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`Saffron` blues - Twitterati

By Swati Chaturvedi | Last Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 16:37
Swati Chaturvedi

BJP believes that it is a party of god’s choice but the Congress must be in devout genuflections at this heaven sent opposition. Just when the Congress was almost knocked-out on the epic corruption in the government, Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha came out swinging - no not at Dr Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi, but at the real opposition otherwise known as Arun Jaitly and Nitin Gadkari.

Result - the nation was treated to the unedifying spectacle of the 50 plus BJP leaders pointing fingers at each other. Veteran BJP watchers are convinced that come general elections, it will be septuagenarian L K Advani versus 40 something Rahul Gandhi. Not because he will win the election for the BJP (might even make Rahul look good) but because the so called second generation hate each other far more than they hate losing the election.

The BJP today is a party adrift in the large sea of egos. So there is no coordination between the leaders of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Due to this severe lack of direction, Dr Singh gets a clean chit over tainted Thomas on twitter, that too no less from Swaraj. She is thrilled - two points have been scored, one against her rival Arun, and the second was her advent on twitter as some expensive image consultant has undoubtedly explained to her that it is necessary for getting that important youth vote.

Swaraj on twitter is rather strange. She has reduced the social medium to her own reflection. You see she tweets important policy formulations without the tiresome business of party consultations yet she does not follow anyone else on Twitter. Quite like her attitude in the party.

A senior BJP leader says, "She is in makeover mode, already planning her innings as PM. Hence the youth outreach with the tweets, the distancing herself from her protégés the Bellary brothers and the feral attacks on Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitly (rival claimants) she is indulging in the BJP’s favourite past-time re-writing history from her links with the brothers who call her amma."

However, the crisis in the party is much more than a cosmetic make-over to look cool. There is Narendra Modi - the perpetual paradox. Feted and loved by the base and the only BJP leader with a huge mass base yet confined to Gujarat with the riots still an albatross around his neck and exploratory campaign forays outside not yielding any results.

Swaraj's occasional swipes and jibes at him reflect the central leadership's discomfort with him.

Jaitly, who last fought Delhi University student elections, has a formidable razor sharp intellect but keeps bottling the election issue, causing much gee to rivals who keep muttering about sandwich chomping drawing room politics with plants to a obliging network of journalists.

A former aide of Atal Behari Vajpayee says, "We should all be relieved that the new short range nuclear tipped missile developed by Pakistan is not available to the BJP leaders. They would only target each other, never Pakistan."

The irony of having competent mass leaders such as Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh appears to be entirely lost on the ego aloft central leadership who devise new ways to spin the news cycle daily.

Then there is the 900 pound gorilla in the shape of election winner Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar who has his own Lal Quilla ambitions which are haunting Delhi based BJP leaders. They know that with him as a face, it might be a new Atal Behari moment with the NDA giving the UPA tough competition but, then what about their prime-ministerial ambitions nursed so tenderly and nurtured with so much politicking.

And as voters repeatedly display their preference for accountable identifiable faces and with the crucial UP test - gate way to Delhi only eight months away, the BJP does not have a single face to take on Mayawati.

So you repeatedly have senior BJP leaders hemming and hawing when asked who their leader is. Then some talk of a galaxy of leadership emerges. At this point it seems to be a galaxy plummeting towards a black hole.

So watch this space and do not be too surprised if LK Advani with a Cheshire-cat grin on his face is seen making short-weather of dumb-bells and belles.

First Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 16:37

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