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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Advani resignation saga: Is BJP squandering the PML-N-like opportunity?


Dwelling on the turbulence in BJP after L K Advani resigned from all party posts to protest the party's nomination of Narendra Modi to head the election campaign for 2014 polls. Advani has lately taken back the resignation but that cannot undo every damage that was done. An overview:

I am a rather casual India-watcher and an in-depth analysis is obviously beyond my scope. Nonetheless, the events of the past two or three days in India were nothing less than stunning.

The matter is of course about the turbulence in BJP, the party aspiring to rout the INC-led coalition in the upcoming general elections.

Even though the veteran leader L K Advani has come now full circle after agreeing to resume the pre-turmoil duties, the fiasco has exposed many things about BJP.

To start with, while much of the Indian media had been convincingly dwelling on about the incipient rivalry between Advani and Narendra Modi in BJP, hardly anyone could have guessed the Advani's extreme action of resigning from all three responsibilities in BJP.

After he did, a sense of deja vu had engulfed a large section of media: after all, this was the fitting rebuttal of Advani to party leadership for callously elevating Modi to the post of the party's chief election campaigner.

Of many analytic pieces, this one had particularly caught my attention because it had put many aspects of Advani-Modi rivalry in context.

But now that Advani has acquiesced to the pressure from the RSS and party rank and file and agreed to resume his duty in the party, another flurry of explanations can be expected in the media.

My own inferences from the all developments can be summed up as this:

- While it is widely believed that the charisma of Narendra Modi and his election-winning track record in Gujarat is undeniably linked to his divisiveness, the Advani resignation saga has taken this 'divisive' factor to new height. How further divisive can his legacy be in BJP? Only time will answer.

- Everyone is vulnerable in politics; in longer term if not shorter. It was the same Advani who had literally overruled Vajpayee in the party, 11 years back in Goa in the aftermath of Gujrat pogroms to help Modi navigate through the troubled waters. But now Modi seems to be playing perfectly with the vulnerabilities of a respectable but aging man with waning charisma.

- Finally, the party is the last resort of a politician. He/she may threaten, abuse, criticize and even revolt ,but ultimately it is nearly impossible to escape the dictates of the party. Likes of Uma Bharati and Jaswant Singh in BJP have already experienced it firsthand with a far longer period of distancing from the party but Advani has learned it overnight.

- While being asked for the candidate for PM after the 2014 polls, BJP leaders simply choose to brush the question off and downplay the troubles in the party generated by the question. But some time in future, the question will have to be answered. If anointing someone as chief election campaigner has created such a havoc in the party, what will happen when the party sits to choose the to-be-king him(her)self?

Incidentally, in a recent piece in Foreign Policy Journal, I had compared the troubles the secularists were having in South Asia from Pakistan to India and Bangladesh and hinted on the fact that their rivals may well capitalize on their loss. Pakistan has already given the PML-N the mandate precisely because of the failure of the PPP to deliver. But is the BJP in India squandering a parallel opportunity by being caught up in a nasty internecine conflict? I think it is too early to say something definitely. 

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जीवनमा अफ्ठ्यारा घुम्तीहरुमा हिंडिरहँदा मैले कुनै क्षणमा पलायनलाई एउटा विकल्पको रुपमा कल्पना गरेको थिएँ, त्यसलाई यथार्थमा बदल्ने आँट गरिनँ, त्यो बेग्लै कुरा हो त्यसबेला लाग्थ्योः मेरा समग्र दुखहरुको कारण मेरो वरपरको वातावरण हो, यसबाट साहसपूर्वक बाहिरिएँ भने नयाँ दुख आउलान् तर तत्क्षणका दुरुह दुखहरु गायब भएर जानेछन् कति गलत थिएँ !

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