BJP leader L.K. Advani’s abrupt resignation from three party posts to protest the elevation of Narendra Modi as the party’s election campaign chief was interesting. Finding Mr. Modi the toast of all must have shaken him. More interesting, although expected, was his withdrawal of the resignation after the RSS intervention. This is a pointer to the integral role the sangh will play in governance if the BJP comes to power in 2014. Nagpur, it seems, is getting ready to assume centre stage.
There are many other questions which need answers. For instance, will there be continued resistance to Mr. Modi in future too? The Gujarat Chief Minister will have to work on unifying the dissenting old guard with his rallying supporters.
Mr. Modi’s elevation, Mr. Advani’s revolt, and his subsequent retreat under RSS pressure — all these demonstrate that the BJP cannot go beyond the RSS’s diktats. All BJP politicians start their career as RSS pracharaks and owe allegiance to it. The BJP will always remain the political wing of the RSS.
The “Bhishma Pitamaha” of the BJP has lost his credibility. Party cadres do not respect a leader who resigns frequently to express dissent and, more important, withdraws his resignation almost immediately.
It is clear from Mr. Advani’s resignation drama that he wants to be the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014. It would have been better for him to have accepted the party’s decision at the national executive. Mr. Modi, an energetic leader, who has an innate political sense of a resurgent India, is the BJP’s best bet.
Mr. Advani’s volte-face was contrived in order to present an image of cohesion and unity within the BJP. For all the sacrifice he has made for the BJP, Mr. Advani is seen by his party as a man who has outlived his utility in terms of vote-catching ability. His role will now be more or less akin to that of a grand old man of the family, confined to the easy-chair mutely watching the goings-on, albeit with disapproval.
Mr. Advani knew that his party would placate him and the RSS would intervene. Although he succeeded in asserting himself, the RSS has shown that his days are over, which is why he got nothing in return for withdrawing his resignation.
But Mr. Advani’s camp is justified in asking how a leader who has worked so hard to build the party on communal lines can be sidelined so easily. Although so many Muslims were killed in Gujarat when Mr. Modi was Chief Minister, Mr. Advani presided over the rath yatra and the Babri Majid demolition which triggered communal riots in many parts of the country and polarised society.
One hopes both the leaders will realise that the BJP will not get the numbers to occupy the seat of power. Nor will the question whether Mr. Advani or Mr. Modi should be Prime Minister arise.
K. Malikul Azeez,
The tamasha in the BJP is nothing but a power struggle between the so-called lohpurush and vikaspurush. There is no difference between the two as far as ideology is concerned. Both are for Hindutva which is based on cultural nationalism, communal chauvinism and sectarianism. Mr. Advani built his political fortunes on the ruins of the Babri Masjid. Mr. Modi used the communal card which led to the post-Godhra riots. No tears for Mr. Advani and no cheers for Mr. Modi.
N. Jan Muhammed,
The people of India want an alternative to the corruption-riddled UPA government. No one can stop corruption if UPA III comes to power. This is the right time for the BJP to mobilise people’s support. But, unfortunately, it is obsessed with infighting.
The “Bhishma Pitamaha” should not have revolted. The young want Mr. Modi as their future PM. They want the Gurajati model of development, along with secular values, to be replicated at the national level.
Venkata Ratnam Pitani,