Advani states obvious, Anna does the expected
LK Advani sees neither the Congress nor his own party, BJP, leading the next government in New Delhi. Not many would disagree with that perception, but few in positions such as that of Advani would be willing to say it in public.
So did the BJP leader speak out of turn in his latest blog posting? Some would think he did. At least Balasaheb Thakeray thinks so. But it would be naïve to suggest there is no subtext to what Advani has said in his blog.
Congress leader Rajiv Shukla thinks Advani’s observation amounts to the country’s main opposition party conceding defeat long before the elections, due in 2014, are held. What Shukla didn’t do is to contest the other part Advani’s comment — that even the Congress won’t make it.
The import of Advani’s blog, however, goes much beyond.
It echoes a much-shared perception that the BJP would go into elections in 2014 without projecting any of its leaders as a prime ministerial candidate. It reinforces that opposition within BJP to Narendra Modi as a PM candidate remains as strong as it has been in the past. It reiterates the risk that the somewhat-fragile alliance of NDA faces if Modi is projected as its leader. This was evident in the quick endorsement that Advani’s blog posting received from some leaders in Nitish Kumar’s party, JD(U). Lastly, while Advani ruled out a BJP-led government he never said the next ruling coalition could be one that won’t have BJP as an ally. That is something that remains in realms of possibility.
As for Modi, the message from Advani is not so encouraging. The only way he can undo its impact is to win the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat with a margin that is as convincing as the last time.
As for the Congress, there are other worries.
Anna Hazare has disbanded his team and campaign, and his followers now plan to enter politics. They may not win votes and seats, but they surely will make enough noise to keep the corruption issue alive and the Congress at the receiving end.
The only saving grace for Congress is that Anna’s core and extended groups of supporters are a disparate lot when it comes to politics as they draw from different ideological shades.
Anna has said he and his followers would support “good people” in politics and get them elected so that they can push for a strong Lokpal. The challenge is to find “good people” in politics. Nobody in Anna’s team is clear about who makes the grade as “good people” in politics. To find the answer, we may have to wait till December when elections are held in Gujarat. We will know if Anna and his followers find the “good people” in Gujarat. Let’s pray “good people” won’t mean Baba Ramdev.