Opinion » Lead

Updated: June 11, 2013 02:51 IST

Saviour for a party bereft of ideas

Shiv Visvanathan
Comment (96)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

The ascent of Narendra Modi and the shoddy treatment of L.K. Advani signal the advent of a new politics that India will have to confront

There is poignancy to politics which lies in the multiple levels of drama. The recent events in the Bharatiya Janata Party can be seen crassly as an anointing, a crowning and an elevation of Narendra Modi as campaign manager for the BJP for 2014. Such a statement misses the sheer ecology of dramas around the event. What one is witnessing is a struggle for power, an agony of decision-making, a battle of generations where the new seems less welcoming than the old. Straddling it all is a man dubbed the Nestor or Bhishma Pitamah of the BJP, L.K. Advani.

Shrewd & generous

Mr. Advani is more than a wise man, he is a man who could have been king. He was the strategic genius of the BJP and it was he who managed its electoral fortunes. He had both the shrewdness and the generosity to realise that when the BJP came to power earlier, Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be a more uniting factor than he himself was. Magnanimously, Mr. Advani stood aside. Now decades later he realises Mr. Modi is not a Vajpayee and stands worried. He faces a party whose cadres are tom-toming for the Gujarat Chief Minister and he realises things are more complex. He senses that the Modi juggernaut is a pre-emptive politics and it might damage the party. Mr. Advani stands as a man who faces the irony that his swansong may be an act of tempered refusal. The BJP may have anointed Mr. Modi in Goa, but for Mr. Advani the ritual appears premature. He refused to put his imprimatur on the act by refusing to attend the final days of the meeting. The slapstick protest by Mr. Modi’s younger supporters against Mr. Advani’s decision captured the final irony of his career, that a man who fought for unity is condemned as divisive.

Mr. Advani’s resignation from all party posts came like a bombshell. It was an act of closure, a message to Mr. Modi and his ilk that the norms of respect, statesmanship cannot be wished away. His statement was a message that the BJP cannot be held to ransom by one man; a BJP proud of its processes of consultation and consensus finds its reputation in a shambles. The fate of Mr. Advani represents the deeper crisis of the BJP. It has been trounced in Karnataka; it also realises that while the Congress might be invertebrate and supine, the BJP also appears listless. Given the crisis, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley might think that Mr. Modi supplies the right dose of adrenalin. But Mr. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and others fear Mr. Modi might completely fragment a party in crisis instead of being a galvanic force propelling the BJP into the future. It is not just a question of internal dynamics of a party, its decisional rituals, its ideologies, the contending ambitions within it; it is also the question of coalitions. It is clear the future of all parties lies temporarily in coalitions. Coalitions demand consensus, adjustments, the fine art of political management and statesmanship. It is clear that Mr. Modi is not a carrier of such values.

Nitish Kumar factor

This became clear in Nitish Kumar’s response to Mr. Modi. The Bihar Chief Minister felt that Mr. Modi might be adequate for Gujarat but he could hardly lead the nation. One must admit Nitish has nursed such ambitions. The media battle between the Gujarat and Bihar model of development served as a surrogate battle between the national claims of the two men. There was, however, a deeper issue. Nitish was pointing to the fact that national level politics was a consensual affair, a way of life that carried others along. He claimed that Mr. Modi threatened the secular sense of the nation. Nitish’s electoral losses in the recent elections however dulled the sheen around his comments.

One needed a scrap of pictures to understand the body language of the events that followed. While Mr. Advani played Achilles in his tent, the BJP appointed Mr. Modi BJP campaign manager in Goa. The act of acclamation was no longer unanimous. Ms Swaraj’s body language showed that the seeds of doubt had already been sown. The sense of disquiet was obvious despite the best efforts of the party’s media managers to paper it over.

Meanwhile, the man at the centre of the storm appeared triumphant. The tentative edges to Mr. Modi’s behaviour dissolved quickly and in addressing the party he was at his imperial best. He lashed out at the Congress contending it had violated the norms and rules of federalism, had prevented any non-Congress State from succeeding economically. He claimed that the Congress encouraged terror through its ambivalent attitude to Naxalism. His diatribes were predictable and reasonably effective, but criticising the Congress party, which is a pincushion of errors, is child’s play today. Yet Mr. Advani’s absence was already haunting the eloquence of the Modi script. Backstage would not let go of front-stage and even in his moment of victory, Mr. Modi was a man surrounded by caveats.

The question that confronts the expert and the spectator is: how does one read a scene like this? One has to also ask what all this means for the future of politics, elections and democracy. The overt drama at Goa fades away before the historical and futuristic questions it raises.

There is a bombast to the event that one has to deflate. Mr. Modi is not yet king, he is far away from being king. A party bereft of ideas sees him as saviour. One must admit that he has won three rounds of elections in Gujarat. His reign has been so complete that a younger generation has almost no memories of Congress rule. The rise of Narendra Modi has to be seen as a deeper fable about the fate of Indian politics. He is not just a persona, he becomes a collection of collective symptoms.

A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of ideas, a country content to play with old clichés like development, governance, security as if they were freshly minted currency. Mr. Modi is a hybrid created out of an updated swadeshi rhetoric which now manifests itself as a technocratic and corporate, and a loose World Bank vocabulary we call governance.

As an administrator, he has been more than competent, placing Gujarat high on the vector of growth but mixed on human development. Mr. Modi appeals to the middle class, to the dream of development, to the idea of a strong middle class-driven India. Yet, he carries the taint of the 2002 riots and an almost visceral hate for the Muslim. He also represents a new BJP where the old pracharak has modernised as a technocrat. Deep down he is an authoritarian man ill at ease with dissent or coalitions. Yet he lacks the charisma to carry India. He does not quite represent Mr. India because he does not embody all the values of our Constitution.

Race for aspirations

Narendra Modi represents new forces we need to comprehend. He represents a new, aspirational India, two-thirds of which is below the age of 35. He appeals to the upwardly mobile in search of efficiency, who are tired of corruption and also tired of the Congress, either as a stale Socialist Party or because of its dynastic model playing Hamlet intermittently. Such an India is both swadeshi and diasporic, more hawk-like in its attitudes internally and externally. It seeks an image of toughness and a sense of recognition. Mr. Modi seems to guarantee these deliverables in a way no other party can. It is a question of perception and he seems to be winning this race for aspirations.

Fortunately, India is multi-generational in its memory and for many groups he does not quite fit the virtues of tolerance, the slowness of politics. Even those opposed to the BJP were surprised by the shoddy treatment meted out to Mr. Advani. It is also clear that the BJP is a graceless party.

Beyond the internal schism, Mr. Modi raises important issues. In returning a halo to ‘development’ as something individual and collective, aspirational and nationalist, he is promising a speeded up India that the other parties have not dreamt of. In this, he is triggering a new politics which India has to confront. Narendra Modi is the change that we have to decide whether we want to be.

(Shiv Visvanathan is Research Fellow, The Compost Heap)

More In: Lead | Opinion

Thanks for an excellent analysis. I have read some comments below which criticise the Congress for all its failures and justify the option of Modi as an alternative. No doubt Congress has failed the nation. But Modi is not the alternative. We do not want a authoritarian leader who is a demagogue and loves himself. We do not want a leader who has least respect for our constitution. We do not want a leader who does not allow debate and dissent.
Yes, India needs a strong leader. But India also needs a inclusive and compassionate leader who understand the myriad challenges and resolve them democratically.
Modi does not fit that job. All the development stories will not wash away the stains of blood of 2002 from his hands. He is in the mould of Indira Gandhi who was
authoritarian, secretive and crushed dissenters. We all know what came out of her leadership. We do not want a repeat of that.
The pity is urban literrrati roooting for Modi at their own peril in the long run.

from:  Poornapragna
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 15:28 IST

The aspirations of modern youth in urban areas for better living conditions and rural youth for progress has not been given due considerations by the UPA's old group ( bereft of ideas). Atleast BJP is by passing the hierarchy understanding that the youth have seen some hope in Modi.

from:  sujatha
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 15:07 IST

I tend to agree with what Rajesh has written. Instead of criticising Modi how about some analysis on Congress? All Indian printed & TV media seem to be biased in favour of Congress. Is it due to the business being thrown your way in terms of advertisng? I think the country needs young fresh blood. We have had enough of family dynasty. Only if Sardar Patel had not given in to Gandhiji to let Nehru be PM. Situation/history would have been different today.

from:  Kishore
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 14:27 IST

The article became outdated within a day. Advani is back. The political
commentrator has made a mess of himsrlf.

from:  raghavan
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 14:06 IST

Great article, Shiv.
There was by and large, no difference in the way BJP and Congress converged on the policies be it economics, foreign or interanl security.Now BJP is really going the Congress way.
Just like Indira Gandhi turned the Gandhi-Nehruvian Congress on its head, Modi will soon turn BJP Of Vajpayee/Advani on its head.
Just like Kamraj of yesteryears (who rued appointing Indira as Congress President), the Rajnaths,Jaitley, RSS will rue the Goan day. Don't be shocked if you have BJP(M)just like Congress(I) few years down the line.
Am I being alarmist? Time will tell.

from:  VIVEK
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 13:27 IST

"A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of ideas, a country
content to play with old clichés like development, governance,
security as if they were freshly minted currency." ..What does this
even mean ?? All over the world democracies are grappling with
questions of governance and development. The elections even in
developed states of the world are fought on these grounds. How can
they be old cliches ? For a change, after so many years in Indian
electoral system the spotlight is again on these central issues of
democracy. Ideologies, personalities and personal ambitions apart, the
central theme of any elections should be good governance. I just
wanted to point out this anomaly in an otherwise brilliant article.

from:  Abhijay
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 10:27 IST

Your prejudice against BJP and Modi in particular, is very evident even while trying to appear to be sympathetic towards Advani. It is a fact (which Mr Advani only seems to forget) that he is now too old to lead the party - having been given adequate time and resources so far but still he could not make it. Nor he could graciously accept and promote others who could try. It looks like he is not comfortable with assertive Modi. (May be he wanted more 'pliable' Sushma or others!). You call it shoddy treatment if this is not accepted by the party. In fact this is other way round - it is a shoddy behaviour of a senior politician that does not behove of the stature. With one bad move, he has, in fact, lost sympathy and respect. One can only feel sorry for this. Whether Modi's development model is adequate or not, it is better than 'no development' or 'retrograde development'. Your comment 'A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of ideas...' shows complete ignorance of the facts.

Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 10:21 IST

"A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of
ideas, a country content to play with old clichés like development,
governance, security as if they were freshly minted currency. Mr. Modi
is a hybrid created out of an updated swadeshi rhetoric which now
manifests itself as a technocratic and corporate, and a loose World
Bank vocabulary we call governance"

Old cliches called development--- as if India is fully developed and
fed up of it. Perhaps the author finds the corruption and mis-
governance of Congress more promising.

The Hindu could do well by ceasing to publish all these opinions as
they are increasingly becoming biased. They could use the centre page
for ads, which could give them revenue atleast, and I'm sure not many
would complain .

Just looking at the rules for posting comments:
"1.Comments will be moderated
2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant
cannot be published."
I wonder how personal and irrelevant articles get published.

from:  Badari
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 08:43 IST

"Narendra Modi is the change that we have to decide whether we want to

of course he is the change we need to be. Let me see...

1. In politics for 20 years or longer, and still no corruption
scandals to his name? check

2. capable of delivering at least a modest growth trajectory? check

3. unapologetic about his religion, which is perhaps the oldest in the
world? which means his convictions, right or wrong, are real and deep-
rooted, meaning he is a real change from wishy-washy "netas" whose
true goal is not power, which by itself would be acceptable, but
money? check.

4. no coterie of family around him all jostling for plum posts? check

5. from a new generation that understands the futility of blind and
highly impractical idea of nehruvism? check.

Modi is the future of the BJP. He is unlikely to repeat Godhra on a
national scale. He is out to create a legacy for himself as a great
leader. In the process India will benefit from having a leader who
will try his best.

from:  jay
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 07:06 IST

This biased article suffers from the same problems all of Modi accusers and critics face...a lack of evidence. At no point of time does the author ever giver any evidence for his views. As it stands this is simply the opinion of one man. And I would like to ask the media why do spend all day criticizing Modi and never discussing the Congress. If you dont like Modi, fine, I can accept that. But if you tell me that 5 more years of Congress rule is what India needs, then I will have to question your intellect. Funny, how BJP's democracy is made fun of and Congress dynasty untouched. BJP is communal despite no evidence in the riots and highest std for Muslims in Guj. Congress is secular despite targeted reservations, laws, terror handling and a Sikh genocide.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 03:30 IST

Modi may have short comings in the eyes of his critics. His actions so
far showed Narmada water benefitted Hindu or Muslim or Christian
equally the fruits of development reached all corners of society in
last 10 years.Congress might have ruled the country benefitting a
section of society but country has not come out of poverty last 50
years. It is time Indian to vote and give opportunity to BJP and Modi
to put the country on path of progress. 6 years NDA rule under
Vajpayee reversed 50% bad governance of Congress in 50 years. Vote
for BJP may reverse remaining 50% misgovernance and corruption under
UPA rule.

from:  D.A.Eswar
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 01:23 IST

"A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of ideas, a country
content to play with old clichés like development, governance,
security as if they were freshly minted currency."

I find above statement inaccurate and devoid of real understanding on
aspiration of millions of Indians. We are not bereft of ideas or
action. We want strong & democratic India with equal rights &
privileges for all Indian. This has been clearly demonstrated by Mr.
Modi, while most of Indian politicians have not and are still working
on 1960s and 1970s fuduel, race and caste based politics with no
respect for individual citizens or country.

One can fault Mr. Modi for actions or inaction but he is trying and
making difference, and we many not like some of the outcome. Looking
at current politians in India he is clearly one of the front runner
who has captured the imanigation of Indias.

from:  Rajeev Desai
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 01:12 IST

Unprecedented corruption at the centre and in the states, a ruling party that is based
on dynasty and sycophancy , high inflation, lack of security, huge poverty--- all
these and others are contributing to raise of Narendra Modi.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 01:07 IST

There is really no need to go into such a sulking mode, both, the opponents of Modi or analysts of Modi. Is it a crime to revert to policy aspects which provide founding principles for a nation like India. Is it a crime to expect quality development and prosperity for the people of India. Is it a crime to challenge status quo to misgovernance. Is it a crime to challenge dynastic politics where one person precedes the PM of this country in policy decision making. Is it crime to expect the security and safety of Indian nationals in their own land. If it is then DON'T ELECT NARENDRA MODI AND KEEP CRIBBING ABOUT THE PERILS OF THIS COUNTRY. There is someone with potential to defy time and take India in big league of nations who despite knowing India has the potential to sit amongst them, still look upon us as THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. So much of regret on election of MODI as election campaign chief. Its a shame that we always think as regions and not as a country.

from:  Tejas
Posted on: Jun 12, 2013 at 00:56 IST

A very simplistic assessment!

from:  umesh bhagwat
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 20:08 IST

Mr. Advani’s resignation from all party posts may have come like a "bombshell" as Shiv Visvanathan has said, but unfortunately it exploded ultimately on the face of the one who threw the bomb.Hope political analysts will leave the BJP alone for a while and concentrate on their favorite party and the corruption cases that are haunting the government led by that party.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 20:07 IST

Your title says it all. The party needs more center-right people with
charisma to bring a balance to the power in the center

from:  Natarajan Ganesan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 19:25 IST

I really loved what was going on BJP.. Being born and brought up in
Gujarat.. It was always been peculiar state... Both Modi and Advani
( RS from Gandhnagar) belong to Gujarat... Ratrapita M K Gandhi and
Mohammad Ali Jinna both Gujarati.... and two Fundamentalist- Mr.
Modi and Mr. Advani both belong to RSS ( who forgot to instill moral
and ethical value to graduates from their School)

What disturbing about Modi is his public face and face behind his
well famed mask is different....

from:  Piyush Mahajan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 19:22 IST

Your new found love of a misguided protagonist is nothing more than sanctimonious hypocrisy.Your secular media spent decades villifying him and the party as fascist.Out of every crisis and adversary comes opportunities and challenges, there is no alternative but to reform and develop our country from the mess, economic decline and social dysfunction that has been heaped upon us by your pet chummy party, Rupee tanking to dollar60, such is the confidence the world has their mis governance. Don't delude your self with such namby pamby analysis,Modi is here to stay and will be the next P.M.

from:  DILIP
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 19:20 IST

People who are talking about "Grace" should remember the Happenings in CPI-M. In 1992, 86 year-old EMS was removed from the General Secretary post in 1992 without much "Grace" and he was replaced with Harkishan Singh Surjeet who was 75 at that point of time. Failing health was the official reason. We are now witnessing a similar drama in Kerala with State Party Secretary trying in vain to hound out the veteran, V.S. Achuthanandan from the post of the opposition leader in the State Assembly. So to single out BJP is really "Graceless".

from:  S. Sekhar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 18:14 IST

In a critical yet over-mined scenario like this, the media influence
conjectures for the majority of public opinion and such articles won't
help the process of bringing India to the top brass. What are
we going to be a developed country? If that is not the main agenda
then what is? We are abating the main challenges facing us and
bothering ourselves on petty things like this. There is no room for
rationality in Indian politics now a days.
Advani being a leader of the opposition, is not behaving like one.
This article is not at all diplomatic and highly empathetic towards
Advani. If opinions matter, Advani should be like a fatherly figure to
BJP and should allow others to take the helm. I have no patience and
desire to live in a congress ruled country for five more years.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 16:05 IST

A rare article critically evaluating Modi and sympathatic to Advani though on internet there is this graceless Advani bashing by the so called Modi supporters.

from:  sayaji
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:55 IST

What a sorry state of affairs with this party with differences (BJP).
Instead of giving a united fight to get the UPA out of power, the differences with in the party's top-brass are pathetic to watch.
The sulking octogenarian leader could not stomach the elevation of the same person he defended on various occasions. NaMo's assumed influence on the youth of the country is yet to be seen (in 2014). But people are counting the chickens even before they are hatched.
With the losing morale and value in the BJP top-brass any other feeble party can defeat them at the national level. The BJP is failing to take advantage of the real situation of riding the anti-congress wave. The infighting and the fracas in the party will not help the situation here.
With the congress lose near certain. BJP with internal power struggle, one can safely assume the third alternative with hung parliament is a probability. How interesting things unfold?

from:  Shivraj K
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:46 IST

Very emphatic, unambiguous and expressive article from The Hindu after a long time.
Here too many blind hardcore supporters of Modi I see nothing special in him, same as any other politician from whom India get sufferring since independence but he learned well how to market him. Indeed Gujarat is not the best state example in economical, political or in any social development aspects.

from:  Shan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:44 IST

(1)"Mr. Modi seems to guarantee these deliverables in a way no other
party can. It is a question of perception and he seems to be winning
this race for aspirations"(2)"Even those opposed to the BJP were
surprised by the shoddy treatment meted out to Mr. Advani. It is also
clear that the BJP is a graceless party" The readers would have been
enlightened, if the author have penned down his perception about a
delivering 'NETA' in current Indian Politics. Shoddy treatment are
reserved for those who can't read the writings on the wall. By the way
every elevation to supreme post whether in politics, sports or in any
other walk of life will be 'SHODDY' for those who couldn't make to it.

from:  Pradei
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:42 IST

this article is completely a biased article without addressing the need of the current situation. Still 40% of indian society is below poverty line and only 3% of population contribute to taxes that drive the fourth largest GDP of the world.. wat state of equality and prosperity is being talked off.. the current population is better aware of the social implications of such economic imbalances and hence are only craving for development model.. already the country has gone back to so called hindu growth rates and if still development is not pushed then there is no chance that these inequalities will be taken care.. no wonder NaMo has his short comings but atleast he is one guy who has not lost his focus in the development mantra.. it is this kind of leader only we need currently to take this country forward..

from:  rajkumar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:32 IST

A very biased individualistic article misguiding indian mass by presenting one side of the picture ...Surely 'the Hindu" can do better... Infact, glad to go through the comments which are worth reading n logical than this article.

from:  neha
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:29 IST

Shiv has correctly analysed the so called drama and what Mr.Advani is aiming for. But to say that BJP is a graceless party is to take it too further. There is a conflict between new and old and this is not only in potilics. Today's youth is no less idealistic but the ideas are less romantic and more realistic. After suffering through a 9 year congress led misrule with scams of gigantic proportion youth is looking for a clean administrator who can deliver. Mr. Advani has raised important questions-Now time will answer them

from:  g krishna kumar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:28 IST

What is really amusing is "The Hindu"'s sudden love for the "communal", "divisive" person whom it bashed all these years on all its editorials and allied publications. Reminds me of Kautilya's words - "The enemy of my enemy is my friend". And as Mr.Modi is anyways not a national leader "without any presence" outside his home state and has been elected "undemocratically" as the editorial points out ("Manufactured consent", June 10), I am surprised why reams of newsprint are being wasted on thrashing him. Let us ignore him and focus on other pressing issues that are plaguing our nation.

from:  N. K. Shenoy
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:15 IST

The grace lies in old making way for new generation not the other way
round. BJP is more democratic by just this fact that no other party
elects its leader. Every other party is fiefdom of family or political
dynasty in India. Old cannot cling on to their unfulfilled ambition
for eternity. Advani had 2 chances. This noise is more to do with fear
of success which Modi might be able to achieve, though no guarantees.
But if India is functioning democracy then every one has to accept
this just the way they did when MMS was appointed PM without ever
having won a lok sabha election. Why? because he was the will of
majority at that point of time. One cannot achieve 100% unanimity in
any party except Congress where actually there is one family's
decision over others.

from:  Jayant
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:05 IST

The people of this country have an idea about what they want - good governance, development and security - and if Modi brings that, he will be PM

from:  harsh
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 14:03 IST

This article by Mr.Shiv Viswanathan is crass and highly Modi-bashing.He is not aware of the story of Bishma Pitamah,it seems.Advani can not reach the height of the feet of that great Bishma of Mahabarata.What has he sacrificed for BJP or for India?He was not accepted as a PM product then,and now also.That is why he has to hide behind the Mask called Vajpayi.Since the mask is now out of show on health grounds,a more acceptable mask is being chosen.But that was also not Advani's mask as nobody is wiiling to wear it.So,Advani squirms and wriggles to no avail.

from:  K.Sugavanam
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 13:39 IST

Mr.Advani is behaving like spoilt child, not even willing to listen to the views of others and refusing to attend a meeting. If this is not indicipline what else is ?

from:  seetharamans
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 13:33 IST

It is not NaMo who wants to become PM. It is the youth of India who
wants to see NaMo as PM.

from:  Sat Kumar Tomer
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 13:26 IST

In Economic survey of India released by Finance ministry this year, Gujarat performed well in many economic indicators. This is because of the Development model adopted by the state government.
Modi may be communal but one cannot neglect his growth model. Advani should digest the fact that the face value of Modi is bigger than his party and he alone can bring his party in the path of success.

from:  Madhav
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 13:23 IST

All those journalists and media houses that are shedding "Crocodile tears" at the treatment meted out to LK Advani (which is more of his own making) have to recall how they reacted when Sitaram Kesri was locked in the Toilet to pave way for Sonia Gandhi to take over the party.
These people were saying that only the Gandhi-Nehru family can unite the factions within the congress party and literally ignored such an incident.
Nobody is going to get fooled by your rhetoric.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 13:17 IST

Shri Viswanathan must be believing that it is the duty of BJP and BJP to uphold values of political rectitude,respect for elders(even when they are senile and crabby) and accept endlessly tolerate their whims.Has the writer forgotten Indira of 1969,Sitarm Kesri ,who lost his presidential chair when he went for a toilet break?And many more humiliations during the emergency to elder politicians and party leaders.memory is short,public memory shorter.So l'affaire Advani will soon be forgotten.Lets not worry about political ethics and move forward.

from:  Chandra
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 13:10 IST

A refreshing article at a time when most of the media and the
commenting public are jumping to easy conclusions about Advaniji's
motives. The key takeaway from Advaniji's position is being missed,
which is that in the process of building the Modi brand, the party
might make short term gains (that too hypothetical) but risks losing
the collective leadership. There can be no more bashing of the
Congress's personality cult. And the most important message for the
BJP is that it needs to focus on alliances rather than personalities;
the keys to 2014 are in the hands of Amma, Behenji, Didi, Naidu,
Nitish, Naveen & Raj. Advaniji should know... he built and managed a
23-party alliance!

from:  Ramanathan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 12:55 IST

Even before Modi becomes PM, some people already written him off as
failure. And if younger generation replaces old which is natural
process, then why so much clamor for Advani when he was best thought
of as a relic by the these same guys a week ago. there is a more
sinister design at work. The payment just increased & everyone wants a
pie in Modi-bashing bonanza. The point is, why this man Modi has to
face a collective diatribe from a minority (who believe they are
secular) when except 2002 there is nothing else against him. Actually,
even 2002 is not proven guilt for Modi but many across the country &
internationally have gotten off the hook for far worse. Think of Bush
and Iraq. Think of Obama and Syria. Modi's elevation is far more
democratic than every other party in India who are at best fiefdom of
a political dynasty or one-family backyard. Modi faced all odds to
reach this place. No doubt, under achievers are petrified that Modi
may succeed where entire polity class failed

from:  Rohit
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 12:33 IST

There will be a flood of articles which will be anti-Modi and this is the first of them.

With due respects to Mr Advani,why is he resisting the elevation of Mr Modi?Does he have the best interests of the party in mind?If yes,how?

Assuming he is not pushing for another shot at PM and genuinely feels Modi as PM candidate will pull down the party,what is he aiming at in the first place?

The congress knows it's going to go down by 60 to 70 seats.Their aim is very clear,ensure the anti-congress vote does not go to the BJP but to other parties so that they will still get to run UPA 3 albeit with reduced power.

So the BJP's action has to be towards ensuring that they benefit the anti-congress vote.For that,they have to convince the electorate that voting for them will be a better option than voting for the sundry regional parties.

For that they have no choice but to present a leader who can communicate his ideas and vision for the country.Like it or not,they do not have the luxury of

from:  Ajay
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 12:32 IST

Shiv Viswanathan's article smacks of prejudice towards the BJP and
Modi in particular. He is right when he recalls Advani's contribution
to the BJP but conveniently omits the patriarch's obsession for
wanting to be Prime Minister. Even the 2009 defeat had not
extinguished this desire.And this resignation drama is the old man's
last throw of the dice. The truth is Modi has captured the imagination
of a size able chunk of the electorate as a decisive leader with a
proven record (much to the dislike of the left liberal establishment
that dominates the media and political circles). Frankly I found Shiv
Vishwanathan's article in poor taste just like Advani's recent

from:  R Narayanan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 12:07 IST

I was in Gujarat during 2002 riots and saw first hand how out of control the law
and order situation was and how callous the administration was. The mob mania
that I observed even in well to do societies was absolutely reprehensible and fills
me with shame as a Hindu whenever I think about it.There is also no denying that what happened in Godhra was heinous but
it is a shame to us as humans if we think that killing of innocents is justified for
what was an act of few terrorists or mentally sick people. Why have we fallen so
low that we are willing to make a "HERO" of person with dismal human rights
record just because he is a good administrator? I for one to be happy demand
dignity for myself and my countrymen irrespective of their faith over slightly better
economic prosperity.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 12:01 IST

The Advani-Modi feud and the way the electronic media has handled it is a side story by itself!!

The wise kept saying BJP is in deep mess for the simple reason that either way it's a fiasco for the Party....

Advani manages his way thro then BJP has to undo all that happened at Goa
If Modi has his way we will see the spectacle of Advani thrown in to dustbins of history!!

The real issue became tangential..if the decision to project Modi was the wish of the majority or a clever manipulation by a coterie.

The fact is that a vast majority of not only BJP cadres but the aam aadmi also prefer an energetic, decisive leader like Modi, for a change from the typical "political" leadership.

Most Indian leaders are merely "political"; they don't much care or know basics of allround development to take our country to a new level.

Even such illustrious names like Morarji, Indira or even Vajpayee and now Advani belong to this "political" class.

from:  N Nagarajan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:58 IST

Dear Writer, you have also become part of that team who have started crying for Advani. these people who advocate for advani from congress were throwing stones on him till last week. now they talk about values.

from:  inamdar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:48 IST

I find the views of Shiv highly realistic reflecting the past acts of Advani and Modi. People with coloured glasses do find this article colured. Shiv should go ahead with his analysis courageously.

Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:44 IST

A lot of Modi supporters in the comment section are either blisfully unaware or chose to ignore the fact that Modi is a product of the Hindu fundamentalists. When the below 35 brigade will be beaten up by these fundamentalists on Valentines day or for wearing a skirt in public, only then they will realize the importance of not just looking at smooth roads and tall buildings but the fundamental liberal values of personal liberty and freedom which these religious bigots oppose.

As for Gujarat 'development', in a state where drinking water is hard to get for a lot of people and farmer suicides are common, what development are they talking about exactly? Gujarat was always a wealthy and prosperous state, Modi has done nothing extraordinary for him to be taken seriously as a 'developer'

from:  Jas
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:42 IST

This opinion should be taken with a large helping of salt for the convenient portrayal
of one side of the coin. For a person who is credited in this article for shrewdness,
Mr Advani has failed this nation as the de-facto leader of the opposition. For 9
years, this country is being pillaged and its citizens robbed left, right and centre -
and all Advani can do is go on Rath-Yathras every time there is an election.
The BJP has become a totally useless party in these years, unable to bring the
government of the day to account for all the various instances of fraud on the
country - if Advani is not responsible for this, who is? The BJP today has no agenda
- exactly what does it stand for? All Advani can do is talk up the temple and arrange
a Rath Yathra. In contrast, Modi stands for progress, development and governance.
And strength - I think we've had enough of lame-duck 'leaders' who cannot make a
decision. For the BJP to stay relevant, Advani HAS to go.

from:  S Menon
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:39 IST

This article is atypical behaviour of Indians.When someone who can do
good to the society emerges, then all of us rush to pull him/her
down.All people are not borne with perfect qualities in this world.Hence
the choice shall be the best of the available commodities.Mr Narendra
Modi is the one who can deliver the things to the people.Definitely he
will not let down India and its people.

from:  Narayanan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:29 IST

Suddenly, LK Advni has become the darling of the English media in India. Till yesterday, he was a communalist, fascist and leader of the saffron brigade who led the attack on the Babri Masjid. Now, after being sidelined at the fag end of his life by a new breed of leaders headed by Modi, Advani, till yesterday the villan, is now projected as a victim. Advani cannot live in the past glory. In the last two general elections, he led the BJP/NDA at the polls and failed miserably. If BJP wants to succeed, it needs a modern, aggressive leader like Modi, who is the darling of the powerful Indian middle class as well as the industry. We need a leader who can generate jobs, who can improve agriculture, who can bring in foreign investments and who can hold the country together. Modi at 62 is a bachelor and nobody can hurl charges of promoting familial interests at him. Remember, Advani is a Lok Sabha member from Gujarat, thanks to Modi.

from:  Vaidyanathan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:24 IST

It is nice to read this side of opinion, but no politician today is a
saint. If Advani calls Modi an autocratic ruler, he himself was one. Its
just that Modi controls the money and power now just like he used to do
in rath yatra.

What perhaps eats him is that Modi is a true dark lord - in the sense
that he does not share power.

from:  raman
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:23 IST

Ok so what does the author propose the people to do? Vote for Congress?
Is that it?? Fine, lets just vote for Congress again, let the version
3.0 concoct bigger and better scams in the next term and let India
continue to suffer like a leper. By the end of the UPA-III regime,
India will be swallowed up by Pakistan and China and that's all folks! Honestly it is getting extremely irritating to read the paper these days, its just filled with
platitudes and ambivalent statements about the future of the country.

from:  Nandini
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:13 IST

I find it astonishing that all the people in English media have started to support Advani; the hardline face of BJP, now has become their darling. Another point, is this the first time in politics we are seeing this in India, and for that matter it happens every where in the world, what Nehru did to outsmart Gandhi to come to power, what he did to other congress leaders, what about Indira doing the same, and what about Chandrababu Naidu what he do to NTR, it happens so what is the big deal now. Advani must have seen this coming and must have gracefully faded away,don't we know what was his equation with Vajpayee during the last days of NDA rule.

from:  D Aravindh Shukla
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:11 IST

I am still not sure what "THE HINDU" has against Modi, to be publishing such tripe. Statements like 'His statement was a message that the BJP cannot be held to ransom by one man' and 'Shoddy treatment meted out to Mr.Advani ..." are simply hilarious

If the author can't even see who is holding the BJP to ransom by - "If he is the campaign chief, then here is my resignation ...", I am not sure whether THE HINDU should continue posting his articles.

from:  Sankar Rajamani
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:10 IST

The seniority of a leader and respect have it's place, but what should
matter for a post is a person who can perform and get things done. At
age of 83/86, what is guarantee that person will even survive whole
term? And of course how much he can relate today's world?
You speak of consensus and such values, but what congress is doing - 2G,
Coal, CWG - is that consensus ok for you? I don't think 100% consensus
is possible in any system/organization. Majority is what counts!

from:  Vishal
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 11:09 IST

I wish Hindu will analyse deeply why Rahul Gandhi is unable to occupy place in hearts and mind of young, aspirational, growth and development focused young generation? He has all possible advanatges plus age on his side still vacated the space to controvercial and older Modi.

Isn't he responsible for rise of modi?

from:  Harish Maru
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:56 IST

if BJP is graceless , I wonder what Congress is for locking Sitaram Kesri in a loo so that Madam can become the president.

from:  Vikas Thukral
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:54 IST

The writer who has experienced the autocracy of Mr Modi in Gujarat has expressed the right questions to be raised and answered about Modi functioning outside Gujarat, in a coalition and with clear policies. The BJP has shown no clear policies on many important national issue like the economy, FDI, foreign affairs and such critical issue. They have resorted to mere opposition/walkouts and have avoided any debate to give their valuable inputs to any Bill. In fact they have opposed proposals formerly advocated by them. Economics is no longer a country centric problem as it involves the economies of other countries with whom we are linked. Similarly, handling foreign issues doesnt just mean taking a strong position without realising the reality of diplomacy. Corruption cannot be made the only issue as the BJP's record is as bad and just throwing unreal figures unsupported by facts on matters yet in Court or investigation will not win votes. The country cannot be equated to Gujarat.

from:  S.N.Iyer
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:46 IST

The octogenarian should generously step aside as did Bhishma Pitamah. In
a democracy, the will of the majority should prevail. Sorry to say this
is a totally biased article.

from:  prabitha
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:44 IST

Shiv V says BJP is a graceless party because of the shoddy treatment meted out to LKA. These journalists of a specific type are suddenly suffering from 'enemy's enemy is my friend' syndrome. Since when did Shiv start seeing only virtues in LKA. And for treating the oldies, who can forget the way PVN was treated by the Congress or what is happening in Kerala CPIM? The old order will either die naturally or will be given quick burial by the new and that is how supreme nature deals with people.

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:33 IST

This genersl election seems nothing but contemparaneous to the Lok Sabha elections of the year 1977. Like in that period, Congress today is in tatters and people of India, were and are, looking for a change in outlook of the core elite group in the limelight. But should BJP, like in the year 1980(that time Jana Sangha), be elected to form the government in 2014, must be reminiscent what unfolded after the elections. It was total chaos at the centre and there was no coalition or a way of functioning for the government.
The signs in BJP preceding the 2014 elections are ominous and one cannot resist but compare their lack of consensus within the party with that of year 1980, in which Jana sangha was ousted from the centre.
BJP should be careful in its steps leading to 2014 and not put its onus entirely on one man and that too sacrificing the leadership of one of its senior most member, the binding force.

from:  Sahil Bhatia
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:22 IST

The views of Shiv Visvanathan are very colored and not based on facts on the ground. Respect for the old cannot be guaranteed unless the old exhibit wisdom & grace that is expected of them. One cannot doubt or undermine the huge contribution LKA made to BJP and its growth. The most important final contribution required is "renouncing" the ambitions for power & authority. Former RSS chief Sudarshan spoke very eloquently about the need for the old to groom the young and step aside and guide them toward building a strong & prosperous India. Unfortunately power corrupts even the most wise and LKA has proved to be no exception.

from:  MSR Ayyangar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:21 IST

There is no shoddy treatment of Advani. He is just hungry for PM post for which he lost during 2009 and plunged the party into its new low. But now he wants to bank on NM's popularity and wants to become PM. So greedy or Mr. Advani.

from:  harsh V
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 10:18 IST

Shoddy treatment! Advani chose not to attend the meet at Goa. It was
to decide on certain issues that were going to have far reaching
consequences for the future of India. Clearly, the event was more
important than individuals. In a party that is democratically run, at
least ostensibly, it is the voice of majority that should prevail. Why
should any individual, be it Advani or any one else, think that it is
his view that is paramount and anyone going against that is meting out
shoddy treatment to him. It is, in fact, Advani who should be charged
for having behaved irrationally and in an undemocratic manner by
refusing to accept the mandate of the party. He chose to sulk. It's
Bata by choice. He cannot blame others for what he heaped on himself.
In this age of his he should have been more considerate and mature.
Instead, he showed rank immaturity and simply because he has not been
able to reconcile himself to the fact that he could not make it in
2009. He never had it it in him.

from:  NC Sinha
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 09:54 IST

Let us see, Advani got two chances to lead BJP to victory and he failed. He is 86 years old
and yet he still nurses the dream of being the PM. India a nation of majority young people
has top leaders like Advani who are sorely out of touch with the youth and their dreams and
aspirations. Mahabharata teaches us that after a certain age wise men are supposed to take
sanyas and give up worldly desires. Yet Advani is still hackers for PM post knowing full well
that he neither evokes confidence or excitement in the people. How long India has to carry
forward the dead wood at the top who wants all the perks of age like respect and deference
and yet Are loathe to make room for the capable next generation. Advani now tries to give
pious touch on his petulance to Modi's success and rise within BJP. Advani is from Mumbai,
can he safely win an election in his home city! He still has to depend on Modi and Gujarat to
deliver the MP seat at the parliament.

from:  Suvojit Dutta
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 09:36 IST

Excellent Analysis.Advani is the main who laid foundation to BJP and the way he was treated during Goa meeting is not what he deserves.Advani is magnanimous enough to let Vajpayee enjoy the fruit of his hard work.He is a man of principles .Let Modi learn some of the values before leading the party and thereafter the nation

from:  sasi
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 09:25 IST

The usual 'Yawn-yawn' article, encouraged and promoted by the The Hindu against Mody.
Criticise but provide no alternate vision.
We know who is bereft of ideas....picture

from:  Jk Kishore
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 09:24 IST

If LK Advani is such a wise man then he should graciously make way for
a younger person. He is purely driven by his own personal agenda to
become PM. He had two opportunities in 2004 and 2009, but could not
lead the party to victory.He should be a sporting loser, display his
leadership qualities, allow Modi to take over, unite the party and
mentor the younger generation. That would be really statesman like.
What he is doing today reeks of sour grapes and does not behove an 85
year old.

from:  Bhaskar Bhattacharya
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 09:23 IST

The article is sympathetic to L.K.Advani. But regardless of his grace, generosity, political acumen and contribution, L.K.Advani, at 85, must understand that his party workers and supporters of BJP in general now seek a change in leadership. He must make way for a younger leader, and he cannot choose proxies such as Sushma Swaraj or Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The article is right in that Modi is winning the battle of perception. But the perception is based on his record over last two terms in Gujrat. Importantly, Modi is assertive and aggressive. He has never tried to hide his political ambitions. He is not very different from Chandrababu Naidu and Jayalalitha, who are both tough administrators and dictatorial in style. The difference is that Modi dreams of a national role by virtue of his possible influence on the Hindi belt, whereas Naidu and Jayalalitha do not have that luxury. The article rightly ends by posing the question "Is India ready for Modi"?

from:  Guruprasad S
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 09:16 IST

Sulking patriarch of BJP should have gracefully accepted the fact that rank and file cadres of
the party are looking for Modi to steer towards victory in 2014. Congress stalwarts like PM,
FM and other economist managers have lost all new ideas without any scope for corruption
and scams. It is imperative that a new leaf and path has to be tried with innovative models of
development by a new set of individuals with ideas and if it can happen through democratic
process should be encouraged without any talk of divisiveness or autocracy and other
strong words fully forgetting what Indira Gandhi did to Congress in 1971 and subsequently
on economic policies. Both present leadership in Congress and Advani team are behind
times in matter of country's development and new problems need new innovative solutions.
Some times dynastic solutions will lead to a failure of leadership as is happening now. If the
new leaders like Modi fail, they will be thrown out by people in 2019 in a democratic way.

from:  MvjRao
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 08:36 IST

Hi Shiv

Your statement "A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of
ideas, a country content to play with old clichés like development,
governance, security as if they were freshly minted currency. Mr. Modi
is a hybrid created out of an updated swadeshi rhetoric which now
manifests itself as a technocratic and corporate, and a loose World
Bank vocabulary we call governance" is diabolically glib.

Nowhere you have made an attempt to substantiate this statement! You
are like a man (with eyes closed) touching a part of elephant and declaring it is a
rope, a trunk, a wall etc.

from:  Deepak Nagar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 08:34 IST

So....the Author means to say that L.K.Advani should be....made the campaign manager.....there by making him the priministerial candidate at the ripe old age of 85. By questioning the methods and methodology of you think do we have a alternate...(Rahul Gandhi....the great Prince...i guess) in BJP or in any other party who can claim of being able to show some his office. The Riots of Gujarat keep coming up....but then or the other states which are ruled by congress any better ( Hyderabad riots recently on a issue of temple) where the Hindus even though they were the losing party were not given the minimum protection. The Author should have given an alternative solution after putting forth his arguement.

from:  Vaki
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 08:18 IST

Your article presents interesting picture but is incomplete because it is only
centered on Modi. It doesn't count on what LK Advani or Manmohan Singh
presents (is saying 'theek hai' and 'we condemn this' sufficient for consensus?). It doesn't think of alternatives and where Modi sits
relatively to the available alternatives. Even views of Sushma Swaraj (what are her
credentials apart from being a good orator?) or loss in Karnataka elections (what
was Modi's role to play in it? In fact Modi's speeches in Bangalore had a positive
impact). And why do you think development and governance are not important?
For our country, they are still the most pertinent issues (many decades to go to
fight about abortion or gay marriages).

Overall I think this article is written subtly to downplay NaMo. He may not be the
best prime minister candidate ever but he is surely the best option in present

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 07:51 IST

Mr Advani is paying the price for not insisting on Mr Modi's resignation in 2002. In a purely legal sense, Mr Modi has not been indicted. Politically he has been elected to office again and again. What can you do with him now? Yes, he is a polarising presence and will surely divide the party and perhaps the country. BJP has probably lost a final opportunity to clean up its mess. The INC with all its sins has developed the ability to swallow gigantic scams and is able to sit pretty. This situation is unique even for India. Remember Bofors? Mr Rajiv Gandhi lost power in 1989 mainly due to it and his party almost failed to get it back again two years later. Strange are the ways of Indian politics.

from:  Ramesh Parthasarathy
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 07:46 IST

this coming of age of the youth brigade in BJP to openly confront old guards is sure a welcome sign. When the corruption, nepotism, poor governance are the norm in present India, the promise of an efficient, decisive, and possibly clean governance is the strongest point of Mr Modi. The break from consensual politics bereft of any ideology except sharing fruits of power can not be the selling point of BJP which has in recent years started resembling more like a poor clone of congress. Good or bad for the party - BJP must have a decisive strategy which was not seen in recent past. Their own committed party workers might have gone along with the decision of their High Command, but the uneasiness over BP behaving more like congress and have no clear stated policies on any major national issues, has been a invasive malice and have reflected in poor participation.
Advani is an old politician and has shaped BJP well but there is always a time to say good bye.

from:  dinesh dikshit
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 07:42 IST

Shiv Visvanathan seems to think that the readers of the Hindu are morons.His is perhaps the most biased political analysis (if it can be called an analysis at all) one has ever read. One never expected this type of writing on the pages of the Hindu.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 07:36 IST

I too have my own doubts about ability of Modi to lead the country.
India faces many challenges which are inherently complex. For a
multi-regional, multi-lingual country like India,its leadership has to
be inclusive in nature. Straight line solutions offered by Modi and
his kin do not fit this complex scenario. But all this is besides the
point. BJP as a party had a right to choose its leader. The party has exercised its right and made its choice. It cannot now go back on its
decision. One must not forget how Sonia Gandhi was anointed as the
president of the Congress in the nineties and how Sitaram Kesri was
ejected out of his office like a Chaparasi. Advani has fared better
than Kesri. When new generation takes over, old one has to fade out.
This is the law of Nature. Those who want to defy this law and nurse
PM ambitions at the age of 85 will end up becoming a comic figure like
Sitaram Kesri.

from:  Pramod Patil
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 07:18 IST

I have yet to see an article on The Hindu that is not critical of Mr. Modi. All articles
downplay his achievements of over-play the Godhra riots - the Indian Supreme Court
cleared him, so why cant you accept it? He is not anti-Muslim. He is anti-
hooliganism and anti-appeasement. He is pro-development, pro-India.

Muslims voted for him in Gujarat - why don't you dig up and publicize the number of
Muslims who voted for him and for BJP in the recent elections, and ask some of them
why they did so?

from:  Ketan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 07:03 IST

Modi's anointment is good for the country in a sense that it will virtually demolish the BJP, although in the short run Modi could catapult
the party into power despite the Adwani saga. Modi as a leader is simply unsustainable.

from:  Dr.Joji Cherian
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 06:52 IST

Whatever may the reasons, as a senior leader of BJP and party patriarch L K Advani ought not to have gone public with his resignation letter and it amounts to gross indiscipline. He is fighting a losing battle knowing well that RSS and the entire rank and file of BJP is with Narendra Modi. Unlike other political leaders in BJP, every action taken by Advani in the past is with an objective to push forward his ambitious personal political agenda. Revolt and rebellion for furtherance of his personal interest is a hallmark of Lalchand Kishenchand Advani. For example; Ram Temple Yatra which led to a sharp division on communal lines when late V P Singh was consolidating his position through social engineering, clean chit to Narendra Modi in 2002 in the aftermath of communal riots in Gujarat even while the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was for resignation of Modi citing Rajya dharma and the entire nation was pointing figure on Modi for the heinous genocide, elevation as Deputy Prime Minister just before completion of the term of 13th Lok Sabha to position himself as Team Leader in the subsequent Lok Sabha election. In the past also he has resigned as party president on June 7, 2005 following widespread criticism over his remarks praising Mr Jinnah as a secular leader and had described Mr Jinnah as one of the "very few who actually create history. Again in October 2004, the BJP veteran, who was appointed President in October 2004, stood by his comments while sending in his resignation letter. At a time when the groundswell is in favour of BJP and there is a sudden euphoria among the rank and file of the party after the elevation of Narendra Modi as Chairman of Campaign Committee, the indiscipline if allowed to continue from any quarters will boomerang. It is unfortunate that due to the growing unbecoming act of leaders of like Advani BJP fails to present a strong alternative to a discredited UPA. By involving himself in the intrigue to malign the party, Advani is making himself to lose his stature. Each day, each hour and every minute he is diminishing as a leader and literally becoming a saddle for the party.

from:  ettirankandath krishnadas
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 06:34 IST

The author misses the point that that Modi is a reflection of a democratic process
and that needs to be recognized. In my humble opinion he is unlikely to make it to
the PM position, competing with several leaders, such as Mayawati, Mulayam Singh,
Rahul Gandhi and who knows who else, but he will definitely place the agenda of his
constituency on the table, and others will have to respond. This is what democracy is
all about, pushing ideas, rhetorical or not, through people and parties. If indeed he
does become the PM by catapulting BJP to a majority, there will be yet another
election in 2019 to judge him. We need to have confidence in the democratic system
that has gradually improved over the years and our efforts should be to strengthen it
at every corner and avoid actions that undermine it. In a billion plus population, this
is the only way to ensure reasonably peaceful governance.

from:  CK Pandey
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 06:28 IST

We are now in a land of coalition politics. The leading political parties got divided stage by
Stage. The congress, the Communist party of India, the Muslim league in Kerala, the Siva
Sena, the DMK in Tamilnadu and now it is the turn of BJP. There will be clash between

Leaders at the top, and the party gets divided on this issue, and new parties emerge with
Tall promises to help the poor, but with " special agendas" to advance the "special interests"
Of the leaders, who initiated the split. It is practically impossible to mobilize the entire
populace into two parties as in USA , or to three parties as in England , in future in India.
The development in the BJP should be viewed in this background . It is rather difficult to
Visalise a patch up, as the ongoing fight was there for a long time, and didn't erupt
suddenly at Goa. During the last few months, several leaders lined up behind Modi and the
Whole country was watching the situation . The Goa Split followed.

from:  C p Chandra das
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 06:15 IST

Your last line ' Narendra Modi is the change that we have to decide whether we want to be.' is not a question but a statment. We have seen the UPA bogged down with one scam after another and totally at a loss to the pressing issues of the day. We have also seem the policy and adminstrative paralysis in the UPA camp. From the Congress camp you either have Rahul Gandhi or someone appointed by his mother as the leader of the country. No self respecting politician will call himself a leader while the strings are with someone else. Dr Singh is more of an academic/administrator than a politician.
Currently Modi and his brand of politics appeals to the youth and middle-class and there is a hope that he will cure the corruption cancer eating away at the vitals of the country.
We have nothing to lose by selecting Modi over other contenders. To give it a positive spin, we could gain a lot with Modi as the PM.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 06:11 IST

Even great soldiers fade away in the sunset. Advani, Mr. Non Governance, Sonia and their parivar peddling yesterday's snake oil all are totally dispensable for India. As Charles degaulle said " the world is full of graves of indispensable men".
There is no need to be shedding crocodile tears.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 05:34 IST

All those who are concerned about the definite threat to our secular
fabric should the BJP come to power at the centre must now be more than
a little confused. On the one hand, anointing Modi as the PM candidate
is likely to keep away both many of BJP's allies in the NDA as well as
a large fraction of the electorate, thereby assuring that Modi's ascent
to power is checked. While this offers hope and consolation for the
future of secularism in this country, the slightest prospect of Modi
coming to occupying the PM post, now that only victory in the 2014
elections stands before him, is on the other hand worrying.

from:  Arjun Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 05:29 IST

One of the better articles these days from Hindu, that is not
reflexively anti-Modi.

from:  Murthy
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 04:40 IST

"Narendra Modi is the change that we have to decide whether we want to

Yes, we want that change.

-A below 35 Indian.

from:  abhi
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 04:27 IST

1. India needs a new direction
2. We need to shake of age-old ideas. Religious tolerance is good and
indeed so is secularism, but not at the cost of self-denial
3. The Advani of old was as divisive as the Modi of today (rather, the
Modi of Godhra days)
4. Advani has positioned himself as Prime ministerial candidate
without shame for his actions of the 90's, not once, but in two
General Elections.
5. His craving for power has actually gone as far as making ridiculous
statements that even Congress leaders would be ashamed to admit -
"secular" Jinnah?
6. Now this same Advani wants to deny Narendra Modi? Because he is
"divisive", and anti-minority? Rich words, coming from the "mosque-
7. This is a new age. The world will leave India far behind unless
strong ideas are implemented without remorse.
8. Modi is capable of this as no other leader in India is. He seems to
single-minded, and free of a corrupt family - at least on a scale
that is quite "acceptable" for Indian politics.

from:  Jay
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 04:14 IST

One question remains: What is the author trying to say?

from:  William
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 04:08 IST

You are right on one account. Modi is the embodiment of middle-class
values in India.
We want an efficient, honest and inclusive government. I believe Modi
can deliver on this.
We want an India that can stand up to the world; not like the meek
response to the recent Chinese incursion, or the response to
Surabjit's murder, or the Italian marines issue. I believe Modi can
make India stronger.
We want an India which is prosperous and can feed its poor. I believe
that Modi can deliver on this.

Whatever the anti-BJP, anti-Modi media says, this is the pulse of the
aam-admi of India. Come the 2014 elections, our voice will be heard.

from:  Sriram
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 04:05 IST

I would agree on some points made by the author while disagree with some others. But I would like to point out two things. First: 'A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of ideas, a country content to play with old clichés like development, governance, security as if they were freshly minted currency. ' It is easy to say such things while having a job, enough food, water and shelter. Even though these are old cliches for the author, these are the basic necessities for the people of a society which sadly are beyond the reach of a significant fraction of our population.
Second: 'Deep down he is an authoritarian man ill at ease with dissent or coalitions. Yet he lacks the charisma to carry India. He does not quite represent Mr. India because he does not embody all the values of our Constitution' I see a contradiction in the first two sentences and would like to remind the author that many (if not most) of our past leaders would not embody values of our constitution.

from:  Rohan
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 04:02 IST

Political Parties must reflect ideas rather than social graces. Ideas triumph over each other, they fight for supremacy. The stakes for India are enormous.

from:  m.maha
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 03:51 IST

Advani is neither Bhishma Pitamah of BJP nor any shoddy treatment has been meted out to him, as claimed by this journalist / reporter.He has been meted out the same treatment he gave to the old stawlwarts of his party like Balraj Madhok and Madan Lal Khurana.
At the age of 87 he must retire gracefully and without creating any further rift in the Party for his own benefit. Younder generation of India wants leaders who put the country first as against their personal benefits, egos and priorities. Advani must remember that Parties have to change their agenda and grow with changes in Society, thinking and values.

from:  harshi
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 03:33 IST

It is NOT India, BJP or NaMo who is "bereft of ideas". It is
the author and his verbal pyrotechnics!

from:  Jay Ravi
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 03:32 IST

Well written article, cogent analysis and well, spot on.

from:  Saurabh Sharma
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 03:27 IST

I am not a great follower of Mr. Modi but I want to ask a simple question?
How many of our Prime Minister represent your so called Idea of India ( Or all Sections of India)?
I think every politician represent certain values & certain section of people. Why Narendra Modi has to be perfect? Is Rahul Gandhi Represent India? He is better than any politician in India under the current scenario (Who might be PM of India).
So much hate is spread against Mr. Modi that we read and learn about this man. No court, No investigation agency said a word against him but we always tainted hom of 2002 riots.

He may or may not be PM of India.... But according to me he is a perfect man to lead.

from:  Surendra
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 03:15 IST

"A Narendra Modi can only rise in an India bereft of ideas, a country
content to play with old clichés like development, governance,
security as if they were freshly minted currency."

I can only say: huh? Since when did campaigning for development,
governance and security become a symptom of being bereft of ideas?
What else do you want?

And honestly, India's per capita GDP is $1500. The Congo has a per
capita GDP of $3200. I suggest we postpone the implementation of
really creative ideas for the time being and focus on dumb ideas like
"development" and "governance". Once we are richer than Congo, maybe
intellectuals can put forward some cool ideas for the nation to work

from:  Abhishek
Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 at 03:14 IST
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