP is brought down in the coming general election it will be on account of the distancing of the vast majority of Hindus who are pained at the direction the RSS is taking in the name of Hinduism as practiced by them.

There are still over 180 days before the 2019 election. Much will depend on Mr. Modi to undo the damage that has been done. He is a strong leader. There are many pluses to his credit. The people at the grass root are aware of them. However, in the battle for 2019 leaderships of both parties are reaching rock bottom with their style of canvassing. Hurling abuses at each other and hitting below the belt as often as they can. None of them can be deemed to be statesmen from the current gutter sniping that is taking place almost on a daily basis. Mr. Modi does not have to highlight UPA failures again and again. The electorate of India took note and sent them into near oblivion. They have served notice to both parties. There is still time for all concerned to take note. "Mr Modi came to power by playing a secular, decisive and corrupt free leader. He should stick to that. Playing the 'Hindu' card backfires. He is still the tallest leader in the country others with many notable successes. Were he to rein in the excesses of the Hindu right he could be assured of another term.




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