Ahead of 2019 Assembly polls in Jharkhand, a billboard put up on the roadside in Jharkhand capital shows Chief Minister Raghubar Das and Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaking hands. The billboard carrying a slogan -'Jharkhand Pukara, Bhajapa Dobara'(Jharkhand Calls, BJP Again)-was sponsored by the ruling BJP to mobilise electorates.Right?
Wrong. In this state, where many junior leaders bow to touch the feet of senior leaders, the act of Das and Modi shaking hands has caught the eyes of many citizens. One perception doing the rounds in social media lights up the ego of Raghubar Das and his aim to project himself as a friend of Modi.
Many observers may not agree. However, everybody knows that perception is the most important psychological factor that affects human behaviour. It is the process consisting of stimulus, registration, interpretation, feedback and reaction. In this state, many leaders bow to touch the feet of senior leaders. Against this traditional backdrop, Das-Shah shaking hands has given a key card for interpretation.
The key card opens another picture of Das standing near Modi. It reflects him standing with his hands down near the PM. This was days before he was appointed as first non-Adivasi CM of Jharkhand by Modi and Amit Shah led BJP in 2014.
Five years later, Modi and Das have actively worked to avoid the risk of insularity that comes with holding senior positions. And this risk is a real problem for senior leaders. In short, the higher leaders rise in the ranks, the more they are at risk of getting an inflated ego. And the bigger their ego grows, the more they are at risk of ending up in an insulated bubble, losing touch with their colleagues, the culture, and ultimately their people-citizens.
Let’s analyze this dynamic step by step.
First, why BJP led by Das has put up this billboard? Apparently, with a rise in the rank, Das acquired more power. And with that, party workers were out to please him by listening more attentively, agreeing more, laughing and clapping at his lectures. All of these tickled the ego perhaps. More when Modi repeatedly called him as his 'friend.' And party chief Amit Shah declared him as CM again if the BJP secured majority under the leadership of Das in Jharkhand.
Second, a neutral observer says that an unchecked ego can warp a leader's perspective or twist his values. In the words of a psychologist who does not want to be named.“Managing party men's ego’s craving for fortune, fame, and influence is the prime responsibility of any leader. But high ego changed Das's behaviour as he yelled, screamed and shouted at his own party colleagues and officers.since he could not control the ego, it grew.
"So much that at many a time he looked suffering from a 'disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of five years.”