BJP crisis remains unresolved
The crisis within the Bharatiya Janata Party has reached alarming proportions, badly impacting the image of the Saffron outfit.
The Mumbai session of the national executive saw the differences within the party come out in the open thereby sending confusing signals to the rank and file. But in many ways, the Rashtriyaswayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), the controlling authority of the BJP succeeded in its objective of marginalizing veteran leader LK Advani.
Till Mumbai, 2012, Advani and his coterie dominated every BJP session in the past few years. They left no scope for anyone else to come forward and contribute his or her bit. They navigated the agenda and the deliberations. In other words, the BJP was being held to ransom by the leader and his followers. The RSS has been long aware of this and it appears that it decided to put an end to this unjustified domination.
Therefore, the Mumbai developments and its aftermath must be seen as a successful attempt by the Sangh to clip the wings of Advani and Co. The events in the Maharashtrian capital featured three men—Nitin Gadkari, Narendra Modi and Sanjay Joshi. All three are outside the Advani camp and even though there are sharp differences between Modi and Joshi, the developments in Mumbai ensured that the focus was away from the Advani group. The RSS is trying to resolve the differences between Joshi and Modi but is happy that it has been able to for the time being put the followers of the party’s veteran leader on the sidelines.
Advani obviously realizes that there was more to it in Mumbai than the Joshi-Modi spat and has decided to take on the Sangh as well as the party chief Nitin Gadkari. He is also unhappy that the RSS has refused to give him another chance of being projected as the party’s prime ministerial nominee for the next Lok Sabha polls and wants to keep himself in the race. He has decided to play the spoiler wherever he can and his blog indicated just that. The timing of this controversial blog coincided with the successful bandh by the party to protest the rise in oil prices. The blog diverted attention from this achievement of the party.
There are enough indications that a lot of fireworks are in the offing and Advani who is the most astute politician in the party will use all his experience to put his adversaries on the backfoot. There is no leader in the country whose ability to manipulate the media is greater than his. And he uses this weapon like no one else has. He also senses that a section in his own party and amongst his own followers is also wanting to prop up Modi.
Therefore it is natural that he will create some hurdles for the Gujarat chief minister who is trying his level best to project himself as a national leader. Modi has been making irresponsible statements even about Indira Gandhi’s belief in secularism. In the process, he is looking ill informed. His archrival Keshubhai Patel has in the meantime started a campaign against him in Gujarat and has accused him of neglecting the powerful Patel community.
The fierce infighting has strongly damaged the Saffron party and it is to be seen how the RSS will douse the fire it has partly started to marginalize Advani. The heat being generated is so intense that it can also singe the RSS along with many others. It is anybody’s guess as to who will finally benefit from this struggle and will thus get projected as the new leader of the BJP.