Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BJP's Plight!!!!

It is disheartening to see the plight that BJP is going through in these days.

I have never had any sympathies for the ideology or politics of BJP. Yet today I feel bad about it since we do not have another credible alternative in the opposition space. While Congress continues to demonstrate that it is still the natural choice for ruling party, in any democracy the opposition has an equally important role to play too. It is not my case that BJP ever was a responsible opposition. Their behaviour in many situations (remember Mumbai attacks and Nuclear 1-2-3 agreement for example?) has shown an intolerance and impatience. Yet we have no other choice at the moment but to live with BJP as the opposition for I do not even want to contemplate the CPI (M) with Prakash Karat at its helm or other parties like MSP and Samajvadi Party as the principal opposition party.

What has gone wrong for this so called party with difference? This party not long ago used to trumpet about its young leadership and of course the so called ‘Loh Purush and Prime Minister in waiting’. But today we find them unable to contain the growing individual ambitions among the same young leaders or manage the softness and helplessness of the Loh Purush.

I think the problems lies in the fact that BJP had attracted a lot of so called leaders, who never had any ideological basis at all, when they thought the Congress is in its last. What motivates them (more than Ram Mandir or Hindutva) was the prospect of BJP gaining power at the cost of Congress. What else can explain the presence of a person like Ms Najma Heptullah in BJP? Now these turncoats are realising more and more that the BJP’s chance for gaining power at Centre is slipping away. That makes them restless in the party. See the speed at which Sudeendra Kulkarnis are trying to jump the ship and join committees that are available and waiting.

The Loh Purush Advani is a burden today. Anyone who matters in the party knows his statements on Kandahar and the “weakest Prime Minister’ has caused as much damage to its electoral prospects as any other reason. He simply does not have another five years of fight left in him. There comes the opportunity for the so called young leaders. Narendra Modi did not even show the patience of waiting till the election result to be out while trying to place him above others in the race but seems to have had some mud on the face in the process. His uncharacteristic silence in these troubled times cannot be taken at its face value. He is just biding for his time.

The present President Rajnath Singh is a sorry figure. He neither has the moral authority over others nor has the tact to lead such a great party. He is there by default and he, as well as all others, knows his time is also running short. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is definitely out. LK Advani is just hanging by thread. Rajnath Singh is only alienating more and more leaders and workers. What is left is a group of second rung leaders with each of them having a very great opinion about their own capabilities to lead the party. Each of them knows that their own capacities will not make them the contender; they have to cut to size the others to be above the pack. For these they do not mind planting stories in the media against each other or make use any occasion. Remember the sulking Arun Jaitely during the run up to Parliament elections? They are aware of their lack of base among people and at best their base is limited among the selected journalists to whom they keep giving scoops.

What is saddening is that BJP is not even making a try to solve its problems. Even a well respected intellectual like Arun Shourie suggests a solution for all problems in the Party - and what is that? RSS to take over the Party and manage it!! Can’t these leaders talk among themselves and reach a solution for their internal party affairs? They don’t even have to worry about the affairs of the country now for there is a government to take care of that leaving them with lot of time to resolve their own issues. Yet it is the RSS honchos who are camping in Delhi and trying to cook up solutions.

Can a party that can’t even resolve its own internal problems and looks towards outsiders (even if they are within the so called parivar) take care of the problems of this great nation of over one billion people? I doubt it. People like Narendra Modi might be able to sway sections of people for some time with his rhetoric and backward looking ideas. Yet it is not easy to manage the affairs of a nation of this magnitude; for such a task requires lot of ability to give and take.

A case in point is the duo of Manmohan –Sonia, each playing the role to near perfection without creating any troubles. Being Loh Purush does not mean being inflexible. The so called weak Prime Minister has been able to manage the affairs of the Nation without much damage while Sonia holding the Party together and that by itself is no mean feat.

Unless BJP is willing to adapt and accommodate to the realities and its leaders willing to cut short their own egos any solution cooked up by RSS (whose ability for inclusiveness is doubtful) will not make the party cohesive. These leaders will only get more axes to grind and they will surely wait for their opportunities. We cannot at this moment foresee any one leader emerging from this motley group with his head above others, like Bajpayee or even erstwhile Advani. Till then the plight of BJP is bound to continue for they are not likely to get any soon the great adhesive for any political party, i.e., power.

Lack of a cohesive and focused opposition is likely to put Indian democracy to stress. The level of debate in the Parliament is not something great even now. With BJP taking a beating it is likely to slip more and more and that is not a welcome sign for any concerned citizen.

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