An analysis of the political, societal and security related developments that affect India as it readies to reclaim its place among the great nations of the world.
Some things are best said bluntly. Yes, wise men advise that it is better to lace the truth with sugar. But there are times when sugar cannot be its own antidote. And, with much syrup being served by some, this to my mind is one of them.
The BJP is in a mess and heading towards total disarray. This is the only truth that both its enemies and well wishers agree on. And this is where the divergence starts: What is the way forward for the party, if it has to re-emerge as a real alternative to the Congress?
The dominant current view, propagated by sections of media that are difficult to distinguish from the publicity wings of the Congress and, ironically, by some BJP leaders and their agents in the media, is that the BJP needs faces and projections that are “acceptable” to those who might be its future allies, and not “communal” leaders, no matter how good their record of governance etc.
Their continued failure – deliberate or otherwise – is being dumped on the party. So, the BJP’s worst ever performance in Assam where it won a pathetic four seats and its failure to get even one seat even in West Bengal, not to mention Tamil Nadu and Kerala where again it failed to open its account, is deviously being shown as its inability to increase its presence beyond the areas where it is strong. Implied in this argument is that the failure is only due to its policies, programs and ideology, and that the so-called national leaders of the party cannot be blamed for it. They remain the best thing that could have have happened to the BJP.
Out of this deceitful argument flows the next one: the BJP has no hope of reversing the situation and must accept the reality that, no matter what the Congress does to destroy itself, it is not the BJP but other parties who will reap the benefit and emerge stronger. Therefore, in 2014, if a weakened BJP wants to have any chance of coming back to power, it has to project a “secular” leader who will be acceptable to all the allies that the party will have to rely on more than ever to get that coveted chair in South Block. If it projects a polarising leader like Narendra Modi as PM, its dream will die.
And who are the two most “acceptable” leaders that the BJP has? Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj -- unless, of course, Advani decides to take another shot. And which one of the two can and will be summarily turned into an also-ran, thanks to very, very serious allegations of corruption, media frenzy and – I have little doubt – some tapes ready to be played at just the right time? That will leave only Arun Jaitley in the race.
The BJP, as one sophisticated Jaitley-worshipper and Modi-hater recently wrote, needs a big idea. Unfortunately, his ‘big idea’ is all about petty manipulation, has little to do with the BJP and is limited to the object of his worship. He knows better than anyone that the caucus running the party has not brought any incremental votes to the party and will not in future too. On the contrary, it will only lose votes, and many.
The big idea, therefore, has necessarily to be a bold idea, one that can credibly project the BJP as significantly different from the Congress, not as the poor photocopy it is looking like now. There is one such idea that the Congress party is most worried about, and to destroy which it has deployed the complete might of the party and the state. This idea, as you must have guessed, is an epochal change-agent called Narendra Modi. If this huge idea cannot do it for the BJP, the small, stale and smelly ones in circulation certainly will not.