Gadkari caught and bowled Advani
The suspense over the second term of Nitin Gadkari ended earlier this week when the Maharashtra leader decided to withdraw himself from the race after it was certain that he could not be the unanimous choice for the top post. The matter became a little complicated as the Income Tax authorities raided the premises of companies associated with Gadkari’s business firm on Tuesday morning causing further embarrassment to the BJP chief. The situation appeared tailor made for his opponents and Advani who met up with him and the RSS number two Bhaiyaji Joshi in Mumbai the same evening made it clear that giving a second term to Gadkari would hurt the prospects of the party. It was evident at that moment that Gadkari had been caught and bowled by Advani who was hopeful that he would be able to get his favourite Sushma Swaraj installed as the BJP president. But Gadkari was not finished as yet and he proposed the name of Rajnath Singh leaving no option to Advani but to accept his choice. The matter was sealed than and there and Rajnath who a day earlier was not being considered by anyone as the number one contender pipped the rest to the post.
There are two things, which have emerged from the entire episode of not giving a second term to Gadkari. First: many people including Gadkari are convinced that he was targeted by his own partymen and became a casualty of the intra party factional fight. Though Rajnath Singh is blaming the Congress for organizing the raids and making Gadkari the victim, the entire saga is an example of intrigue and vendetta by people within the Sangh Parivar. Second: Gadkari’s exit has further made the inter personal relations between top leaders of the BJP more complex and the situation is such that no one seems to be trusting anyone though everyone claims that there is complete unity in the party.
Rajnath unlike Gadkari is a former Chief Minister and a former President of the party who knows the tricks of the trade too well. In addition he is also the darling of a section of the RSS and now will have even Gadkari backing him. He has his own ambitions too and during his earlier tenure he had ensured that Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj did not emerge on the BJP hierarchy in a very strong manner as they did later under Gadkari-Advani formula. It is another thing that Gadkari and Advani did not like each other and the latter never missed an opportunity in showing him in poor light.
The graver implication of the entire scenario in the BJP today is that Rajnath will certainly like to check the ambitions of many of his colleagues including Narendra Modi with whom he does not enjoy a very great relationship. But more important is that he realizes that Advani is the one who continues to call the shots in the party. Therefore amidst the bonhomie, which is taking place right now, Rajnath will try to contain Advani and even weaken him as much as he can. Though Gadkari has been caught and bowled by Advani, the grand old man of the BJP is now going to face some difficult bowling on a turning track from Rajnath. Will he hit another six or go back to the pavilion is a question that is on many lips.