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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

SPECIAL REPORT

Um Abharati's return to BJP

By I K Shukla

This "internal affair" of a fascist monotheocracy promises to burgeon in a multifarious splendour. Wait for the new episode in the riveting serial.

First, the state politics. Um has her followers in M. P. But their strength, whether in the Assembly or the state unit, remains, quantifiably, dubious. The longer she is out of government and the state unit of BJP (she is only an ordinary member now, after her theatrical outburst, suspension, and desperate gharwapasi) the leaner will be left her band of campfollowers.

Neither was she punished for her Hubli venture(costing six lives; it could have added to her halo as a martyr), nor could she mount Tiranga Yatra (a phony mobilization of saffronazis for her benefit, narcissism dressed as patriotism), nor could she, on her return, claim automatically the privileged perch of CMship.

There is a certain section, of so-called low castes, who cling to her for loaves and fishes. They did not do sumptuously well fast enough because of her abrupt exit last time.

Neither was she punished for her Hubli venture(costing six lives; it could have added to her halo as a martyr), nor could she mount Tiranga Yatra (a phony mobilization of saffronazis for her benefit, narcissism dressed as patriotism), nor could she, on her return, claim automatically the privileged perch of CMship.

Too, she did not help herself much by her diva tantrums. She has her patrons among the top leadership, for reasons of expediency and factionalism, not because they are enamoured of her.

In consequence, if she is forced upon Madhya Pradesh, the party can wobble, break up, or get weaseled, for the simple reason that Gaur, in the interregnum, has carved for himself a sustainable niche both in the government, and by dint of it, in the state BJP.

It will not be just Gaur but many others who will be more than ruffled in the event of Um returning and mounting her strike. Her flamboyance of a flaming fury, a frothy female, will match her tricks, but the latter cannot be endless.

As for the national BJP, Um has competitors and rivals, some of them much more seasoned, far more determined, and equally ruthless. Their thin veneer of sophistication and sweet reasonableness will wear thin, their impatience with her will boil over, their tolerance of her shenangans vaporize fast the moment they smell fish on her part.

Yes, she has patrons at the Centre . But how supportive they wll be of her entry with a bang - general secretaryship, etc., - remains in the realm of speculation at present. The only way she can reclaim her lost mantle, in an attenuated degree, and gain it, will depend on how riven the top leadership of BJP inside and outside the parliament is. Grandstanding has its uses, but there are limits to it. Stretched, it becomes circus. Entertaining all right, but effete.

As to her usefulness in Bihar or elsewhere for stumping, say loudly, well, well, well.

Her style of abrasion and vulgarism may not have lost its advocates among the saffro warriors, high and low; but whether it be Haryana (Chautala) or Bihar (Lalu Prasad Yadav) she will meet in them her formidable match, if not in vituperation and poisonous harangue, certainly in effectiveness and impact. She will be seen as an Outsider, a Dabbler, a defunct/renegade Sannyasin, an opportunist and liar (Hubli/Tiranga), a destroyer of communal harmony and peace, a key figure in Babri demolition and the sequent bloodbath all over India. Nor is Jharkhand, in the new equations and political atmospherics, bubbling with excitement at her prospective visitation.

If the top brass thinks the last (her foul mouthings) is her big ticket of glory and BJP's resurgence, they are in for big disillusionment and more, still bigger surprise.

Meantime look forward to some fireworks, out of season.

She is an empty vessel. Good on occasions only to beat for a raucous noise. No more can it be used for anything else thereafter. 

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