Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tough time calls for BJP

The 2009 general elections didn’t turn out as the BJP had expected, as a matter of fact, I too was surprised by Congress’s win. But as we now see that surprise defeat was not the end of problem for the saffron party, but just the beginning.

The Chintan Baithak at the scenic and cool Shimla got off to a rather hot start with the safari suit clad Jaswant Singh being expelled from the party. Not quite a long back, he along with Atal and Advani constituted the face of BJP.

He might not had a dramatic rise but a crestfallen Jaswant Singh sure had a rollicking downfall. No single reason can be attributed to the recent development.

The crab mentality that plagues every organization, which currently is working at full force for BJP, the emergence of new ‘young’ leaders, who have waited years for their turn to come but all in vain, the recent poll debacle, the RSS factor, and the slow but steady disappearance of Atal from the party, all made it easy to show Jaswant the door.

We have been hearing the same name in BJP for all these years. Names that have been in queue to climb up the ladder, a ladder whose top three stairs have been booked for Atal, Adavni and Jaswant. Of all the three, Jaswant was the weakest, and he had to go. Advani will be next and with Atalji retired, it will be everyone for himself for the next generation of party leaders.

The loss in general election was a good ground to start with the assault. RSS saw it as a golden opportunity to once again tighten its grip over the party. RSS had reasons to believe that in recent years its hold over the party had been shrinking. With Jaswant Singing Jinnah and blasting Patel, they found a much needed cause to show who the boss is.

The other big reason is that BJP is still figuring out what to do with the Muslim population. It is still going to and from whether to appease the minority population go soft on Hindutva or stick to hard core Hindutva. In between this undecided scenario, Jaswant thought that maybe praising Jinnah was the next best thing to do after denouncing Patel. And as we all now know, neither of them worked in the way he expected it to be.

There have been far greater grounds for axing leaders in BJP in the past, but as I said, if it was just on the basis of the core reason, Jaswant would have been still alive and kicking. It is obnoxious to expel a leader who have been in the party for the last 30 years, who had just won a lok Sabah election by more than 3 lakhs vote and a man who did good, if not great work in various capacity at the central level, just because he wrote a book.

To start with there was no bigger ground than Kandahar to expel a few sleeping man who waited for the god to intervene before the aircraft took off to Kandahar, then came Kargil, still the same old guys continued to ‘serve’ the nation.

And finally came Gujarat. Not trying to sound a pseudo secularist, what happened at Godhra was and is unpardonable and and exception should have been made out and the perpetrators should have been given a medieval kind of punishment. But whatever happened thereafter could and should have been controlled had the BJP state government followed Raj Dharma as Atal pointed out.

BJP right now is going through a churning process, which as we all know is not very memorable. From now on it will be Advani who will have to fight and stave attacks, depending on whether he has any desire to do so.

Don’t think that Rajnath Singh will have to bear the same as he doesn’t have ambitions that require a bloodbath as he knows his position, strengths and weaknesses well. Sushma swaraj too is now a shadow of her former self, and with no Atal to provide her support she too will be contended in whatever she is offered.

The two people to look out in the near future are Modi and Jaitley. They will be the two poles that the others will have to choose from in the near future.

But a party cannot be run by two men who are highly ambitious. Atal always knew that he can never be replaced or upstaged. And Adavani too was aware and accepted the fact that he will be more highly rewarded if he stays with Atal, if not behind him. There was never a dichotomy or any doubt in any of the BJP workers mind that who had the final say in the party matter and that made for a smooth running. In a relationship, of every nature, one has to be one percent more than the other for it to blossom.

And between Modi and Jaitley, one of the two has to realize this. The sooner they do it, the better it will be for them and for the party. RSS should limit its role to that of a guardian, and that too in a strict sense, only coming in the picture when it’s truly required.

There is a difference between meddling and offering advice. This is something that Mohan Bhagwat has to make himself and his organization understand.

The Chintan baithak will come out with many ideas, but only with time, will the BJP regains it full glory, till then it has to wait and bid its time.

Looking at a larger perspective, India, just like any other democracy, will be benefitted more if we have a strong opposition party, which as of now is nowhere to be seen.

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