The Hindu Fevicol that holds BJP’s power duos together: Book Review

The Hindu Fevicol that holds BJP’s power duos together: Book Review

Ahead of the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, LK Advani announced to a BJP meet that Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be the party’s prime ministerial candidate. He did so without even asking Vajpayee for the fear that he might say no. He did so even without consulting the leadership of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) knowing all too well that the party’s ideological arm would be hard to convince.

Many years later, right ahead of the 2004 general elections, Vajpayee declared to an unsuspecting crowd, “Na tired, na retired. Advani ji ke netritva mein vijay ki or prasthan.”

The vijay never came but the two looked convincingly at ease to sacrifice India’s most sought-after chair for each other. A picture-perfect friendship that was anything but perfect. In his book Jugalbandi: The BJP Before Modi, Vinay Sitapati delves into what shaped and then steered this friendship.

More interestingly, Sitapati introduces the readers to the many hurdle races this friendship failed to complete. From watching movies together after electoral losses to spending time at each other’s homes, it was all about living happily till the ever after arrived. At the perch of power, the friendship is put to test and begins to falter – but it never breaks.

Sitapati finds parallels between the camaraderie that Atal and Advani shared and the bond shared by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyay in the past, and that which exists between Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in the present. Sitapati calls it the Hindu Fevicol.

The secret ingredient of the Fevicol, the author says, is the focus RSS lays on unity in the absence of which “Hindus could be ruled” by Mughals. “The longest-serving head of the RSS, MS Golwalkar, was so obsessed with teamwork that he worried having a ‘blood’ family would distract RSS members from the only cause that mattered: Hindu unity,” Sitapati writes.

RSS members are encouraged to travel and sleep in beds placed close to each other for camaraderie to strengthen. All characters, including the two protagonists of Sitapati’s book, had had their introduction to the Hindu Fevicol.