BJP gets act right in Parliament, Bihar; but KTK sore point

BJP appeared to have found its feet in 2010 putting behind internal bickerings and getting its act right in Parliament but problems with its government in Karnataka stuck out like a sore thumb.

New Delhi: After the shattering defeat in
the general elections last year, the BJP appeared to have
found its feet in 2010 putting behind internal bickerings and
getting its act right in Parliament but problems with its
government in Karnataka stuck out like a sore thumb.

The party spearheading the Opposition campaign for a
Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G scam seemed to
be dented with uncomfortable questions raised over persisting
with B S Yeddyurappa as chief minister in Karnataka despite a
slew of allegations of irregularities against him and his
Cabinet colleagues.

The party started the year that came to a close on an
optimistic note with new president Nitin Gadkari and achieved
several highs, including victory in Bihar polls, and success
in cornering the UPA in Parliament on corruption.

However, not all was hunky dory for it as it faced
challenges ranging from charges on some RSS members of
involvement in terror activities, and the first saffron
government in Karnataka led by Yeddyurappa facing charges of
nepotism and out-of-turn land allotments apart from problems
on the Reddy brothers front.

RSS-backed Gadkari took over as BJP chief in
December, 2009 and he sought to take along all factions, which
were at loggerheads with each other in their fight for
supremacy and control of the organisation.

The understanding between the RSS and BJP veteran L K
Advani that he would mainly concentrate on the party`s role in
Parliament worked well for the principal Opposition.

Interestingly, Advani appeared to be overshadowed
occasionally by his able lieutenants Sushma Swaraj and Arun
Jaitley, who were vocal in leading the party charge as Leaders
of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively.

However, Advani seemed to have got a new lease of life
politically when the Ayodhya verdict came on September 30. He
welcomed the Allahabad High Court judgement declaring
trifurcation of the disputed land and claimed it "vindicated"
his 1990 rath yatra for building a Ram temple at Ayodhya.

BJP`s main achievements were in Parliament where it
successfully took on the Congress-led UPA government first on
the issue of price rise and then on corruption in Commonwealth
Games projects, Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai and the Rs
1.76 lakh crore scam in 2 G spectrum allocation.

On price rise and corruption, NDA even managed to have
issue-based understanding with other Opposition parties,
including the Left. The Opposition parties held a countrywide
bandh on July 5 against hike in prices of petrol, diesel and
other essential commodities, including foodgrains.

In Parliament, BJP emphasised on corruption in
Commonwealth Games and moved on to 2 G spectrum scam in the
Winter Session. While NDA and other Opposition parties said nothing
less than a JPC probe into the scam will do, the government
stood firmly against it. The result was a complete washout of
the month-long session.

Incidentally, BJP`s demand for a JPC probe was
somewhat dented by its own leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who as
chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee appeared to be
"pro-active" in pursuing the 2G spectrum scam probe.

This gave a handle to the Congress to say the PAC,
along with multi-disciplinary investigation agencies, was
competent enough to probe the scam.

The NDA has now taken the issue to the streets through
rallies in different state capitals against corruption and
plans to keep the issue alive till the Budget Session of
Parliament which begins in the last week of February next
year.

BJP`s long time NDA ally, JD-U helped it register a
spectacular win in Bihar polls. Despite strains between the
two parties over seat-sharing and keeping Gujarat Chief
Minister Narendra Modi out of the poll campaign, the alliance
won 206 seats in the 243-member Assembly. BJP increased its
tally from 55 in the 2005 polls to 91 in this election.

In Jharkhand, BJP first toppled the government led by
JMM leader Shibu Soren when he voted with the UPA government
during an Opposition-sponsored cut-motion against price rise
in the Lok Sabha.

However, soon thereafter when Soren and his son Hemant
offered to form a government led by BJP, the party could not
resist. It was only after several negotiations and flip flops
that a government headed by Arjun Munda was formed.

The Karnataka government was in the news for all the
wrong reasons. First the Reddy brothers - the mining magnates
- rebelled against Yeddyurappa and a few months later 11 party
MLAs and 5 Independents went to Governor H R Bhardwaj and gave
in writing that they are withdrawing support to him.

While Yeddyurappa won the controversial confidence
vote by a whisker, he was in troubled waters again when
charges of out of land allotment to his sons surfaced. Though
the central leadership gave him a breather after long
confabulations, party sources say he may have to go anytime
after the Panchayat elections get over.

The year also saw the return of Jaswant Singh to the
party fold in August. Interestingly, Singh did not apologise
for his pro-Jinnah remarks in his book, which had led to his
expulsion. Advani welcomed Singh`s return and said this came
as a sense of relief to him.

Soon after taking over, Gadkari had announced that he
would like those leaders who had left the party to come back.

He is said to be keen on firebrand Hindutva leader Uma
Bharti to come back to the party-fold and sources say her
return is imminent. BJP is hopeful that Bharti, who will have
to confine herself to Uttar Pradesh as part of the deal, will
revive the party in the state.

PTI