Introspection time for Bharatiya Janata Party

Biplob Ghosal

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which calls itself a party with a difference, seems increasingly like a banner divided by different camps, with every other leader’s individual ambitions ruining the common core.

Very often, BJP leaders have said to media that the party has a number of competent leaders for the PM’s post and thus are not in a hurry to announce any name. This attitude seems rather confusing, as the recent episodes have only given the impression that all is not well within the party and there is, in fact, no consensus on the prime ministerial candidate.

People know their future ruler as far as Congress is concerned would be either Dr Manmohan Singh or the ‘Yuvraaj’ Rahul Gandhi, unless they spring a surprise. Similarly, the citizens would also want to be familiar with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Unfortunately, the only feeling which the electorate is getting is that there is a leadership crisis within the BJP.

The Saffron party might be trying to tone down the “differences”, but dissidence and internal bickering is out in the open and the common man is beginning to become wary of the principal opposition party.

The veteran LK Advani, who time and again gives the impression that he is still in the race for the top post, should realise that this country now wants a leader from the next generation and he should be satisfied to play the role of a mentor. It’s very clear that Advani doesn’t have the aura anymore or command the same respect.

At a time when Congress is going through an extremely difficult time and people are dissatisfied with the ruling party, the BJP has failed to project itself as an alternative; all thanks to several battles, big and small, within its ranks.

This was evident with Advani’s blog in which he wrote that while Indians were angry with the government, they were also unhappy with the BJP, and that the mood in the party was not upbeat.

The situation has gone from bad to worse within the BJP, and the RSS, which once had supreme control over the party has not been able to wield power recently.

Incidents like induction of Baburam Kushwaha of Uttar Pradesh into the BJP, Gadkari backing businessman Anshuman Mishra`s candidature for a Rajya Sabha seat and supporting former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyuraapa, who doesn’t share a healthy relation with Advani have led to fissures within the party and betray a sense of distrust.

Narendra Modi-Sanjay Joshi episode, Vasundhara Raje-Gulabchand Kataria spat, DV Sadanand Gowda-Yeddyurappa fight and Sushma Swaraj and LK Advani not attending Mumbai rally are just few of the fiascos that BJP had to deal with in the recent past and this displays that faultlines in the BJP are only increasing.

It is also now out in the open that not all within the BJP are happy with their president Nitin Gadkari getting a second term, largely because of an internal power struggle.

Not only the above incidents, but many top leaders who are eyeing the prime ministerial post have also been the cause for deteriorating condition in the BJP.

The party has time to reconcile its differences but the onus is on the leaders who have led the party down. The effect is such that many political analysts believe that the infighting within the top leadership has infiltrated and demoralised the cadre and can affect its electoral prospects.

Some leaders have a sense of what’s going on. Rajnath Singh also voiced his concern saying that his party will pay a price if it shunned principles for the sake of power.

"Our politics must be based on principles. To retain power at any cost is unprincipled politics," the former Bharatiya Janata Party president had said.

With the next Lok Sabha elections only two years away, the party which is in majority in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Goa and also runs a coalition government in Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab and Nagaland needs to resurrect its image if it wants to come back to power.

And the sooner the better.

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