A rudderless ship called BJP

Party is divided by factions owing allegiance to RSS-VHP combine

ajay

Ajay Singh | September 15, 2010



The BJP’s state of affairs is akin to a rudderless ship drifting aimlessly in a turbulent sea. While party stalwart L K Advani advises caution on the prospective Ayodhya verdict by the Allahabad high court, a section of the BJP leaders backed by the RSS-VHP has been aggressively strident.

Similarly, if a section of the moderate BJP leaders seems keen to keep the BJP-JD(U) alliance intact in Bihar, some leaders are hell-bent to break it by projecting Narendra Modi as the BJP’s face in the future campaign.

In fact, the party is divided by factions owing allegiance to the non-political mentors, the RSS-VHP combine. Apparently the new generation of the BJP leadership has bartered its political sense with expressed and supplicant loyalty to the RSS. This is the precise reason why the party is at a loss to formulate its response to the Ayodhya verdict scheduled to be delivered on September 24.

There is a firm belief in the RSS-VHP camp that an adverse verdict would mobilise Hindus no end. Votaries of such a belief feel that the moment could be conducive for a forceful resurrection of Hindutva in a style and elan of the nineties when the entire Hindi heartland was swamped by the colour saffron. That such a revival be monopolised only by the RSS-VHP and likeminded politicians is a strategy which is being worked out. This is why VHP chief Ashok Singhal is insistent that Advani be kept out of the strategy formulation. And this explains why Rajnath Singh is keen to make comments on the Ram Janambhoomi at the drop of a hat to endear himself to his mentors in the VHP and RSS.

However, pragmatists within the BJP do not share the party’s irrational optimism on Ayodhya. They feel that even an “adverse” Ayodhya verdict would end in a whimper. Only a section of the loony fringe would be fretting about it while the new generation would not be able to relate to the event that happened 18 years back. On the other hand, the verdict would be a good opportunity for the BJP to behave responsibly and shed off its image of a party clinging only to emotive religious issues. Advani’s caution explains this approach.

But there is little scope that voice of reason would prevail in the saffron camp. With Advani’s influence marginalised completely within the fold, the RSS has been dictating the new generation with its agenda. The Arun Jaitleys and Sushma Swarajs have no stature to stand down the RSS and take their independent views on the political issues. The Rajnath Singhs and Ananth Kumars are servile enough to be ready at their master’s beck and call.

In fact, much of the BJP’s conduct on the Ayodhya verdict would determine if Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar would continue his party’s alliance with the BJP. There is all possibility that one or two irresponsible statements from the BJP leadership can prove to be undoing of the coalition in Bihar. In such a scenario, the BJP would stand in splendid isolation in the company of Shiv Sena and Shibu Soren’s JMM in Jharkhand at the national stage.

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