It was an impassioned home minister Rajnath Singh, who addressed a rally in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh marking two years of Modi government. While the prime minister was the penultimate speaker that day, what struck most to the crowd was the fervent plea of the home minister.
He invoked 14 years of exile of Lord Ram and said,“ I appeal to the people of the state to end our exile of 14 years and help us form the government. Even Lord Ram exile had ended after 14 years”.
|There have been several initial hiccups about how powerful he really was as number two in Modi government.|
The crowd was impressed with the passion behind the appeal.
But is Rajnath Singh really keen on ending the exile and move to the politics of Uttar Pradesh?
Is he really being offered the post of CM? The answer to both questions is no.
In the last month or more, a crescendo is being built to make Rajnath Singh the campaign committee chief of the BJP in UP, but till now he has resisted it with all his might.
A section of the BJP feels that Rajnath Singh has the stature and authority, apart from having the requisite poll management skill, which would help the party smoothen the factionalism.
The party feels that with Rajnath Singh at the helm, they would be able to deal with the political dexterity and cunningness of both Mulayam and Mayawati.
The party feels that they have few second rung leaders who are local satatraps and wield considerable influence in their region. Though they may not help party win in UP on their own alone, they have enough potential to torpedo party’s prospect.
But will the wily Thakur bite the bait? Does he also share the same line of thought?
By all indications which are emerging, he is dead against going to UP. Though Rajnath Singh shares an extremely cordial relationship with the PM, there have been several initial hiccups about how powerful he really was as number two in the government.
Stories about his son, which his camp calls a hit job, and how he is not able to appoint the principal secretary of his choice are all too recent. People close to him say that he is not very comfortable with the idea of being the face of the party campaign as it would amount to priming him up for any potential loss in the Assembly election in UP.
He knows fully well that the stakes in this election are very high and if the party is not able to perform well, then his detractors within his party will use this opportunity to question his legitimacy as a towering figure from UP.
At this stage, with his national aspirations, going back to Uttar Pradesh as the campaign committee makes no sense for him.
Apart from this Rajnath Singh's camp is also not very happy with the way plants are being run in the media about him being the BJP's chief ministerial candidate of UP.
A leader close to him remarked that "there has been absolutely no talks of him being CM or anything like that but the way all these stories are run, it looks like somebody is trying to push him to a corner. And a 'no' to an 'imaginary situation' will be made to look like he is running scared, which is absolutely unfair. Rajnath Singh is definitely not very happy about this”.
As a senior national BJP leader said in the National Executive in Allahabad: “He knows what odds are stacked up against him. After initial faltering, now his position is pretty comfortable as home minister. Why would he sacrifice it at the uncertain terrain of Uttar Pradesh, especially with nothing tangible on offer, as he knows that if the party doesn’t register an impressive victory, his stature will surely be hit”.
Politics is all about making right choices at the right time and live to reap their benefit.
It is clear that Rajnath Singh, at the age of 65, has shown preference to the cool confines of the North Block rather than to unpredictable heat and dust of Uttar Pradesh, with the potential to rock his position.
A choice which one could say is safe. The other choice would have taken him back to the year 2000 when he first became the chief minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh.
The Thakur feels that he has come a long way since.