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Rediff.com  » News » Sulking BJP stalwarts may spoil Narendra Modi's PM party

Sulking BJP stalwarts may spoil Narendra Modi's PM party

July 24, 2013 17:51 IST

BJP stalwarts may spoil Narendra Modi's PM party

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The developments in the BJP have demonstrated that president Rajnath Singh has not been able to get a grip on party affairs, says Anita Katyal

The chain of events triggered by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s appointment as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign committee chief indicate that despite the recent patch-up efforts initiated by the party’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, all is not well within the saffron outfit.

Each time the BJP leadership believes that all grievances have been addressed and the party is well on track for the forthcoming assembly polls and the 2014 Lok Sabha election, it is hit with a fresh crisis.

The euphoria generated by Modi’s elevation at the party’s national executive in Goa had suggested that with the Gujarat strongman at the helm, the party was well on its way to capturing power at the Centre.

But events took an entirely different course.

Senior party leader L K Advani, who was unhappy over Modi’s appointment, did not show up at the Goa conclave and subsequently resigned from key party posts. The RSS had to step in to placate Advani, who was then assured that he would henceforth be involved in important decisions, including the announcement of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Advani’s protege Sushma Swaraj, who is also sulking over Modi’s elevation, had indicated her preference when she publicly praised Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for running an excellent government.

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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi


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MP CM triggers fresh controversy

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While Advani has also spoken in the same vein about Chouhan, the latter got embroiled in a fresh controversy when Modi was left out of posters of BJP leaders put up for a party rally in Madhya Pradesh last weekend.

Chouhan also hailed Advani as the party's “tallest leader”.

Former BJP minister Yashwant Sinha has also gone on record to speak against Modi.

On Tuesday, actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha added to the clamour when he described Advani as “the tallest, most seasoned and mature leader” in the BJP.

Sinha added that the party’s next prime ministerial candidate must have the senior leader’s blessings. Sinha also underlined that the PM candidate must be picked by the BJP’s highest decision-making body, the 12-member Parliamentary Board.

This was apparently an indirect reference to the manner in which Modi was appointed campaign committee chief by Rajnath Singh without the prior approval of the party's parliamentary board.

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Image: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan


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BJP is yet to embrace Modi

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The discordant voices surfacing since the Goa conclave have thrown up four broad trends.

Firstly, the BJP is yet to embrace Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.

Secondly, there is no centre of authority in the BJP.

Thirdly, veteran leader L K Advani still has a band of loyal supporters who have the potential to create trouble.

Fourthly, the increasing role of the RSS in sorting out intra-party battles indicates that BJP President Rajnath Singh is unable to assert his authority.

The developments of the past few months have demonstrated that Rajnath Singh has not been able to get a grip on party affairs in his second term as BJP president. He has undermined the party chief’s post by constantly propping up Modi as the BJP’s most popular leader, while his growing reliance on the RSS has shown up his inability to deal with party crises.

Singh is clearly no Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Advani, whose tall stature ensured that their word prevailed even if they did not occupy a party post.

Singh’s dependence on the RSS was evident when Advani resigned and sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat had to step in to broker a truce.

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Image: Shatrughan Sinha


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The RSS is rooting for Modi

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The structure of the election team -- put in place by the BJP recently -- was the RSS’s brainchild as it wanted to make sure that all senior leaders, including Advani, were entrusted with important roles.

It was left to Bhagwat to deal with the dissidence in the BJP’s Bihar unit while the party president was away in the United States.

The RSS has also issued a diktat against any further rebellion against Modi.

But Singh is evidently unable to enforce the Sangh’s direction as discontent surfaces time and again in the BJP.

While the RSS is obviously rooting for Modi, its choice has not found wholehearted support in the party, as doubts still persist about the Gujarat CM’s ability to lead a government at the Centre.

The Gujarat strongman’s unilateral style of functioning and his inability to work with a team have raised doubts in certain sections of the party about his suitability for the country’s top post.

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Image: Narendra Modi


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BJP can't allow Advani to sulk

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Since the BJP is unlikely to get majority on its own after the Lok Sabha polls, the party will have to run a coalition government, if it is in a position to form the next government.

In such a situation, the BJP will find it difficult to woo allies if Modi is projected as its prime ministerial candidate.

The Janata Dal-United’s walk-out from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance was a clear pointer that Modi’s communal taint puts off potential partners.

Moreover, the RSS and Modi supporters in the BJP cannot write off Advani. The senior leader has shown, time and again, that he is capable of spoiling Modi’s party.

When Advani resigned from all key party posts after the Goa conclave, a section in the BJP believed it could ignore the senior leader and carry on with business as usual.

But they had to quickly seek the RSS’s intervention when they realised that they could not allow Advani to sulk indefinitely.

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Image: L K Advani


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