What is Advani upto?

Veteran politician and BJP stalwart LK Advani took everyone by surprise when he seemed to state in his blog what many people perceive to be the truth—that in the next Lok Sabha election, the Congress and the BJP may not have adequate numbers and therefore the Prime Minister maybe from one of the regional outfits. On Wednesday in Lok Sabha, he again described the problem in Assam as not a Hindu-Muslim issue but that of illegal migrants from across the border and the local natives. Again, a statement many would agree with but this time he erred heavily when he also said that the UPA-2, which came to power in 2009, was “illegitimate’’. He soon tried to make amends by withdrawing his statement and said that what he meant was the UPA’s trust vote in 2008 on the nuclear issue lacked legitimacy.

These two important opinions by Advani coinciding with the commencement of the Monsoon session obviously are not without significance. The veteran leader who has led his party on many occasions and is considered to be the chief architect of its growth over the years is not known to do anything without a political purpose. Therefore his getting himself in a high profile role has to do something with his unfulfilled ambition of being the Prime Minister one day as also the fact that the RSS, the controlling authority of the BJP is coming around to the view that he should now retire from active politics. Many in the RSS and the BJP believe that Advani has done more harm to the party he built and that he should withdraw himself gracefully from the centre stage to make way for others—something he seems reluctant to do. He is keen to be considered for the party’s leadership role even now and thinks that the RSS would reverse its view regarding him and allow him to contest the next Lok Sabha election without any hindrance.

In the light of this, his statement about a non Congress and non BJP Prime Minister in his blog if seen from his standpoint makes it abundantly clear that if “it is not going to be me, how can it be somebody else’’ thereby giving a signal that PM aspirants like Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar will have to wait for their turn. However, the same statement seen from the perspective of current political situation by political observers does emphasize that the regional parties will navigate the future course of Indian politics.

Regarding his faux pas in the House on Wednesday, his detractors have already started saying that age was finally catching up with the veteran leader otherwise why else would he make such a remark (later expunged) about a fully legitimate government which won the 2009 polls very convincingly. The general view is that if it was not age, why would such a seasoned politician like Advani make this kind of blunder even if he withdrew his remarks later.

The end result is that Advani has not been able to exploit the situation on the opening day of Parliament despite the general perception that the functioning and efficiency of the present government leaves a lot to be desired. What needs to be seen is that whether the RSS/BJP will adopt a strategy to make their presence felt effectively on the political stage of the country and change the perception in some quarters that the party by its actions and its own problems was responsible in not posing a formidable challenge to the present government. Many have also alleged that the BJP was hand in glove with the UPA in Parliament and has never brought a no confidence motion even on crucial issues of price rise and corruption.

The coming days will indicate where the political strategies of our political players will take them. For now, Advani is making sure that he is not overlooked for a future role.

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