The Bhartiya Janata Party has chosen to skip
all first-mover advantages that Rahul Gandhi also allowed to slip. He did not
take out of the box initiative on the Lokpal Bill. The country would have loved
to see him taking side of Anna Hazare. The country would have respected him if
he would not have delayed his reactions on December 16 Delhi gangrape incident
or firing on farmers in Maval. The country would have worshipped him if he had
clarified on Robert Vadra.
Narendra Modi had also his chances, the
chances that begun just after completion of the first year of his government on
May 26. It started with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. The Lalit
Modi row then reached to take Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Rajasthan's
chief-minister and his MP son Dushyant Singh in its grip. Then came the much
reviled episode, deaths in the Vyapam scam. In spite of over 45 deaths in the
scam, Madhya Pradesh chief-minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan did not ask for a
central investigation. in fact, he was forced to ask for a CBI probe when he
was cornered from all sides.
Like Rahul Gandhi didn't realize or allowed
to slip such life-changing political opportunities - the moves that could have
made him a true mass leader - Narendra Modi, knowingly or unknowingly, is on
the same way.
Yes, Sushma Swaraj may be too big a name in
the BJP to remove from her position, even if she is considered close to L. K.
Adavani, but the BJP could have asked Vasundhara to leave office till she came
clean. Same follows for her son. And Shivraj could have been pressured much
earlier to recommend a CBI probe in the scam that is not limited only to Madhya
Pradesh. And these controversies follow from the earlier streak of negatives
associated with his government.
Yes, Narendra Modi is still not in the red
zone. In fact, the names dragged in controversies in this round are seen anti
to his interests in the party and his political career. Vasundhara Raje was
seen as a strong regional satrap who worked independently of what the BJP's
central leadership said. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen as a possible contender
to the prime-minister's office when the BJP was finalizing its
prime-ministerial candidate before the last Lok Sabha polls.
So, in a way, the weakened positions of
these leader would help Narendra Modi politically. But the collateral damage
may be severe. There have been developments, in the first year, and especially,
in the days after the first year, that have dented government's image creating
a credibility crisis.
And if left unchecked, and if governance
falls short on development parameters, and if more such controversies become
talking points, the collateral damage will become corrosive enough to hurt
The credibility crisis must not become the
crisis point-of-view driven by mass credulity.