New Delhi: With the BJP veteran LK Advani targeting the incumbent party president Nitin Gadkari in his blog for his wrong decisions, the power struggle and widening rift between the top leaders of the right-wing party has also come out in the open.
Advani’s blog, which was published on a day when the main opposition party called a Bharat Bandh to protest the recent hike in petrol prices, has brought to fore that all is not well within the top rung of the BJP.
By making an indirect attack on the man at the helm of affairs in the party, Advani has now made public his growing differences with Gadkari and questioned his ability to lead the party.
According to political analysts, veteran BJP leader was reportedly upset that Gadkari was given a second three-year term by the RSS leadership ignoring his past mistakes, which severely dented the party’s public image.
Lending credence to this assertion is the fact that Advani, who is today the tallest active leader in BJP, did not attend a rally that was held as a show of unity after the conclusion of the National Executive meeting in Mumbai.
Faced with an embarrassing situation, the party later said that he had prior engagements - an excuse which had no takers.
Taking a clear aim at Gadkari, Advani wrote in his popular blog, “The mood within the party these days is not upbeat. The results in Uttar Pradesh, the manner in which the party welcomed BSP Ministers who were removed by Mayawati ji on charges of corruption, the party`s handling of Jharkhand and Karnataka - all these events have undermined the party`s campaign against corruption."
At a time when the saffron brigade is trying to put up a united front to take on the corruption-tainted UPA government at the centre, Advani’s suggestion that it is time for BJP to introspect what has gone wrong has further sent the top saffron leadership looking for cover.
In his blog, Advani even doubted if Gadkari has the capability to make BJP a credible alternative to the ruling UPA.
If Advani`s low-profile presence at the Mumbai meet gave an indication that he was not happy with Gadkari’s style of functioning, his blog made it apparent that the gulf between him and some party leaders has reached an unbridgeable situation.
It is obvious that Advani is unforgiving towards RSS-appointee Nitin Gadkari for his many “failings". It was only after Gadkari’s nod that Mayawati-reject BS Kushwaha was allowed into the party.
This was possibly the first time that the veteran leader openly questioned the decisions taken by the party chief although he did not name him while commenting in his blog.
Gadkari has faced severe criticism for inducting former BSP leader BS Kushwaha in the party who was earlier sacked by Mayawati after graft charges were levelled against him in connection with the multi-crore NRHM scam.
Similarly, Gadkari was also criticized by top BJP leaders for fielding Anshuman Mishra as the party candidate in Jharkhand Rajya Sabha polls, who was later charged with horse-trading in connection with the polls.
The BJP high command’s inept handling of the crisis in Karnataka - its southern stronghold – triggered by its tainted but powerful leader BS Yeddyurappa for reinstating him as the state’s Chief Minister made a mockery of the party’s stand on the issue of corruption.
All these decisions have raised serious question marks over Gadkari’s ability to lead the party, which once flourished under the able-guidance of visionary leader like AB Vajpayee.
Moreover, Advani`s praise for Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, has made it clear that his anger is directed at Gadkari and his RSS mentors.
Although a visibly embarrassed BJP refused to react to Advani`s blog, the veteran leader got tacit support from unexpected quarters. Senior Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh yesterday questioned Gadkari’s credentials as a politician and described him as more of a business man.