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Home > News > Columnists > Nazarwala

BJP in UP: Hindu Divided Family

April 30, 2007

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There are ego clashes galore in the Bharatiya Janata Party.

A national political party that has to fight vitally important election in Uttar Pradesh can ill-afford to have infighting at such a crucial juncture.

But that happens when small-time politicians are expected to take on the role of big-time statesmen!

The BJP's Lilliputians have not grown up, though they have grown old!

More so when they have lost all their credibility. The confidence of the average Hindu voter has been shattered because s/he is disgusted with the BJP leaders who are resiling on the Ram Mandir issue at Ayodhya.

The BJP's UP voter shall not forgive them, whatever the leaders may claim or say.

*****

Take a look at Kalyan Singh.

He has aged pretty fast. He no longer exudes the fire of those 'demolition days'. He wears a haggard look. And he was the BJP's hero of the early 1990s.

Kalyan Singh is a Lodh Rajput, the Lodh Rajputs being a backward caste. Aligarh and the region around it have them in good enough strength. The Lodh Rajputs are not accepted as real Rajputs of Rajputana vintage.

Thakur Rajnath Singhclaims to be one such. Amar Singh and Raghu Pratap Singh are also Rajputs. But our man Kalyan Singh is not.

In fact, Kalyan Singh belongs to the backward castes. And that's the rub. Upper caste jealous politicians who do not wish to support this man to grow into a national-level leader have subtly battered him. Be it Kalraj Mishra or Rajnath Singh, Lalji Tandon or Kesrinath Tripathi -- they all cordially hate him.

****

Uma Bharti is another backward caste leader whom Kalyan Singh treats as his 'sister' and has effectively persuaded her to return to the BJP fold.

This frustrated backward jaat-behen from Madhya Pradesh had little choice. She 'reluctantly' succumbed to Kalyan's justification in 'Hindustan's larger interest'.

Ashok Singhal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad supremo, also put in his efforts to persuade her. He wants to prevent Hindu votes from splitting at this perilous juncture. Obviously, he apprehends a declining graph for the BJP.

In the long run, that can damage the support-base of the Hindutva cause.

Long-neglected and frustrated, Uma has readily agreed to walk back into the BJP camp. How many actual voters she will bring along in UP for the BJP is a moot question.

Kalyan Singh had rebelled and walked out of the BJP in a huff during the 2002 election. At that time, he was accompanied by a handful of loyalists.

That election was conducted under the leadership of the BJP's then chief minister, Rajnath Singh, Kalyan Singh's archrival.

Kalyan Singh nurses a king-sized ego. His walk-out from the BJP cost the party between 20 to 25 seats. The BJP in 2002 mustered just 88 assembly seats.

Kalyan Singh had triumphed in cutting Rajnath Singh to size. Kalyan had scored a point in the game of one-upmanship against Rajnath. Usko uski asli haisiyat/aukaat dikhaadi thi (He showed him his real worth).

Rajnath Singh has not forgotten this. Forgiving is impossible. Rajnath is just another myopic politician. Certainly not a statesman. So, beware Kalyan Singh!

Having learnt their bitter lesson, this time the RSS-controlled BJP leadership could hardly afford to antagonise Ayodhya's hero Kalyan Singh. However much Rajnath Singh may hate Kalyan Singh, yet ignore him Rajnath dare not!

This time too, during party meetings for the distribution of BJP tickets, Kalyan wanted most of his loyalists to be accommodated and given tickets. He wished to retain a larger team of his own band of personal loyalists.

This was not very welcome to the other BJP leaders. They wanted all those one-time 'rebels' to be kept out. After all, there were other loyal workers who had stood by the party during adverse times. In addition, they had never deserted the party or walked out of the BJP. Therefore, their claim to the party ticket this time was obviously stronger than those of those opportunistic ones.

Sensing resistance, the irritated and irked Kalyan had dramatically staged one-two mini walk-outs. He wanted his pound of flesh if they wanted his Lodh Rajput support base!

He ultimately succeeded in mostly getting his way this time round.

An impossible-to-achieve type of hollow promise to make him the BJP's proclaimed chief minister was what placated the ambitious Kalyan.

That is Rajnath's clever ploy, because a BJP majority government is impossible this time!

*****

Declaring Kalyan Singh as the BJP's 'chief minister-in waiting' has adversely affected the powerful Brahmin support. UP's Brahmins have no great love for this backward caste leader who stole the thunder during the demolition.

Kalraj Mishra, the former state BJP president, and current BJP state president Kesrinath Tripathi cordially dislike him. Not to mention the hatred the great Brahmin 'Bhishma Pitamah' Atal Bihari Vajpayee has for 'that fellow' Kalyan Singh!

Atalji has no time/mood to venture out into UP to lead the crucial campaign for the most vital assembly election. He seems to abhor the very thought of seeing Kalyan in the UP chief minister's chair! Contrast this with Atalji's personal Lucknow visit during the recent mayoral election. He had made fervent pleas to elect the BJP's mayoral candidate, Dr Dinesh Sharma.

This is being seen as another good excuse for the far-sighted Brahmins to desert the BJP camp, and switch over to the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party!

The wave has set in motion and the results will reflect this.

The erosion of influential/powerful Brahmin support to the BJP means less support to the CM-in-waiting Kalyan Singh! He has reasons to be perturbed.

*****

Let us take the case of eastern UP and the infighting in the BJP/VHP.

The hot-blooded and youthful Adityanath espouses the Hindu cause and inspires/instigates Hindus in eastern UP. This Hindu leader was active in protecting Hindus during the recent Mau communal riots. This he continued doing, in spite of violent threats.

Mahant Adityanath wanted tickets for all his loyal nominees. BJP leaders initially/casually refused. An angry young man, Adityanath rebelled and threatened to fight under his own banner.

Even the senior Mahant Avaidhyanath was livid. He has more or less retired. However, for once he too reportedly supported Adityanath. He was agitated when his junior mahant was given a raw deal by the BJP leaders by refusing the desired number of tickets.

Lal Kishenchand Advani tried but failed to mollify the petulant Mahant Adityanath.

Poor Rajnath's thakurwaadi overtures and reconciliatory bids were contemptuously brushed aside.

The angry, rootha (annoyed) mahant duo, in a determined rebellious mood, could prove disastrous for the BJP's electoral chances.

A wrong message would go to Hindus all over the state and that would certainly damage the BJP considerably.

The BJP leadership now got scared and jittery. Panic gripped them, as sans the powerful mahants' Hindu clout/support, the BJP candidates were sure to fail in eastern UP.

Ultimately, VHP President Ashok Singhal was requested to step in. After all, the mahants are more prone/likely to listen to their VHP colleagues.

Swami Chinmayananda used his persuasive powers and it was actually he who succeeded in influencing both the mahants. All the candidates of the petulant Mahant Adityanath were accommodated in exchange for his return to the fold. A strange, one-sided compromise!

This compromise deal was struck with the BJP leaders who were forced to eat humble pie. They have buckled under pressure from the Gorakhnath mandir's most powerful Hindu mahants.

This, in turn, has caused resentment among the BJP's ticket aspirants who have sworn to clandestinely work against the mahant's candidates. Another headache for the BJP election managers.

'Chief minister-in waiting' Kalyan Singh is naturally perturbed.

Of course, Thakur Rajnath Singh, the BJP's national president, will have the last laugh, seeing Kalyan Singh embarrassed by his party's poor performance in UP this time.

A double digit score will be all that the BJP can dream of this election.

Some respite may be possible, thanks to VHP supremo Singhal's initiatives. Uma Bharti and Mahant Adityanath have been reasonably persuaded to bury the hatchet.

But the ego-clashes of too many people in high places in the BJP will ultimately damage its chances. Party interests have been subjugated to small caste groups/followers and other petty considerations. Each is wasting time in the game of one-upmanship.

*****

The RSS cadres are confused and frustrated.

BJP workers have little to show in terms of performance. Most loyal ones feel neglected.

Brand ambassadors from Delhi and elsewhere have been parroting the hackneyed clich�s. Nothing more effective.

Film stars like Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha etc have stopped drawing crowds. Even tyro Rahul Gandhi attracts larger crowds than most BJP stalwarts put together.

Atalji's indifference/neglect of UP is not only perplexing. It is inexplicable. Workers feel cheated and will not pardon his party. They too have become 'unwell' and refuse to venture out on 'health grounds'!

Now you see why the BJP leaders remind one of Lilliputians?


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