March 15, 2011

what ails BJP? part II: bloated vacuum

BJP needs to look deep into its health and do ruthless surgery if it wants to be a party to reckon with. RSS made an attempt to do so and gave them Gadkari, but it proved to be a superficial surgery like cutting away cancerous growth without curing the body.

Now, let’s ask a question probing its past. Why did BJP need Ram janmabhoomi controversy to win power in the first place and why did it need Atal Bihari Vajpayee to hold the power for three terms?

Let us try to diagnose the problem slightly deeper. Look at the top leaders of the party: LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi, Venkiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh, Jaswant Singh, Nitin Gadkari, etc etc. Whom will you tick if I ask you to spot among them people with these qualities: oratory and command over language, understanding of Indian and international matters, understanding of party line on different matters, personal charm, reputation as a person with integrity and political experience? Chances are that you would tick them all. Then why is BJP not the ruling party?

Could you spot among them one whom you can call a mass leader? A leader who can take all partymen together? One who can be seen in command and capable of steering the country in the right direction if made a PM? To me, Modi seems one who has these qualities, but he has many similarly-placed leaders who will pull him down the moment he is seen rising above them. They collectively shape the party opinion against his aggressive right-wing stand. That takes us to the other point.

What is the plank on which BJP can be sure to win a general election? Development? Farmers’ welfare? Price rise? Economic downturn? No, sir, no. These are general issues and the ruling Congress has handled them rather satisfactorily. Unless one of such issues rises beyond the government’s handling or a war breaks or government is unable to handle the situation after the likely September verdict on Ayodhya, BJP is bereft of any plank. If Narender Modi, in his own style, raises some emotive issues that strike a chord with the majority, the party starts feeling nervous about likely alienation of moderates and Muslims within and outside the party and that of state-level partners like Nitish. So, how can a party without a definite goalpost devise a winning strategy, however good planners, orators, honest leaders it may have?

The nation needs a strong opposition. An opposition that is a constant threat to the ruling formation, not one lost in its own vacuum of true leadership.

I will further analyse the problems of BJP in the next post in this series, sometime later.
You can see all posts relating to BJP here. 

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