Thursday, June 25, 2009

Crisis in BJP

The leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) who have lived in their own world like Messrs L. K. Advani and Rajnath Singh, who is also the President of the party, are at sea now, struggling to tackle the crisis caused by the party’s defeat in the 2009 general elections. They are nowhere near success in the venture because they do not own their responsibility for the defeat, least of all accounting for it. It has become clear from the speeches of key leaders in the national executive meeting that the party is unable to recover from the blow of defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Self-Introspection and Direction for Future
Since this was the first BJP national executive meeting after the Lok Sabha elections results, most discussion concentrating on this subject is expected. However, absence of honest self-introspection and direction for the future in any leader's speech, including that of the party president, is a matter of concern. Not a single decision came out from this national executive meet on the basis of which it can be said that the party leadership had made prior preparations for the meet and there are possibilities of it emerging stronger in the future.

The statements of the main leaders of the national executive were full of insult and mistrust toward each other. The thing of concern for the country is that, after all, how these leaders can join hands to work together. If there is unity among them, they can face the biggest defeat together.

Finger-pointing is becoming more and more vehement and has fully replaced serious introspection and the fixing of responsibility for the poll debacle. Cut up ostensibly over this failure, Yashwant Sinha has resigned as vice-president and also from the party’s national executive council. The functioning of the party was being criticised by others like Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie also, but Sinha, who had raised a banner of revolt against Advani in 2005 also when the latter praised Pakistan founder M A Jinnah for his “secularism”, has dropped a full-fledged “letter bomb”.

Lack of Unity
When there is lack of unity, it is difficult to hope that the BJP will really recover from the shock of defeat and will start working again wholeheartedly for its success. While talking about collective responsibility for the defeat, the emotional ploy by the party president to take personal responsibility for it did not have any effect. Talking about remaining firm on the Hindutva along with traditional issues, he, perhaps, tried to give direction to future debate, but nobody was in a mood to discuss it.

This must be the first BJP executive meeting in which so many aggressive voices of dissent and basic differences have come to the fore. This shows the condition of perplexity at the leadership level. This is neither good for the BJP or for the country. Advani himself has often from inside Parliament and outside cried hoarse in favour of the principle of accountability. But when it comes to himself he forgets about it. He perhaps still does not realise that he has reached the end of his political career and his continuing as leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party, and hence as Leader of the Opposition, stands in the way of resolving the crisis of a political party lying demoralised by defeat.

Future of Parliamentary Democracy
The healthy future of the parliamentary democracy rests on the balance between the ruling party and the opposition. Being the main opposition party, it is necessary that the BJP remain on the political scene as a well-organized and dynamic party. It is possible only when the party leadership comes out of the shock of defeat, accepts the reasons for defeat that are clearly visible, and resolves to remove them, sidelining internal differences and bitterness. There is no sign of it at all.

If the BJP leaders are getting ready to cause harm to themselves, no one can stop them from doing so. If we were to read the voice of this national executive, the political future of the BJP looks bleak. Had the leaders talked about working together forgetting everything despite saying what they had to, there could have been some hope. There was not any concrete decision and the resolve to work together. How then could one have any hope?

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