Gadkari finds place in the sun too warm for comfort

BJP president faints mid-way while leading march to protest price rise


Ajay Singh | April 21, 2010

Inside Parliament, the BJP walked out in protest against the government's indifference towards price rise. Outside the sacred portals of Parliament, the party tried to mobilise people on the issue by organising the biggest protest at the Ram Lila Maidan. But much before the party leaders could flex their muscles, BJP President Nitin Gadkari fainted under Delhi's scorching sun.

Interestingly, this sums up the BJP's crisis. Nobody can question the BJP's legitimate right to hold a demonstration on the issue of people's welfare. But irony plays itself out when the party's efforts to empathise with the poor are found lacking in conviction. It rightly went unnoticed. At Ram Lila Maidan, where the party managed to ferry people from adjoining states, its grand show was noticed for all wrong reasons -- such as Gadkari's fainting spell and the traffic jam that the party caused. In fact, ever since the party coined the "shining India" political slogan that recoiled on it in 2004 elections, the BJP leadership has failed to find a single issue that can catch people's imagination.

Price rise was one such issue that could have given the BJP a leverage if the party had been able to inspire confidence among people. But it is a measure of the party's losing credibility among people that the party's pro-poor rhetoric is as much suspect as the government's promises of deliverance. The reasons for the BJP's dilemma are obvious. The party has been fielding the most expensive lawyers, wealthy industrialists or high-flying professionals to speak for the poor. It is self-evident that in the states where the party has been ruling for decades, the condition of the poor is just as pitiable, if not worse, as in any other parts of the country. In the BJP-ruled states, the party has hardly offered an alternative model of governance that can contain price rise.

That is why the BJP's glib talk on the issue has found few takers. That the party leaders have lost touch with the ground is evident by the fact that Gadkari and his ilk found Delhi's heat unbearable while the poor toil for hours in similar heat to make ends meet. The disconnect of the country's second biggest political party with the people seems more pronounced now that the party has proved unable to get sympathy even on the issue of price rise.



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