How Much Water Does Subramanian Swamy’s Vow Hold?

How Much Water Does Subramanian Swamy’s Vow Hold?

Dr Swamy’s Gorkhaland Pill 

Darjeeling’s romance with its first love Gorkhaland was more than on the ebb. With the disintegration of the GNLF leadership and the subsequent directionlessness of party workers, their aspiration lost its drive. The Kolkata establishment’s distracting tricks flourished like the proverbial ‘radish around the outhouse’. Much damage to the Gorkha morale was done by the blatant apathy shown by the BJP – despite Narendra Modi’s (in)famous “Gorkha ka sapna, Mera sapna” statement in his Siliguri election campaign speech in April 2014. The carrot he dangled in front of his Gorkha supporters soon dried up and in the 2019 election campaign, Modi ji dangled a cheaper carrot of Scheduled Tribe recognition for Gorkhas. The identity-starved Gorkhas fell for it again and voted for BJP with the same Gorkha josh shown in support of Prashant Tamang- aeons of years ago!

The country, Gorkhas included, woke up to the clamour of the CAA, NRC, NPR discourse after the 2019 elections. Again the promise of ST recognition paled into insignificance in front of national confusion over the citizenship issue. The Gorkhas resigned themselves to their fate (which they are habituated to do excellently well) and joined the muted audience of the CAA drama. Some bhakt Gorkhas, as they are sarcastically called by their detractors, are supporting it and the self-proclaimed ‘non-bhakts’ are opposing the Act. The rest are happy to be quiet.

Just when the graveyard of the Gorkhaland issue was becoming oblivious under the cover of grasses of confusion, hopelessness and complacency, Dr Subramanian Swamy started the process of weeding the grass. The issue, which has in all practical purposes become a dead rubber, has been brought to the fore, at least in the minds of some Gorkhas in the Hills.

The Swami supporting Gorkhas must know his political background well before raising their hopes too high. It was, of course, kind of him to speak up on the issue. He is the second most followed Indian politician after Modi on Twitter. However, his actual influence, even within the party, has been far from creditable. He has hardly been in sync with his party on major issues.

His entry into the Rajya Sabha as a BJP MP in April 2016 was memorable. After his swearing-in on 26 April, he didn’t bother to greet the leader of the house – the late Arun Jetley. He didn’t like the man. 

This was a precursor of what he was going to do. He began to exploit the Question Hour to the hilt. So much so, some of his comments were expunged. The Outlook wrote, “Undeterred, the newest BJP MP managed to insinuate culpability and criminality even before the august debate was over.”

He was critical of the way the BJP government was handling the economy. He even twitted that the BJP was the new Congress. He initially opposed the Rafale Deal. Not surprisingly, the BJP never gave him a role big enough to suit his intellectual brilliance. Swami was supposed to have told the BJP leaders in a light-hearted spirit that ‘keeping brilliant minds like him idle could prove dangerous. The prophecy did prove true in terms of the economy of the country. He could have probably done a better job.

The BJP government has too much on its plate right now. The declining economy, unprecedented unemployment issue, rising inflation, the CAA – the list is endless. How much traction can be gained by what Swamy says is not hard to predict. In a crisis situation, it is quite possible that Swamy’s statement is a typically calculated move to distract the Gorkhas. Given the history of the role of cat’s paw that he has played for the BJP, it could possibly be a shot at the WB chief minister, Mamta Banerjee, to divert her attention to the Gorkhaland issue.

However, I do not believe it personally. I am more inclined to think that it is purely his personal opinion. For a loose cannon like him, it is the typical outworking of his mind – towing a line that his party would never fulfil – neither in their wildest dreams nor their worst nightmares.

“Just when the graveyard of the Gorkhaland issue was becoming oblivious under the cover of grasses of confusion, hopelessness and complacency, Dr. Subramanian Swamy started the process of weeding the grass. The issue, which has in all practical purposes become a dead rubber, has been brought to the fore, at least in the minds of some Gorkhas in the Hills.”The author can be reached at – jiwanr@gmail.com

By Jiwan Rai, the author can be contacted at jiwanr@gmail.com

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