October 9, 2011
Gadkari, a Brahmin from Maharashtra, may have greater acceptability and has the potential to forge alliances unlike Modi, whose strong Hindutva image comes in way of the party's electoral fortunes in states other than his home state Gujarat.
There are clear indications now that the RSS, which commands the BJP, likes Gadkari. He took over the party in the times of crisis, and has worked silently to rebuild the organisation, unlike Modi who regularly defies the Sangh leadership.
By not attending the recent party conclave in Delhi, to express his displeasure over RSS' giving responsibility to his arch-rival Sanjay Joshi, Narendra Modi has antagonised the Sangh. The RSS leaders are not comfortable with the personality-centric politics in Gujarat.
For RSS, the idea of defiant leader, even if he takes forwards its Hindutva agenda, is preposterous. After all, one has to be a 'karyakarta' in a cadre based party rather than an autocratic leader acting as a monarch. While Modi has emerged as strong Hindutva leader, he is not submissive.
The party leaders including the veteran Lal Krishna Advani and the rest of the leadership comprising the likes of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu are also wary of Modi's growing clout and persona.
RSS has never taken snubs lightly and it also wants to send a message that no individual howsoever strong he or she may be, they are not indispensable. Perhaps, skipping the national executive was not the right step for Modi. He has captured Ahmedabad but the road to Delhi is still far.