I agree with Shiv Visvanathan that Indian politics is entering a new phase (“Saviour for a party bereft of ideas,” June 11). Nehru was different from many of his co-workers and he sidelined them. I am sure it would have caused a lot of heartburn but he took a decisive step. Same was true of Indira Gandhi who decided to break free of her party syndicate and establish a new kind of politics.
The conflict in the BJP was inevitable; it marked a battle between the status quo and change. Mr. Advani defined a particular moment which might have passed. Only time will tell whether Mr. Modi will define another moment.
It is a fact that Mr. Advani was the true force behind the BJP’s success. His ideology suited the needs of a section in the past. Today, we have a new generation of voters.
Mr. Modi has proved in Gujarat that he is capable of transforming governance. It is a now-or-never situation for the BJP. If it does not set things right and move in a positive direction, it will be doomed forever.
Mr. Advani might have been a stalwart once but he lost his credibility among the BJP’s rank and file over time. He rose in politics using the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. He should have known that building a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya was not possible. Yet he chose to make the matter a political issue for electoral gains. Mr. Advani should ask himself where he went wrong.
The American Democratic Party nominated Adlai Stevenson as its presidential candidate 50 years ago. Although he represented the party’s liberal core, the electorate considered his idealism extreme and defeated his party. Similarly the Republicans nominated an icon of conservative ideology, Barry Goldwater, some years later and suffered a landslide defeat.
After the Babri Masjid events, Mr. Advani perhaps realises that Mr. Modi’s extreme right-wing ideology will be an unmitigated disaster for the BJP
I am waiting for the day the Congress is free from corruption and sycophancy, and the BJP rid of bigotry and chauvinism. Unless our parties reach such a level of maturity, we will be forced to choose between the lesser of the two evils. The UPA, which has better ideas for building an inclusive India, is ignorant of the means to implement them. And the BJP, which has the means for better governance, is bereft of ideas on how to take India forward.