The BJP’s shabby deal

For a party that continually accuses the Congress of a leadership crisis, it is a measure of the BJP’s own bankruptcy in that department that they should have no better leader than Narendra Modi to lead them in 2014. Over the past few days I am stunned at the manner in which so many skeletons have been tumbling from their cupboard – the CD on Amit Shah, Gujarat top cop DG Vanzara’s resignation letter indicting Modi etc – and yet these are not seen as corrupt practices as some lesser allegations against my good friend Nitin Gadkari were with the party hell bent upon anointing a tainted man who I am not sure will ever be able to lead them to real victory.

But apart from everything that is wrong with Modi as the choice for Prime Ministerial candidate, I am even more stunned at the manner in which BJP and RSS leaders together are attempting to put LK Advani out to pasture. I am, of course, have always regarded Advani as an old fox and knew he would never give up so easily. I personally believe he deserves everything that is coming to him for the manner in which he destroyed the fabric of Indian society in the early 1990s – we did not know terrorism as we know it in this country today before Advani engineered the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya for his own ambition to become Prime Minister and it is only fitting that he should not have become one.

Yet, if I were a BJP ideologue, I would have to admit that the BJP as we know it today is entirely Advani’s creation – he took it from nothing to becoming the main opposition party in the country and then to power albeit in alliance with two dozen other political parties at the peak of its existence. In the Indian tradition, I would have thought that would count for something – or are the proponents of Hindutva in this country the kind of people who throw their elders out of their homes at will once they are blinded by their own ambition to take charge?

Three months have lapsed since Modi was made campaign committee chief and I would have thought BJP leaders would have put the time to good use to persuade Advani to come around and anointed the man with grace and dignity. Now neither is Modi being graceful in his hurry to grab the opportunity nor can I see any dignity in Advani’s adamancy in the face of an obvious clamour within the party for Narendra Modi.

Clearly Rajnath Singh’s job was an unenviable one at the moment for he knows that either way the party is screwed – not taking Advani along will destroy the BJP from within as well and the party has already suffered as much indignity as it could in this unseemly race to a position that may ultimately not even fructify for either Modi or the BJP.

The unseemly hurry also seemed strange in the face of the fact that the BJP is unlikely to maximise its gains under Narendra Modi – but if this is their best case scenario then it is obvious that they know why the Congress is not unduly worried about the outcome of the 2014 elections.

Perhaps they do need Modi to keep their head above water and over the double digit figure in the Lok Sabha for without that even they could be fighting their last election in 2014.

I agree with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar when he says the NDA could not capture New Delhi together, so it is highly unlikely that Modi will make a speech from Red Fort all on his own strength. When the Congress was first defeated in 1977, right and left wing, liberal and conservative forces had all come together to `teach’ Mrs. Indira Gandhi a sound lesson for her arrogance. The second time it happened, partially, was in 1989, with a loose coalition of the right and left wing forces rallying behind V P Singh, and the third time, the unity was even more diluted with the kind of alliance that the NDA sewed up for six years – that glue has come fully unstuck now and I do not believe that the BJP can make it with just the help of the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal who in any case do not bring too many seats to the Lok Sabha.

But it is quite interesting to see the naked ambition of one man – whether Advani or Modi – take all in its wake. I believe Advani’s defeat take the BJP down with him too. And Modi’s victory will not necessarily be a gain for the BJP. Whatever my personal opinion about Modi, I have no sympathy for Advani — he should have thought of the possibility when he propped up and supported Modi through the Gujarat riots and prevented then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee from taking action against the man in the democratic fashion. He willed this situation upon himself and now if Modi is biting the hand that fed him in the past, well, then, Advani is a master of that game himself. Nevertheless, I believe he could have treated himself with a little more dignity and the party could have treated him far less shabbily than they have.

But then the BJP is not the Congress.

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