This Article is From Feb 26, 2020

Another Huge Modi Success In Trump's Visit And RSS' Reaction

The Modi government and the larger Sangh Parivar are thrilled with the outcome of the first state visit of Donald Trump. The reasons for the Modi government patting itself on the back are compiled in a neat checklist prepared by B.L. Santosh, General Secretary of the BJP on secondment from the RSS, which the ideological parent of the ruling party.

Santosh says "1) CAA - India's internal affair. 2) Kashmir - India can handle it. 3) Delhi violence - no comment. 4) Religious freedom - 200 million Muslims in India enjoy religious freedom as do Christians." Santosh signs off gloating, "That was the real Donald Trump for liberal and left media".

Authoritative sources in the government say that the Trump presser yesterday was a huge concern for the Modi government. Since Modi refuses to address unscripted press conferences, the fear was that Trump might wade into controversial terrain which would not get an official on-the-spot rebuttal from Modi.


US President Donald Trump said he spoke to PM Narendra Modi about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

South Block gave a huge sigh of relief the moment the presser was over and went on to claim that the US, President's visit was a huge success for India. The foreign office said that the ties between the two countries were upgraded to "global strategic partnership level".

A senior leader of the BJP told me, "Trump gave Modi and his government an unqualified endorsement. What this means is that the US approves of the radical measures taken by the Modi government". While this may be an exaggeration, it is accurate that Trump, unusually for him, was extremely disciplined with his message, praised the PM extravagantly and frequently, and said nothing that could be seen as criticism of the Modi government.

The IT cell of the BJP is now an overdrive, highlighting what they claim is the huge takeaway from the Trump visit - the virtual free pass that he gave the Modi government on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the violent protests around it. Even as the death toll in Delhi riots reached 13 while Trump was still present in the capital, the government breathed a huge sigh of relief that Trump restricted himself to an acknowledgement of the violence and deaths.


The number of deaths in the unprecedented violence in Delhi since Sunday has risen to 20

The other big success that the BJP claims, albeit unofficially, is that this is the first-ever visit by a US President to Delhi that did not include even a courtesy call on Sonia Gandhi. Yes, the Gandhi family obsession of the BJP continues, and now they have coopted Trump into this part of their agenda, and are glorying in the perceived snub.

To make sense of the euphoria of the entire Sangh, you have to understand their anxiety about being accepted as the real political player on the Indian stage by foreign powers. This is powered by resentment and a their history of being banned thrice and snubs, real and imagined, from what they call the "left liberal ecosystem" internationally.

The fact that Modi in his second term is taking decisions which have been challenged in court for violating the constitution - but this did not get any blowback from the superpower that is the USA has given the BJP much to rejoice.


US President Donald Trump with PM Modi at the packed Motera Stadium, the world's largest cricket venue

Trump said that he had long discussions with Modi in front of "a large group of people" about religious freedom but was content to leave it at that, saying he hoped India would do the right thing on CAA. Clearly, the Motera stadium show in Ahmedabad has produced big and immediate dividends.

Expect the Modi government now to harden its position on the Act. Forget a rollback, which is not part of the Modi playbook, be prepared for a crackdown on the protests. Finally, nearly 48 hours later, Modi broke his silence on social media with a belated appeal for peace. This is the New India.

(Swati Chaturvedi is an author and a journalist who has worked with The Indian Express, The Statesman and The Hindustan Times.)

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