Of Gadkari’s Girth: And every other thing from the stinking underbelly of RSS

[From my column OBVIOUSLY OPAQUE in the UTS Voice, November 01- 15, 2012]

Nitin Gadkari's girth was grotesque. So grotesque, that the only way
he could get rid of that was by undergoing a bariatric surgery at Saifee Hospital. His decision, I am sure, must have infuriated many of his colleagues in the Bhartiya Janta Party; the party to whose presidency he was catapulted to by the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh.

It must have incensed Narendra Modi in particular. No, not in the least as the continuation of Modi’s disgust for Gadakri’s continued patronage of Sanjay Joshi. For those with short memories, Joshi was once a close and equal colleague of Narendra Modi and whom Modi allegedly got to act in, or get his face morphed in, in a sleazy and unclear sex tape widely perceived to be produced by the Modi’s trusted lieutenants.  Some believe, in fact, that whatever the source of Modi’s indignation for ‘opposite’ is; his revulsion for ‘equal’ emanates from the fact that Joshi was equal to him, once.

He must be terribly upset with Gadkari’s decision. No, not for the decision of getting rid of his girth, Not in the least. What must have got Modi, the development-by-demolishing-a- community mascot of his party, is the hospital Gadkari chose for going under the knife. The President of a Hindutva outfit getting operated upon in Saifee Hospital, what betrayal goes worse than that?  Saifee Hospital, Mr. Modi must have thought, his face contorted with the pain of uttering the word from the language native to his enemies, the enemies he has so painstaking invented.

No, this article is not about Modi though I can sense the undercurrent of happiness flooding his camp. Anyone can, in fact. This one is about Gadkari, that imposing figure, literally, from Maharashtra who turned out to be the biggest gatecrasher of Indian politics.  He must be a worried man, a very worried one in fact. And then, it is not about his girth this time. He must be thinking, in fact, if there possibly was a surgery to get rid of perceptibly true allegations of financial irregularities as well.

He runs, or has run if one should believe him, a company called the Purti Power and Sugar Ltd. that had his drivers as its directors with the poor driver being, of course, not so blissfully unaware of the fortune he owned. Not content, perhaps, with his egalitarianism of making the drivers the directors, sharing space with them in the Board of directors were peons and a liftman, a solitary liftman. Understandable, for any high-rise has many apartments but often a single liftman, thus explaining the presence of a single liftman among drivers and peons.  

Quite an honest practice, a classless one on top of that. In Gadkari’s scheme of things the lenders and the borrowers are one and the same. The  directors, even more interestingly, could be one and same as Gadkari himself and their addresses  are one and the same with Gadkari’s. Gadakri’s scheme of things must be different from others. He, after all, is the president of the Party with a difference.

It is just that, anyone is easily dispensable for his party and its non-political minder called RSS. That was the lesson learnt by Bangaru Laxman, perhaps the only former president of a national party who got convicted in a corruption case, at his own cost. Or perhaps, only he was. As were others like Uma Bharati and Kalyan Singh. All from the communities which has been condemned to the fringes of Hindutva by their Brahminical priesthood for more than two millennia.

And here was Gadkari, right next to Mohan Bhagwat telling his audience through his Dussehara speech that corruption is really ‘bad’ and then deciding, perhaps, that it is not RSS but only BJP who should talk about Gadkari’s involvement in the alleged scams. How could he? Gadkari is not merely a product of the RSS but also a benefactor of the same. Did not he get his public works department ministry (PWD) construct new buildings in the Reshmibagh premises of the RSS? What if the project, allegedly, involved a nexus of corrupt contractors? Did he not open the PWD up, over and above all this, to an altogether new meaning of public works benefiting the RSS? 

But no, he is not indispensable for doing these small bits in the great cause of Hindutva. He is indispensable because he does not come from the same social groups Kalyan Singhs and Uma Bharatis came from. He is a Brahmin, a Chitpavan Brahmin on top of that. Who in his senses can even think of RSS showing the door to a chitpavan, its very lifeline? What if the regional satraps of the party were all aghast at losing their most important weapon against the Congress led United Progressive Alliances’ indulgence in a thousand cases of corruption?

What if they were seeing, with dismay, the president himself puncturing the balloon of their struggle against corruption? What if their president has inflicted a self goal on his own team? What if it has come hot on the heels of the embarrassment of having one of their biggest assets, the one who had led BJP’s charge into the Deep South and won that final frontier for it, Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa  (BSY) being shown the door for being neckdeep in corruption?

But then, the doors marked for unceremonious exits in the RSS camp are all reserved for, again, the OBCs and the Dalits, cannon fodder for the Hindutva zealots. A chitpavan cannot be expected to take the same, and polluted, route to oblivion. Had Acharya Giriraj Kishore not made that clear for once and all by declaring the lives of cows to be much more important than that of Dalits? The lives, and prestige, of Brahmins being much more important than that is a simple corollary of the fact, is not it?

Then this Brahmin is not an ordinary one. He is one rather good at liaison and counted Sharad Pawar, chief political enemy of RSS backed Shiv Sena BJP alliance in Maharashtra at one hand and alleged to be one of the most corrupt politicians by the likes of second-Gandhi-third-JP-and-fourth-what-not Anna Hazare on the other, as his friend. He has the guts of openly admitting that they help each other in that famous sentence –wo char kam hamara karte hain ham char kam unka karte hain. There was nothing surprising in it for Gadkari has always been known for not only thinking the impossible but also achieving to do it and often having the egg on his face in the process.

Remember his almost miraculous feat of inducting Babu Singh Kushwaha who was thrown out of Bahujan Samaj Party by its supremo Bahan Mayawati in BJP. He had achieved the feat in the face of his party’s (supposed to be) campaign against massive corruption in the implementation of National Rural Health Mission in Uttar Pradesh, a work that came under Kushwaha’s ministry. No wonders then, that but for L. K. Advani, himself a RSS reject, and Sushma Swaraj, all whose actions are more against Narendra Modi ascendance, not a single leader of repute in the party stood up in defense of Gadkari.

Gadkari, though, seems to play defiant. He knows that he was never a choice of the party. He was rather inflicted on it by the RSS. He was let loose on it to control the infights for the post of the PM designate in a party in opposition for almost a decade and show them all who is the boss. And being the RSS’ choice, he is beyond all rules of the game as it has always been in the RSS’ scheme of things.