Congress breakaway groups inspire BJP factions
The recent revolt by a section of the BJP in Rajasthan to express solidarity with former chief minister Vasundhara Raje is something very similar to what has been going on in the Congress for the last several years. The revolt assumed significance since it also indicated the threat by the supporters of the former CM that they may be forced to form their own regional outfit if an attempt was made to bring in someone else as the leader of the state party. Similar indications have been coming in from supporters of the former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and any move by the Central leadership to curtail Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s powers could lead to an identical situation arising in that state as well.
The revolt in the Saffron brigade is nothing new as former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti (now back in the party) had formed her own political organization after her claim to get the top job back in the state was overlooked. Former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh too broke away from his parent organization and now is in political wilderness.
In fact what is going on in the BJP has at one level stark similarities to what happened in the Congress during the past few years. Both Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar were part of the Congress mainstream but now head the Trinamool Congress and the NCP, both regional outfits. Both Mamata and Pawar knew that within the Congress fold they might not be able to have their way since the writ of the High Command was stronger than that of anyone else. Thus to pursue their own path, they had to make their own parties. Now Jaganamohan Reddy and the TRS leaders are also carving out their own future course after having separated their path from that of the Congress.
The trend is indicative of the disillusionment of state units with the national party and the desire to assert their regional identity. This is perhaps because the national parties have increasingly been unresponsive to regional aspirations. The central leaders are always trying to impose their will on state leadership and have not allowed too may state leaders to come up. This is also perhaps because many of the central leaders are insecure and feel that if natural leadership in the state thrives their importance may diminish.
It is no wonder that regional parties are navigating the political course and after the next Lok Sabha elections, the regional satraps may be successful in getting a Prime Minister of their own choice. The National parties need to take immediate corrective measures if they have to stop this from happening. Or are they too late already.