The massive cabinet reshuffle undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday saw several big-ticket names dropped while many unknown faces took the centre stage. However, one big omission that many political pundits thought would be getting a crack at the cabinet was Sushil Kumar Modi. The former deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, who has been sent to a retirement home in Rajya Sabha had been harbouring dreams of a cabinet call up after spending some time in the wilderness.
However, turns out, the PM is still making sure that Sushil Modi continues to seek penance for his ‘hobnobbing with JDU’ and twisted political games that he played in Bihar in the run-up to the assembly elections, that nearly cost BJP power in the state.
Reported extensively by TFI, Sushil Modi, whilst being the lieutenant of Nitish Kumar always had a soft spot for him. Modi was the link between New Delhi and Patna for close to a decade and while JDU weathered several storms from the NDA during this period, it was always Sushil Modi that appeared to be covertly covering for the failures of ‘Sushan Babu’.
After the Bihar assembly elections last year, the top brass decided that it was time to break the unholy symbiotic nexus between Kumar and Modi. Thus, BJP, in a rather sudden manner dropped Sushil Modi as leader of its legislature group in Patna and shattered his dreams of becoming deputy CM for another term.
A defeatist Sushil Modi then took to Twitter to put up a brave face and said that “none could take away my position as a party worker”—hinting that he was indeed being denied another crack at the Deputy Chief Minister seat.
भाजपा एवं संघ परिवार ने मुझे ४० वर्षों के राजनीतिक जीवन में इतना दिया की शायद किसी दूसरे को नहीं मिला होगा।आगे भी जो ज़िम्मेवारी मिलेगी उसका निर्वहन करूँगा।कार्यकर्ता का पद तो कोई छीन नहीं सकता।
— Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) November 15, 2020
And it wasn’t just his undying fidelity to Nitish Kumar that BJP leaders started casting aspersions over Sushil Modi’s true allegiances, but it was also his uncanny ability to not let the BJP leaders—both old horses, and young Turks, rise through the ranks.
TFI, in one of its op-eds dated 8 June 2020, had iterated: “If BJP wishes to win the state, it must sack Sushil Kumar, and sack him now. Sushil Kumar has done immense damage to BJP’s cause in the state. He is the top leader of BJP in the state since the last one and a half-decade and due to him, the second rung of BJP has not emerged so far in the state.”
It would not be hyperbole to suggest that after Lalu’s ouster from the state, the sacking of Sushil Modi is the second watershed moment for the people of Bihar. The cycle would only be completed with the purging of Nitish Kumar but with no viable alternatives within the BJP flanks—thanks to Sushil Modi’s python-like grip over the state unit that didn’t allow a single BJP leader to blossom—Nitish Kumar is likely to carry his bat through his fourth tenure.
After being ignored by PM Modi in the cabinet reshuffle, Sushil Modi should look inwards and start making changes in his political habits if he wants to stay relevant. The Modi regime is ruthless when it comes to leaders who have their personal agendas within the party. Sushil Modi should drop his Nitish love, focus on an improved showing in the upper house and hope that the BJP high command notices and forgives him for his mistakes.