Arun Shourie, has the knack of striking at the right time. Last year around this time, he made a blitzkrieg attack on the Modi government. It was time when Modi and BJP were busy chronicling the achievement the NDA government on its first anniversary.
Now, when the BJP is thinking of celebrating its second year in office, after putting Congress on the defensive in AgustaWestland issue, Shourie strikes again. This time more comprehensively calling the two years Modi rule as “boxing match with everybody,” he ridiculed Modi for not having any focus, which he expected from him.
The journalist turned politician, always took on the mighty. When Rajiv Gandhi was in power, he as the editor of the Indian Express, he took on the government exposing its corruption and nepotism.
When the Hindu right found its way into the mainstream politics through Ramjanmabhoomi and the anti-reservation movement, Shourie parted ways with journalism and plunged into active politics. He was even considered as one of ideologues of the RSS. When globalisation started he along with S Gurumurthy became the face of right wing’s ‘opposition’ towards globalisation , by being the leaders Swadeshi Jagaran Manch.
But RSS, like all right wing organisation, which draws its sustenance from racism, majoritarianism, and xenophobic nationalism, do not stick to one particular line when it comes to economic or other policies which has direct bearing on peoples life. So when they found that Swadeshi Jagaran Manch’s aggressive ‘nationalist economics’ is at odd with its other political ambitions, the Sangh Parivar relegated the Manch to the back ground. But Shourie who knows how the right wing organisation used to work, suddenly shifted his focus to other extreme. He became ardent supporter of liberalisation. And he found no disconnect with the fact the same man who propagated self reliant economy, soon becoming the minister for disinvestment in the Vajpayee government.
Till Modi was sworn in as the prime minister, Shourie did not seem to have any difference of opinion in the style of functioning of Modi. When Vajpayee was considering to change Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat, after the anti-Muslim genocide in 2002, Shourie was one of the very few who had who had prevailed upon him to ensure Modi’s continuance in office.
Everything changed after Modi formed the government in 2014. Reports were rife at that time saying that Shourie was disheartened after he was left out of the cabinet.
Now, when the Modi government is preparing to celebrate its second anniversary Shourie is back, sounding more like an opposition leader. Modi is being criticised by Shourie as being authoritative, for his Uttarakhand policy, nationalism controversy etc. Coming as it did from a man who knows the core hindutva ideology makes these criticisms emanating from a disillusioned mind. What Modi and his party are now doing is taking the core hindutva ideology forward. Whether it nationalism, authoritative leadership, approach towards dissenters are all ideology driven. And Shourie is not man who is unaware of this.
It is an irony that Arun Shourie did not find anything to be critical about Modi government’s and BJPs approach to appropriate Dr. B R Ambedkar. Shourie is the most vocal critic of Dr. Ambedkar, who authored a book called ‘Worshipping False Gods’. He might have reconciled to the fact that appropriating Dr Ambedkar is very essential for the Hindu right in its effort to make India a Hindu rashtra. The gaining momentum of the Ambedkarite politics has the potential rip apart the majoritarian politics of the Sangh Parivar. Though a critic of Ambedkar, Shourie must be knowing this. Shourie loves Sangh parivar and want it to attain its goals
His opposition is against Modi only. But what he fails to decipher in the time of disillusionment is that whether he do not worship false Gods or not, what Sangh and Modi want is total obeisance. Nothing short of that will work for right wing, especially when they are in power