A Machiavellian dictum suggests that one good way to consolidate one’s rule is to do the following: first frighten the population with the worst that is possible under your rule, then proceed not to let that materialise.
The population then will heave a sigh of relief and sing praises to your ‘capabilities’ and ‘statesmanship’!
This precisely is Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s methodology.
Having thundered in Parliament that the movement for the construction of the temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya was the reflection of ‘national sentiment’, he retracted from Kumarakom.
Having equated ‘Hindu’ with the ‘Nation’, undermining in one stroke the secular foundations of modern India and striking fear amongst the religious minorities, he proceeded to ‘assure’ the country of his ‘secular’ credentials.
Praises were then sung by the gullible.
Following the December 13 attack on Parliament, the PM thundered of a war to the finish. The saffron brigade went to town whipping up war hysteria. The VHP/RSS leaders went to the extent of urging a nuclear war to wipe out Pakistan!
Then PM on the New Year’s day strikes a tone of restraint and talks of a diplomatic offensive.
Praises are once again being sung of his ‘moderation’.
Machiavelli must be proud to have such sincere disciple, so many centuries later.